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Showing posts from September, 2012

Arab Cultural Festival in San Francisco on October 6, 2012

AMENDS Talks at Stanford

I attended last year's AMENDS Summit at Stanford and was very impressed by the speakers and the way the whole event was conducted.  This year's summit promises to be as exciting as ever! --Dr. Ramzi Salti, Lecturer in Arabic, Stanford University Happy Fall! On behalf of the American Middle Eastern Network for Dialogue at Stanford University, we are honored to announce the launch of the AMENDS Talks from our 2012 Summit. These Talks are a truly unique opportunity to hear the voices of some of the leaders who at the forefront of the changes in the Middle East. We hope you will engage with the youth leaders' ideas, share the Talks with your family and friends, and seek ways to contribute to their movements and initiatives - or start projects of your own. Check out our promotional clip of the Talks. Your help spreading the AMENDS Talks will be invaluable in creating greater understanding between the United States and Middle East, and in ensuring that the voices of these i

Islamic Art and Culture Workshops in Oakland this November

Visit for more details. 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 of beauty embodied in art, crafts, music, architecture, and more. In addition to the workshops, there will be a film

'The Meaning of Arabic Literature': New Course at Stanford by Prof Alexander Key

Course description and details (provided by Professor Alexander Key): The Meaning of Arabic Literature (COMP LIT 141A) In this course we will read a book: "The Table-talk of a Mesopotamian Judge" by Abu Ali al-Muhassin b. Ali at-Tanukhi (who died in Baghdad in 994). This book was written to be amusing, diverting, and pleasant to read. Today, one thousand years later on the other side of the world, it is puzzling, surprising, and difficult to come to terms with. The gap between these two reader experiences is the subject matter of this course. The aim of the course is to bridge that gap: to come to enjoy and be challenged by the Table-Talk in the way that at-Tanukhi wanted his mediaeval readers to take both intellectual and literary pleasure from reading his book. Engaging in this process will give us: 1. A new understanding of how a literary composition can be written, and of how a collection of anecdotes can be used to introduce and question big ideas about

Tentacles and Rainbows: A Book by Mohammad Badeges

Publication Date: March 14, 2012 In ancient Arabia there lives a clan bent on staving off the Roman infringement, in Egypt a dying queen attains the means to eternal life, Sparta; a ravaged warrior finds solace in the bosom of a tortured goddess, and in the valleys of Lebanon; a priestess sells her soul to the demands of immortal lust. A story of aimless and immortal vengeance. Paperback: 638 pages Publisher: CreateSpace (March 14, 2012) Language: English You can order the book through amazon at THIS LINK

Special Pre-Fall Edition of 'Arabology' Available (Sept 12 Podcast)

The podcast from the special pre-Fall edition of my radio show 'Arabology' (aired Sept 12, 2012) is available for free downloading at Or you can listen instantly by clicking on this link: This special pre-Fall ediition of Arabology featured music by Mashrou' Leila, Natacha Atlas, El Morabba3, DAM, Pangia, Maryam, Cheb Khaled, Yasmine Hamdan, Sae Lis, Yemen Blues, Trio Joubran, Omeima El Khalil, and others. Show also included Top Arabic Films of all-time, reviewed in English by Ahmad Q. Thanks for listening! Ramzi Salti, Ph.D. Lecturer, Author & Radio DJ Stanford University DJ Ramzi (left) with Ahmad Q on Sept 12, 2012

My CD Review of 'Paleo Festival Nyon 2012: Moyen Orient'

Various Artists / Paleo Festival Nyon 2012--Moyen Orient Label: Disques Office Ramzi S. Reviewed 2012-09-12 --All Tracks are FCC CLEAN except Track 2-- The Paleo Festival Village du Monde is part of an annual music festival that takes place in Switzerland and features some of the greatest musicians from around the world. This year (2012) the world music venue focused on artists from the Middle East, all of whom performed at the festival, including some from Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and other places in the region. 1. Omar Souleyman "Hafer Gabrak Bidi" Loud, joyous, upbeat tune that sounds like something that would play at an Arab wedding. (3:35) 2. Balkan Beat Box "Political F*ck" (EXPLICIT) Noisy, catchy, with lots of explicatives (3:47) **3. DAM "Mali Huriye' Palestinian band DAM singing a hip hop tune about freedom. (3:41) **4. Mashrou' Leila "Imm El Jacket" A gender bending song by the Lebanese group Mashrou' L

