Introduction to Arabic music

Reem Kelani’s musical goal is to educate the world about Arabic history and culture through her music.

Reem plays in London tonight as part of the Barbican’s Ramadan Nights concerts to celebrate the month of Ramadan. She was born to Palestinian parents in Manchester, UK and raised in Kuwait.

Interestingly, Reem herself was not a big fan of Arabic music when she was growing up. She was converted after seeing a group of women perfoming at a wedding near Nazareth when she was a teenager.

This perhaps reflects the fact that Arabic music can be less approachable than other kinds of music, but with hidden complexities that become apparent on further listening.

In this interview with the Guardian she chooses 10 artists and genres which in her opinion provide a good introduction to Arabic music.

Via Soundroots.

Read more:
A different mosque every day of Ramadan
Guide to Afghan pop music
Morlam DJ: Thai folk music remixed

September 25, 2008 1 comment

Arts around the world

Al Jazeera’s Artsworld series looks at how different cultures around the world use art to bring social change in their communities.

This week’s programme, which you can watch here, showed examples from four very different cultures:

The Freedom Theatre in Palestine gives young Palestinians a way to express themselves as well as an alternative to hanging out on the streets. (Unfortunately their website didn’t seem to be working when I wrote this)

The China Disabled Peoples’ Performing Arts Troupe gives opportunities to perform to disabled people who often face discrimination when going about their daily lives.

Circo Picolino in Brazil provides a circus school which sometimes turns into a career for young people who may not have other alternatives.

Bongo Flava is an emerging fusion sound from Tanzania, inspired by hip hop, rap and R&B.

Each project reflects the culture of the country in a distinctive way. What they all have in common is their goal of using art to bring purpose and joy to individual lives and hopefully contribute to a wider social progression as well.

September 8, 2008 Comments disabled