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Showing posts from 2012

Beyond the Bombs: New Web Site with Fresh Perspective on Middle East and North Africa

Beyond the Bombs is a new, innovative, and much needed web site that gives the Middle East and North Africa a human face and paints a refreshing picture of the region--colored by its people, cultures, religions, languages, politics, and economics. The site has been created by Stanford graduate Ashley Lohmann who is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist and an Associate Editor (Middle East) at Fair Observer (see more here ). Check out the site at:

Islamic Codicology Course at Stanford, August 26-30, 2013

Please find below the announcement from the Stanford University Libraries and the Islamic Manuscript Association (TIMA) about the upcoming Islamic Codicology Course at Stanford. For further inquiries, please contact John Eilts directly at . The Islamic Manuscript Association (TIMA) and Stanford University Libraries have announced a full week Islamic codicology course to be held at Stanford next August. This will be the first time the course has been offered in North America. I have attached the first announcement. The costs are set at 550 pounds for the full 5 day course for non-TIMA members and 500 pounds for TIMA members (membership costs 30 pounds per year). There is an option for attending the four day lecture series only and pricing has yet to be set. The fifth day is a hands on class. Space is limited and is guranteed on a first come basis. For further information please contact Please feel free to send this to Stanford fac

Jameel Prize Exhibition at Stanford: Art Inspired by Islamic Tradition (Dec 12-March 10, 2013)

First U.S. Viewing of International Exhibition The Jameel Prize: Art Inspired by Islamic Tradition December 12, 2012–March 10, 2013 Stanford University Soody Sharifi,  Fashion Week , 2010. Courtesy of the LTMH Gallery, New York Stanford, Calif. — On view for the first time in the United States, “The Jameel Prize: Art Inspired by Islamic Tradition” opens December 12 at Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center. This special exhibition presents the work of 10 artists selected as finalists for the prestigious Jameel Prize, an international award bestowed by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and sponsored by Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives.  The Jameel Prize, awarded for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition, encourages the exploration of long-established practices of Islamic art, craft and design within a contemporary framework. The resulting exhibition demonstrates that artists can and do use these traditions in ways that are vividly

Arabology Season Finale Podcast Counts Down Top 20 'Alternative' Arabic Musical Artists of 2012

The 3rd Season Finale of 'Arabology'--hosted by Dr. Ramzi Salti, Lecturer at Stanford University, counts down the Top 20 'Alternative' Arabic Artists of 2012 including Mashrou' Leila, Rim Banna, Omeima El Khalil, Zeid Hamdan, Tania Saleh, Mike Massy, Natacha Atlas, Hana Malhas, Jadal, Yasmine Hamdan, Tania Kassis, Jowan Safadi, more. This episode is hosted by DJ Ramzi and guest host Mohammed El Jurf (pic below). To Download: To Listen Instantly: PLAYLIST (Artist/ Track/ Album/Label) 20. Safadi, Jowan/ A3ish Hayati (Live My Life) & Kul El Banat (All the Girls)/ Namroud/ Eka3 19. Massy, Mike/ Ya Zaman/ Ya Zaman/ Falak Productions 18. Jadal/ Bye Bye Azizi/ Single/ Forward Music 17. Natacha Atlas/ Taalet/ Paleo 2012/ Disques Office 16. Banna, Rim & Henrik Koitzsch/ Wait for Me (Intazirini)/ This Was Not My Story/ Un M

Online Magazine 'Jadaliyya' Flourishing in Its Second Year Jadaliyya is an independent ezine produced by the Arab Studies Institute ( ), a network of writers associated with the Arab Studies Journal ( ). Jadaliyya provides a unique source of insight and critical analysis that combines scholarship, advocacy, and local knowledge with an eye on audiences in the United States, the Arab world, and beyond. The site currently publishes posts both in Arabic and in English. Jadaliyya operations are mostly volunteer-run and self-produced by the editorial team and a steadily expanding pool of contributors, researchers, and guests. The Co-Editors are writers, scholars, and advocates with a primary interest in the Middle East. One motivation behind this effort is the need to discuss the “Arab World” or the “Middle East” as a place and space that is inhabited by communities, and not solely as an object of foreign policy or “social-scientific” inquiry. Hence, there