My CD Review of Omeima El Khalil: Ya

El Khalil, Omeima / Ya Album: Ya Collection: World Artist: El Khalil, Omeima Added: 09/2012 Label: Forward Music Album Review by Dr. Ramzi Salti Reviewed 2012-09-11 --All Tracks are FCC CLEAN— Known throughout the Eighties and Nineties for her powerful vocals and somewhat traditional songs, Omeima El Khalil’s 2011 album represents a break from the norm for this relatively famous female vocalist who attempts to now fuse western beats with Arabic lyrics while tackling themes that center on love’s joy and pain. Latin beats dominate several of the tracks on this CD, while other songs sound traditionally Egyptian. **1. “Ouhibbouka Akhtar” (I Love You More) (5:32) An a cappella declaration of passion; haunting vocals (5:32). 2. “Ya Helou” (Handsome Guy) fuses salsa rhythms with Arabic lyrics. (4:17) 3. “Daret El Kahweh” (Serving Coffee) Slow ballad about drinking coffee from a broken cup. (6:56). 4. “Ya Sidi” (Master) is the single that was commercially released and seems the least

My CD Review of Pangia: West of East (Vol 5)

Pangia / West Of East Label: Pangia Vol 5 Ramzi S. Reviewed 2012-09-11 --All Tracks are FCC CLEAN-- Pangia is a world music band made up of 3 musicians: Pat Olson (Oud, Guitar, Vocals, Keyboard); Denise Mannion (Keyboard); Carmine T. Guida (Doumbeck, Accordion, Riq). This album focuses mainly on songs from/about Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and intersects them with different world beats and rhythms. Some tracks are written and produced by Pat Olson while others are remakes of traditional Arabic songs (with a Pangia twist). Most tracks are instrumentals. **1. "The Night Is Beautiful" (Lebanon) Lebanese folkloric tune; upbeat (3:35) 2. "Pharonic Dream" (P. Olson) Drum sounds at beginning lead to slow, contemplative melody with lots of Oud playing (3:28) . 3. "Insha'Allah Drum Solo" (C. Guida) Rythmic melody featuring the Doumbeck drum (3:08) 4. "Finale: The Night is Beautiful" (Lebanon) Shorter version of track #1 (1:07) 5. "Noora&

Learning a Language, and Relearning a Country by Hugh Martin (NYT)

Below is a portion of a beautifully written essay by HUGH MARTIN titled "Learning a Language, and Relearning a Country" which was published in The New York Times on August 27, 2012.  If you like it, then I strongly urge you to read the whole piece at Quote from the New York Time s: "For Hugh Martin, taking Arabic as a student almost six years after he had returned as a soldier meant coming to terms with his conditioned prejudices and fears." Courtesy of Hugh Martin (the author). Here is a small portion from Hugh Martin's piece in The New York Times (c).   See the complete piece at Running late to class in my third week of Arabic, I jogged up the angled staircase, past the drinking fountains, then turned the corner. My classroom was four doors down the hallway. As I gl

'Bi Beirut' Video Clip by Mike Massy

'Bi Beirut' is a music video by Mike Massy that shows the flaming flairs that Beirut holds within. It is being used to promote the Beirut Marathon. The words Mike Massy utters "Bi Beirut fi kel chi, fi raked fi machi" [In Beirut there is everything, there is walking and there is running] hold more meaning than the obvious. By "machi" the lyric doesn't just refer to walking but the placidity of nothingness that connects us all. A video full of hidden and obvious messages, a video that makes the spirit dance.  See Lyrics by: Mike Massy, BMA TEAM, Sana Iskandar. Music and Arrangements: Mike Massy Musicians: Vocals: Mike Massy Drums: Jad Feitrouni Bass: Rany Battikh Guitars: Bassem Deaibess Qanûn: Ghassan Sahhab Editing and Maquette: Elie Kallab Recorded and Mixed by Karim Noujaim in collaboration with PHOENIKIA studios. Mastering engineer: Simon Laham at CRAFTLAB Mastering. Mike Massy's Media Consultan

