Saturday, December 10, 2016

Year-End Arabology Podcast Ft Top 20 Alternative/Indie Arabic Songs of 2016

Listen at https://soundcloud.com/arabology/topsongs2016

Arabology has just spotlighted the Top 20 indie/alternative Arabic Songs of 2016 during a special year-end episode which aired on KZSU 90.1 FM on Dec 10, 2016.  You can hear the podcast below or at https://soundcloud.com/arabology/topsongs2016



Presented with commentary in English by Stanford Lecturer + Radio Host Dr. Ramzi Salti, the show featured an amazing array of independent Arab musicians coming from Iraq, Sudan, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria--including several Arab musicians living in Sweden, France, Israel, Canada and the USA.

Out of the Top 20 Arabic songs, 7 were by female vocalists, 7 by male musicians, and 6 by groups/bands. The list also featured 2 live tracks and one duet in Arabic + Spanish.

This year's "Top 20" list boasted musicians that sing in a variety of musical genres--from Jazz and Hip Hop to Rock and Ballads, to a hybrid variety that fuses Western and Eastern beats in surprisingly creative ways.

Listen to the podcast to discover new trends and talent that defined the alternative/indie Arabic music scene in 2016--and be prepared to be awestruck by the impressive amount musical productions that have been coming out of a region where music is all too often dismissed or ignored in the West.






https://soundcloud.com/arabology/topsongs2016

Thursday, December 8, 2016

New Article about 'Arabology' in 'Palo Alto Weekly'

Read article at http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2016/12/07/the-ambassador-of-arabology

Many thanks to Karla Kane and The Palo Alto Weekly for publishing such an in-depth article about my Arabology radio show in this week's issue (online + print)

You can read the article at http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2016/12/07/the-ambassador-of-arabology

Interview focuses on groundbreaking Arab msuicians and media personalities whose work has been highlighted on the show, from Mashrou' Leila's Hamed Sinno to Tunisian singer/songwriter Emel Mathlouthi, to the 'Egyptian Jon Stewart' Bassem Youssef to...Olivia Newton-John!

Read full article at http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2016/12/07/the-ambassador-of-arabology

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Dancer Ahmad Joudeh: From Syria's Ruins to the Dutch National Ballet

Ahmad Joudeh: Dance or Die

Back in 2014, I had the chance to interview, by phone, a dancer named Ahmad Joudeh who was then living under the harshest of circumstances in Syria. At the time, he was cautiously thrilled to have the chance to participate in the Arabic version of So You Think You Can Dance where he did quite well (though he did not win). You can watch his audition below or at https://youtu.be/5acMbA0Mqx0



Ahmad was applauded by the judges on the show, particularly legendary dancer Pierre Dulaine who immediately believed in Ahmad's dream and the power of dance to heal. Ahmad recognized Mr. Dulaine's kindness and encouragement during my interview with him which aired on KZSU 90.1 FM in 2014. You can listen to that interview below or at https://soundcloud.com/arabology/ahmadjoudeh2



Judge Pierre Dulaine also spoke to me about Ahmad in a separate interview which you can hear below or at https://soundcloud.com/arabology/pierredulaine2#t=12:57



It was very difficult for Ahmad to return to Syria after having tasted success on Lebanese TV through SYTYCD.  He nevertheless did so and continued to dance despite the tragic circumstances he was witnessing on a daily basis.

Two years later, in 2016, Dutch TV came to Syria and were so touched by dancer Ahmad Joudeh's story that Reporter Roozbeh Kaboly started filming him around Damascus and even went with him to the ancient city of Palmyra where Ahmad Joudeh literally danced in the ruins. That TV report aired on Dutch TV in August 2016. You can watch it below or at https://youtu.be/vqJQOMZCiwY



That Dutch TV report resounded with Ted Brandsen, Director of the Dutch National Ballet.  Funds were then raised to bring Ahmad to the Netherlands, an effort that was spear headed by Nicolas Mansfield, Director of Nederlandse Reisopera.

Ahmad Joudeh (right) with Nicolas Mansfield in Amsterdam

Another TV report soon surfaced in 2-parts, documenting Ahmad Joudeh's journey with sensitivity and courge.

Here is Part 1 of the documentary which aired on Nieuwsuur (Dutch TV) in August 2016: https://youtu.be/vqJQOMZCiwY



An unexpected outcome resulted from that documentary when, 4 months later, Ahmad Joudeh arrived to Amsterdam--an event that was filmed in Part 2 of the documentary "Dance or Die" which, like Part 1, aired on Nieuwsuur (Dutch TV). You can watch that footage below or at https://youtu.be/FIk2vfl_Sz8



Shortly after his arrival to the Netherlands, Ahmad began dancing with the Dutch National Ballet.



"This coming Saturday Ahmad Joudeh will have his debut at the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam," wrote Nicolas Mansfield on December 6, 2016.  "His story must be a lesson to us all. That it is good to dream of better things. And that these dreams can become reality. And that through the pain and devastation of war the message of hope will triumph. Many of the so-called 'leaders' of our world are masters of deception, manipulation and injustice. Through his dance Ahmad shows us the real power of peace. In my book that makes him a true hero."






ALL ARABOLOGY PODCASTS AT https://soundcloud.com/arabology/sets/podcasts

Exclusive Arabology Interviews: https://soundcloud.com/arabology/sets/arabology-interviews