Meet Soprano Mariam Tamari

Born to a Palestinian artist father and a Japanese schoolteacher mother, opera singer Mariam Tamari grew up in Tokyo, Japan. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Tamari majored in music and philosophy. She made her lead opera debut in as Adina in L’Eliser d’ Amore at the Nissay Theater in Tokyo. Tamari has also performed as Kate in Madame Butterfly, Jeanne, in Jeanne d’ Arc au Bucher, Ivy Smith in On the Town, and as Maria in West Side Story. She currently performs as a soloist and recitalist in Japan, the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. Respected around the world, she has performed for the Emperor and Empress of Japan and the King and Queen of Jordan. She has been described as having "special flair for French melodies" and hailed for her "lucid musicality" and "virtuosity." Here is a video clip of Mariam Tamari performing in Ramallah in December of 2010: Here is a video clip of Mariam Tamari, Gen Tomuro --Puccini, "Tu che di g

Musician/Singer Jowan Safadi Detained by Jordanian Police

Jowan Safadi Jowan Safadi, whose new album Namroud has been hailed as both controversial and creative, was detained yesterday at the Police department of "Abdali" in Amman. He is accused of "insulting religion" during his concert last Wednesday in Amman. Jowan was set to present his Accoustic Show Live @ The Rainbow, Amman (Jordan) on Saturday Dec 1, 2012 at 8pm (see poster below then read on). According the Eka3 Facebook Page , Jowan Safadi was imprisoned in the "Jowayda" in Jordan.  Several msuicians have rushed to Jowan Safadi's arrest including Tunisian singer Emel Mathlouthi and Palestinian singer Rim Banna  (see screen captures below and keep reading on).  ( update on Dec 4: He was released the next day ). Jowan Safadi is originally from Nazareth but now lives in Haifa and produces alternative/experimental Arabic music with various influences. For 8 years, he was part of the band “Lenses” as a singer, songwriter and guit

Nov 29 Podcast of 'Arabology' Available

The 9th episode of the 3rd Season of Arabology (aired Nov 29) was hosted by DJ Ramzi who played a variety of Arabic songs (see playlist below) while commenting about them in English. To Download: To Listen: Playlist for Arabology Thursday, 29 Nov 2012 3pm - 5pm DJ: Ramzi S. Artist/ Track/ Album/ Label 1. Samsa/ Qalbi Ma Kayelli Khir/ Alem Jdid (New World)/ Skander Guetari 2. Maraka, Aziz/ Amman/ Master Copy/ Cd Baby 3. Aburedwan, Ramzi / Bahar (Sea)/ Reflections Of Palestine/ Riverboat Records 4. Laroussi, Djamel/ Kifach Hilti/ Arabic Beat/ Putumayo World Music 5. Ajram, Nancy/ Ady El Beida/ Super Nancy/ Emi 6. Mashrou Leila/ Wajih (Themightyrouge Remix)/ unreleased/ Mashrou Leila 7. Wael Kfoury/ Ma'oole Tishti Fee Abb/ Dj Nader - Hizzy Hips In The Mix/ Level Up 8. El Hamdaoui, Jalal/ Sidi H'bibi/ Arabic Beat/ Putumayo World Music 9. Faudel/

My CD Review: Tamer Abu Ghazaleh - Mir'ah

Tamer Abu Ghazaleh Mir’ah  --All Tracks are FCC CLEAN— A uniquely creative performer and promoter of a wide range of music, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh is a leading figure in modern Arabic culture. This singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer has over the past few years released a debut album and founded eka3 (2007), a regional platform dedicated to promoting, producing, distributing, and touring independent Arabic music. This is his debut album titled Mir'ah (Mirror) and the lyrics are either in classical Arabic or in the Levantine colloquial dialect. **1. 7ob [Love] is a piece with classical Arabic lyrics with guitar sound only 2. . Takhabot [Internal Struggle]. Oud and guitar with piano. Jordanian dialect. 3. Al Shibak [The Net] This track sounds like an experimental impromptu track with guitar and oud. Repetitive, haunting lyrics, featuring multi layered vocals by the same singer. 4. Mir’ah [Mirror] Title track is bizarre sounding, deliberately annoyi