Bushra El Turk's Latest News and Upcoming Concerts

Bushra El Turk is an award-winning young British-born Lebanese Composer with an amazing talent for classical music. Bushra El-Turk's ironic and allegorical musical vocabulary derives as much from theatre, dance and literature as it forebears her Lebanese roots, life as a Londoner, and love of folk music. Bushra began to study the 'cello and piano from a young age at the Centre for Young Musicians and then went on to study composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Julian Philips, where she graduated with a Bachelor and then gained a Master in Composition with Distinction, supported by a PRS Foundation Scholarship. She has written various works for the concert hall, both performed and broad-casted on radio and television both in the UK, across Europe and the Middle-East. She has had a particularly fruitful artistic partnership with choreographer Aya Jane Saotome, with whom she has exchanged surreal and absurd themes in music and movement with the dance pro

The Art of (Male) Belly Dancing

Male Belly dancer Saleem in Los Angeles If you have ever wondered if there is such a phenomenon as male belly dancing coming from the Arab world, then Saleem and his ensemble--currently performing in Los Angeles--will function to defy all stereotypes and establish the art of male belly dancing as an artform that can stand on its own. In fact, Saleem's WHEN MEN DANCE ... FUSION EXOTICA has just been selected as the 'Pick of the Week' by the LA Weekly. In that piece, reviewer Paul Birchall notes that Saleem's "dance tour de force" is part of Highways' annual "Behold" performance festival and presents an intriguingly mixed multicultural bag. Dancers Gabriel Romero and Justo Leonard passionately capture a fascinating mix of machismo and lust in their crackling pas de deux. Ben Jacobs, in flowing Arabic robes, assays a seductive drag siren -- an Indian Hajira, perhaps? -- while Clarence Leonard, portraying a fierce African tribal sex icon, woos

My Weekly Beginning Arabic Night Class @Stanford University Begins September 26

Dr. Ramzi Salti teaching at Stanford University Registration is now open for anyone interested in learning Arabic from scratch through my Beginning Arabic I course, offered through Stanford's Continuing Studies Program. Anyone is welcome to enroll and no previous knowledge of Arabic needed . Course meets once a week (Wednesdays 7-9 pm) for 10 weeks at Stanford. First class will be on Wed September 26th. For more info and/or to register go to Hope to work with you this Fall! Ramzi Salti, Ph.D. Stanford University

Sneak Peak at the Arab Film Festival 2012

Here is a sneak peak at only a couple of the films that will screen at this year's Arab Film Festival which will take place on  October 11 - 21, 2012 in San Francisco, Berkeley, San Jose, Los Angeles. The Virgin, The Copts and Me (Documentary) Namir is a French filmmaker whose Coptic Christian parents moved to France in 1973. One day he watches a video of the Virgin Mary's apparition with his mother who, like millions of other Copts, sees the Virgin while he sees nothing. Skeptical, Namir travels to Egypt, interviewing Christian and Muslim witnesses claiming to see the 1968 apparition. Comedic moments abound from his French producer's exasperation as Namir veers from the prescribed documentary about inter-faith violence, to wrangling with his mother, a skeptic herself about his ability to not produce another failure, "just like your last." Best Arab Documentary 2011 Doha Tribeca Film Festival. Rough Hands (Narrative Feature) Mustapha is a forty-year-old barb

el Seed: A Web Site Dedicated to Arabic Graffiti and Calligraphy

'Identity' copyright by Visually stunning, gorgeous in its inclusion of images and videos, the web site  functions as a great medium to showcase Arabic graffiti and the way it is often created with Arabic calligraphic art.  It also includes some beautiful items (featuring Arabic calligraphy) that are available for sale. Check out the site at If you are interested in Arabic calligraphy and Graffiti, also see  CNN piece at

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