Sunday, August 24, 2014

Martin Scorsese on Nass El Ghiwane


Scorsese got interested in Nass El Ghiwane when he saw Ahmed El Maânouni's 1981 film about the group, called Transes. Scorsese used their song, "Ya Sah," in his film 1989 The Passion of Christ. And Transes was the first film he restored when he got his World Cinema Foundation up and running in 2007.

You can watch the entire film here, but unfortunately, without subtitles. If you want those, you could watch it on Hulu Plus. Or buy it.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tunisian Chaabi

 Tunisian chaabi artist Slah Mosbah

From Tunisia Live here is a useful introduction to Tunisian chaabi music, which one never hears or reads about by comparison with the ample coverage of Moroccan and Algerian chaabi.

In Tunisia, the article states, the genre is known as "fann chaabi," and it translates this as "the art of the masses." The article also insists on calling it a part of the country's "folkloric" tradition -- which seems problematic to me because it is an urban art form. But this is just a minor quibble.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Yasmine Hamdan, "Beirut"

Yasmine's self-title album is scheduled to drop, in France, in a couple of days. (One can download it via iTunes France. Yasmine belonged to the great Lebanese band Soap Kills from 1997-2005 (though the band is not officially dead) and put out the album Arabology as YAS with Mirwais Ahmadzaï in 2009. This song, "Beirut," is from the new album. It's very sweet, evokes the beautiful Beirut of the good old days, ruined, or at least under threat, from economic crises and a spirit of materialism. The video posted on youtube comes with the Arabic lyrics and an English translation. Love it!

   

بيروت
شرب العرق
 شرب العرق
 لعب الورق
 خيل السبق
 صيد الحمام
 رسمال بيروت

 لبس الغوى
 شم الهوى
 اكل الهوى
 شاغل عقول
 سكان بيروت

 بيروت
 زهرة من غير أوانها
 بيروت
محلاها ومحلا زمانها
 بيروت
 يا حينها وياضيعانها
 تدبل

 ما في عمل
 ما في امل
 برك الجمل
 ركب النحس
 تجار بيروت

 الغندرة
 والفنغرة
 والبهورة
كتر البطر
 هالك بيروت

Beirut
Arak drinkin'

Card playin'
Racehorse cheerin'

Pigeon huntin'

The essence of Beirut

Seduction crowd

Cruisin' around
Foolin' about

Tis' all there is on the minds
Of the citizens of Beirut

Beirut

A flower off its terrain

Beirut
Oh her beauty, her good old days

Beirut

That dire end, all a waste

Withering

All unemployed
Hopeless
Ruined and rusted
Jinxed and accursed
Those dealers of Beirut

Oh the Strutting
That fancy livin'
Excess of splurging
Exploded vanity
Smothering Beirut

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Algerian music archive: Dounia Music

Douniamusic is your gateway to a number of varieties of Algerian music: chaabi, rap, rai, Kabyle, Andalusian, etc. It's not for downloading, just for listening, but there is a lot there. The rai archive doesn't have much of the older stuff, whereas the chaabi does. But I've only just started exploring. Enjoy.

Days of Rage: Dance Music from Iraq, Syria and Lebanon


I found this via Weirdo Records, which offers lots of interesting and wacky recordings from the Middle East that it is often difficult to find via other sources. I very much like this mix of mostly debke music from the Mashriq. The CD is available from Weirdo for 5 dollars only. You can listen to a long segment here. Highly recommended. I only wish there was some information on the artists.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hassan Wargui, Berber banjo from Morocco



I am completely blown away by the playing of this guy, which I learned about courtesy dj/rupture. Rupture has not written about him on his blog, so I know nothing about him. Based on his playing, it would be very cool to organize a tour for him of bluegrass venues, no? Love to see him doing his stuff on the Fayetteville town square during farmers market...

Oh, and the song comes with a translation of the Tamazight lyrics into Arabic!

UPDATE (May 9): See comments from dj/rupture with links and more info. Thanks, rupture, don't know why I couldn't find anything previously!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Golden Beirut: New Sounds from Lebanon

Read about this CD, from norient and Outhere records, here.

'a young generation of musicians from Beirut that is tired of war, fed up with politics, sick of religious madness, and angry about Euro-American exoticism.'