Aswat at Yoshi's in Oakland, CA on Dec 2: Moroccan & Tunisian Music

Zawaya presents Aswat, the Bay Area's Premier Arab Music Ensemble, performing Moroccan Folk Music and The Music of Al-Hadi Al-Juwaini, The Father of 20th Century Tunisian Music. Sunday December 2, 2012 7:00 PM Yoshi's Oakland 510 Embarcadero West Jack London Square Oakland, CA 510-238-9200 510 Embarcadero West Jack London Square EVENT PAGE CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

Mashrou' Leila Wows Montréal

On October 25th 2012, Charnobyl Voice hosted Mashrou' Leila's first show in North America.  Lebanese (alternative) music group Mashrou' Leila performed in Montreal, Canada to a sold out audience of fans who kept begging for more. The group also recorded their new album in Montreal--a soon-to-be-released follow up to their 2 previously released musical masterpieces. Here is a video clip from the Montreal concerts: Upon the group's return to Beirut, Lebanon, the band's lead vocalist, Hamed Sinno, performed with Piers Faccini on November 25, 2012 at Music Hall . Here is a teaser from that event: For more on the band, see

Zainah Anwar "Advocating for Women's Rights in Islam" (This Wednesday at Stanford)

THIS Wednesday at Stanford at 6pm: CDDRL fellow Zainah Anwar "Advocating for Women's Rights in Islam"

DAM Releases New Video Clip about 'Honor Killings'

Although the Palestinian Hip Hop group DAM has been criticized for releasing this song and video clip during such tumultuous times in Gaza (see this link ), this blogger thinks that the group's new release is still definitely worth a look. The video clip was directed by Jackie Salloum (Slingshot Hip Hop) and broaches the issue of 'honor killings' and violence against women. It has been supported by UN Women (United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women). DAM is joined in this recording by well known singer Amal Murkus and the clip, available in HD, also includes optional English subtitles. Here is the clip followed by an English translation plus the credits: DAM featuring AMAL MURKUS - If I Could Go Back In Time لو أرجع ** ENGLISH TRANSLATION: Arabic script:  If I Could Go Back In Time (Suhel Nafar) ‏Before she was murdered, she wasn't alive ‏We'll tell her story backwards from her murder

Thanksgiving 'Arabology' Podcast (Nov 22) Co-Hosted by Eric and Ahmad ft Saleem

The Thanksgiving edition of Arabology (aired Nov 22) was co-hosted by DJ Ramzi, Eric and Ahmad and included beautiful Arabic songs about counting one's blessing and not forgetting others. The show also featured two special songs for Fairuz's 77th birthday, two new songs by Mashrou' Leila, and a special interview with male belly dancer/screenwriter Saleem who wrote the controversial stage play 'Salam Shalom' (see pictures and complete playlist below) To Download: To Listen Instantly: (Left to right): Ahmad Q, Eric D, DJ ramzi With Saleem Playlist (Artist/Track/Album/Label) 1. Abu Ghazaleh, Tamer/ Khabar 3ajel (Urgent News) Single/ Eka3 2. Beirut Biloma/ Beirut ya Hayati C-Rouge Mix/ Single/ Reverbnation 3. Fairuz/ Nassam (Housed Up Remix)/ Dj Nader - Hizzy Hips In The Mix/ Level Up 4. Fairuz/ El Bint El Ch

Stanford Arab Studies Table Event on Nov. 28: Social Media and the Egyptian Revolution

When I Saw You: A Film That Could Win the Next Foreign Language Oscar

Congratulations to the film  "When I Saw You" for winning Best Arab Film at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival last month and for being the Palestinian entry for Best Foreign film for the Oscars. The following piece by E. Nina Rothe in The Huffington Post gives more info about the film and discusses the possibility of being nominated for Best Foreign Film at next year's Academy Awards See Global Culture Explorer When I Saw You: Could This Palestinian Film Win the Next Foreign Language Oscar? By E. Nina Rothe Posted: 10/25/2012 There are two dates that are crucial to all Palestinians. The first is 1948, when the Arab-Israeli War displaced the first wave of perpetual refugees during a time known as the Nakba -- "the disaster." The second is 1967, when those Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza were

Nov 15 Arabology Podcast: Features Interview with Professional Belly Dancer Adriana M

On the Nov 15, 2012 Episode: Professional belly Dancer Adriana Marrelli talks about the art of Raqs Sharqi and explains distinctly Middle Eastern concepts of beats & rhythms, musical instruments and the art/history of belly dancing. Download at Or listen instantly at: Download at Or listen instantly at: Here is a video clip of Adriana during one of her performances:

Stanford Law School Event on Nov 15: The Qur'an As a Legal Text

My CD Review: DJ Nader - Hizzy Hips in the Mix

DJ Nader Hizzy Hips in the Mix Reviewed by Ramzi Salti --All Tracks are FCC CLEAN— DJ Nader is known for his amazing remixes all over the Arab world. In this compilation—which can be played as independent tracks or as one long uninterrupted megamix (put CD player on ‘Continuous’ instead of ‘Single’)—he remixes both old and new Arabic songs in with emphasis on loud, joyful, rhythmic music that will cause listeners to immediately start shaking their hips (and bellies). **1. Lebanese pop star Rami Ayash starts the mix with this famous track (4:14) 2. Assi Hallani, another Lebanese music legend, sings about the eyes of his beloved (4:01) . 3. Fares Karam represents the Lebanese countryside and villages; here he sings about a girl in a short skirt (4:16) 4. Rami Ayash featured again singing about his overjoyed heart—remixed with western instruments (3:43) **5. Wael Kfoury is known in Lebanon fo

My CD Review: Nancy Ajram - Super Nancy (2012)

Album Review Ramzi S. Reviewed 2012-10-18  -- All Tracks are FCC CLEAN -- Although this is a children’s album—recorded by the Lebanese Princess of Pop Nancy Ajram as a tribute to her two young daughters Milla and Ella— this CD has been getting so much airplay on radio stations all over the Arab world that its target audience—Arab children—has taken a back seat to the mass appeal of these songs. **1. Ya Banat.(3:10) is the first single off this album and is an ode to daughters and girls, going against patriarchal and outdated concepts that used to favor the birth of sons over daughters. In Egyptian dialect. 2. Bo2 El Katkout (3:13) )[Mouth of the Chicken] Childish track, Arabic nursery rhyme with Egyptian dialect. **3. Ba2ousi (2:50) [Peakaboo] A guilty pleasure for adults, this addictive song was initially intended for children. In Lebanese Arabic. 4. Sana Helwa Ya Gamil (4:01) [Happy Birthday] is a variation on the Happy Birthday theme. Egyptian dialect.. 5. Stouhy (4:38) [R

My CD Review: Aziz Maraka - Master Copy

Album Review Ramzi S. Reviewed 2012-10-18  -- All Tracks are FCC CLEAN -- Aziz Maraka is one of the leading alternative music composers and performers in Jordan. In 2005 he founded the group RAZZ, (Rock-Arabic-Jazz). "Master Copy" is Maraka’s first officially released CD. It includes both studio tracks as well as live versions of some songs. All tracks are in Arabic. **1. Bent Ennas.(4:30) is a jazzy sounding tune, upbeat, lots of trumpets. About a girl who won’t respond to a guy’s affections. 2. Al Atwa (4:08) Begins dramatically with symphonic sounding orchestra, nay plying (flute), drums. Slows down into a mawwal (lamentation) which then picks up. **3. Ibki (Live) (5:20) Oud playing begins this ballad, along with piano, vocals with echo, slow tempo. 4. Leish habibi (live) (6:21) Slow track, lots of piano playing, soft jazz, grand ballad-like segments. 5. Laa (live) (4:38) Begins with piano and violin; sounds sad. Symphonic instrumental (no vocals). **6. Amman (6:5

New Anthology Published: Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here

Nov 8 'Arabology' Podcast Ft Interview with Torange Yeghiazarian, Artistic Director of 'ReOrient Festival of Short Plays' in San Francisco

The sixth episode of the 3rd Season of 'Arabology' (aired Nov 8, 2012) includes an interview with Torange Yeghiazarian, Founding Artistic Director of Golden Thread Productions which is currently staging the ReOrient Festival of Short Plays in San Francisco (in English) which explore the Middle East from November 1–18, 2012. Also includes alternative music from the Arab world accompanied by commentary, in English, by your host DJ Ramzi. R. Salti (left) with  Torange Yeghiazarian at Stanford To Download: To Listen Instantly: Playlist for Arabology Thursday, 8 November 2012 3pm - 5pm DJ: Ramzi S. Artist/ Track/ Album/ Label 1. El Khalil, Omeima/ Ya Helou/ Ya/ Forward Music 2. Egyptian Project/ Anta Ana/ Paleo Festival Village Du Monde 2012/ Disques Office 3. Samsa/ Nsima (Breath Of Life)/ Alem Jdid (New World)/ Skander Guetari 4.

Stanford Event: Lives Under Drones (Nov 11, 2012)

Podcast: November 1 Episode of 'Arabology' Ft Author Soha Al-Jurf

The 4th episode of the 3rd season of my radio show 'Arabology' (aired Nov 1, 2012) includes an interview with Soha Al-Jurf, author of 'Even My Voice Is Silence.' Also includes new alternative music from the Arab world accompanied by commentary, in English, by your host DJ Ramzi. To download: To listen instantly: Playlist for Arabology Thurs, 1 Nov 2012 3pm - 5pm DJ: Ramzi S. Artist/ Track/ Album/ Label 1. El Khalil, Omeima/ Leh?/ Ya/ Forward Music 2. Watcha Clan/ Osfour (Bird)/ Arabic Beat/ Putumayo World Music 3. Trio Joubran/ Nawwar/ Paleo Festival Village Du Monde 2012--Moyen Orient/ Disques Office 4. Laroussi, Djamel/ Kifach Hilti (What’S The Outcome?)/ Arabic Beat/ Putumayo World Music 5. Samsa/ Alem Jdid (New World)/ Alem Jdid (New World)/ Skander Guetari 6. Maraka, Aziz/ Possessed/ Master Copy/ Cd Baby 7. Ajram, Nancy/ Ya Banat / Su

'Casablanca Mon Amour' Screening in San Francisco on November 10

A special preview screening of CASABLANCA MON AMOUR will take place on Saturday Nov 10 at 2:30pm at the New People Cinema in San Francisco.  This screening is organized as part of the San Francisco Film Society's Cinema By The Bay Festival. Tickets for the screening can be purchased now via the link below. LINK to SFFS page about the film and about the screening,942,1398&pageid=3216 A film that replaces myths with humanity and humor "Casablanca Mon Amour offers an entertaining road map between yesteryear's Hollywood and todayʼs Morocco." —Dr. Jack Shaheen, author of Reel Bad Arabs and former CBS news consultant on Middle East affairs. CASABLANCA MON AMOUR A FILM BY JOHN SLATTERY LOGLINE: A non-traditional road movie exploring a Moroccan perspective on the entwined relationship between Hollywood and the Arab/Muslim World. SYNOPSIS: Casablanca Mon Amour is a modern road movie that encapsulates th

Mediterranean Studies Forum at Stanford Hosts Lively Events, Discussions and Speakers

Pictures from above event: Nuray Mert, Lucan Way, Ali Yaycioglu Lucan Way, Ali Yaycioglu, Lina Khatib EVENT ON NOVEMBER 8:

Doorway to Islamic Civilization Workshops Begin Nov 9-11, 2012 (Oakland, CA)

Zawaya Oakland, CA DOORWAY TO ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION:  HANDS-ON WORKSHOPS ON ISLAMIC ART & CULTURE November 9, 10, 11, 2012 Islamic civilization boasts an intellectual, artistic, and cultural heritage that spans continents and centuries.   The gradations of shape, color, taste, texture, and sound that exist within and between Muslim peoples and cultures are as rich and diverse as their ideas and attitudes, as well as their languages, races, and ethnicities.  Out of this fertile and potent mix of elements emerged artforms and practices that can enrich and beautify our lives. Zawaya thus launches an original event:  "Doorway to Islamic Civilization", a weekend collection of hands-on workshops on Islamic art and culture set against the current social backdrop of Islamophobia.  These workshops are meant to give those interested the opportunity to get to know Islam and Muslims by providing a safe space within which to explore and experience the Islamic sense o

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