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Showing posts from April, 2013

Songstress Elizabeth Ayoub Combines Arabic Music with Latin Beats and More

The youngest daughter of Lebanese immigrants, Elizabeth Ayoub grew up in Venezuela speaking three different languages and with musical influences ranging from Quranic verse to Fairuz to Simon & Garfunkel and Barbra Streisand. Her first album, Prelude , was a true work of art and brought together a wide variety of musicians from the Latin and Arab world–from Grammy-award winning Bacilos drummer JJ Freire, to world class Cuban bassist Jose Armando Gola, to guitarist-extraordinaire Jose Elias, to Oud player Bassam Saba (who once played with the Lebanese legendary singer Fairuz). Soon thereafter, World Connection and Times Square Records signed Elizabeth Ayoub after watching her perform in Detroit at the Arab-American National Museum.   Traveling between Madrid and Beirut, her second album titled Oceanos y Lunas emerged and contained songs in Spanish, Arabic, French and English.   Here’s what iTunes had to say about Elizabeth Ayoub's  Oceanos y Lunas : “In an

Egyptian Writer Sonallah Ibrahim at Stanford on May 6

Egyptian novelist Sonallah Ibrahim will be in conversation with Professor Noha Radwan from UC Davis and Professor Alexander Key in the Humanities Center Boardroom on Monday 6 May from 5:30 to 7:30pm. Sonallah Ibrahim has been called "one of Egypt's most formally interesting and politically uncompromising writers", and he is making a rare visit to the West Coast to talk about his work and the Egyptian reality it describes. For more on Sonallah Ibrahim, see: Adam Shatz, LRB: NYRB:

Aswat: Tribute Concert to Umm Kulthum and Fairuz

On Sunday, May 5, 2013  Zawaya presented the Bay Area's premier Arab music ensemble, Aswat, in a concert that paid tribute to two of the Arab world's premier female musical legends: "The Star of East", Umm Kulthum (1898/1904-1975), and "The Jewel of Lebanon", Fairuz (born 1935).  The concert took place at the  College of San Mateo Theatre in San Mateo. The program exclusively and strictly presented only music from Umm Kulthum and Fairuz, and equal attention was given to the music of both. The program featured such songs as Umm Kulthum's "Ansak" and Fairuz's "Muwashshahat". This is just a simple edit from that concert, with part of an instrument solo and then all Aswat members performing:

Interfaith Art Exhibit in Oakland , CA (May 11-June 7)

The Interfaith Art Exhibit is a very unique exhibit that begins with a reception on May 11 at 5-8 pm and lasts till June 7, 2013. It will take place at ICCNC (1433 Madison St, Oakland, CA).

Oumeima Releases New CD Titled 'Zaman' + My CD Review

Oumeima (Omeima) El Khalil has just released her much anticipated album 'Zaman' which aims at solidifying the success that her critically acclaimed previous CD ' Ya ' made upon the Arab and world music scene. Here is the track list on the new CD followed by a sample of track 1 .  You can hear samples from the other tracks on Oumeima's YouTube Channel at Track List on 'Zaman': Tabaa El Wosta (الطبقة الوسطى (04:05 Niyalak (نيالك (03:05 Rasayel (رسايل (04:11 Thilalouna (ظلالنا (03:42 Hatha (هذا (05:31 Fi Akher Al Ashyaa (في آخر الأشياء (04:49 Leh (Revisited) (ليه (03:51 Bint W Sabi (بنت وصبي (05:50 Arifou Biladan (أعرف بلاداً (04:41 ABOUT OUMEIMA: Oumeima el Khalil is an established Lebanese singer who interprets her culture and passion for music to a worldwide audience. She has a voice that has been touching her diverse fan base for decades and she continues to thrive in the music industr

DAM Interviewed by CNN's Christiane Amanpour

(Suhell Nafar, Tamer Nafar, Mahmood Jrere) The Palestinian Hip Hop group DAM, who have been touring the USA including a concert at Stanford on April 6, was recently interviewed by Christiane Amanpour on CNN.  Here is the interview with the three band members: (Tamer Fafar, Suhell Nafar and Mahmood Jrere) which you can also watch at this link:

4/25 Podcast: An Arabological, Musical Journey with DJ Ramzi

The April 25, 2013 episode of 'Arabology' features fresh music from the Arab Spring and new alternative Arabic music (see playlist below), plus the 3rd part of DJ Ramzi's interview with DAM and Omar Offendum. To Download: To Listen: Playlist for Arabology Thurs, 25 April 2013 3-5pm DJ: Ramzi S. (Artist/ Track/ Album/ Label) 1. Omeima El Khalil/ Tabaa El Wosta/ Zaman/ Forward Music 2. Egyptian Project/ Ya Sahbi/ Ya Amar/ Six Degrees Records 3. Orquestra Arab De Barcelona/ Jerusalén/ Libertad/ Harmonia Mundi France 4. El Far3i + El Rass/ Janna Janna/ Khat Thaleth (Third Rail)/ Stronghold Sound 5. Rasha/ Ya Sudan Ma'alesh/ Let Me Be/ Rasha 6. Ensemble Maraghi/ Ara Taksim/ Anwar/ Felmay 7. Rima Khcheich/ Marhabtein/ Min Sihr Ouyounak/ Khcheich 8. Dam/ Mali Huriye/ Paleo Festival Village Du Monde/ Disques Office 9. Dam/ If I Cou

Sat 4/27 World Lebanese Cultural Union Event in San Mateo, CA

Bellydance Artist Soraya Zayed in California this June

   Soraya Zayed of Egypt, one of the world’s most famous Bellydance artists, performs in ONE SHOW ONLY in Los Altos on Sat June 1 during her first visit to the Western USA. She will teach 2-day workshops in Los Altos on June 1 and 2, 2013. Details on She will also perform in Los Angeles (see announcement below). What: Soraya Zayed Dinner & Dance Show When: Saturday June 1st, 7 – 11:30 pm. Doors open at 6:30 pm. Where: Mirage Hall (behind Pineapple Grill), 4926 El Camino Real, Los Altos, CA 94022 The evening includes a healthy Mediterranean dinner catered by Rose Market with meat and vegetarian options. An incredible dance show crowned by Soraya's amazing performances. DJ music and open floor dancing and more. Full bar service available. Show tickets available on: Info & Workshops: or 408-246-1129 Soraya is internationally acclaimed as one of the top Egyptian Bellydance supersta

April 18 'Arabology' Podcast ft interviews w/ Ashley Lohmann, DAM, Omar Offendum

The April 18 'Arabology' Podcast features interview with Ashley Lohmann (creator of Beyond the Bombs site). Also includes my interviews with Palestinian band DAM and Omar Offendum--recorded at the 'Globalization of Hip Hop' event which I moderated at Stanford on April 6.  Plus intro by Farah Weheba and alternative music from the region. LISTEN BELOW or at

5th Season 'Arabology' Debut Incl Interv w/ Omar Offendum and More

The April 11, 2013 Arabology Podcast (Season 5 Episode 1) features an interview with Syrian American Hip Hop artist Omar Offendum (who performed along with the group DAM at Stanford on April 13, 2013). Show also showcases 'alternative' music by Joussour, Michel Sajrawy, Gene Band, Saffron, Mashrou' Leila, Egyptian Project, JIMH, Elizabeth Ayoub, SAM, Zeid and the Wings, Mike Massy, and the Bay Area Music Ensemble Aswat. TO LISTEN: TO DOWNLOAD: DJ Ramzi (left) with Omar Offendum at Stanford April 2013

Youth Leaders from the Middle East Coming to Stanford!! AMENDS April 13-17

Are you passionate about social, political, and economic change? What's really going on in the Middle East? 36 youth leaders from Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, United States, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Bahrain, Israel, UAE, Afghanistan, Yemen, Kuwait, Iran, and Syria are coming to Stanford... Hear what they have to say! (TED™ Style Talks) 2nd Annual AMENDS Summit April 15- 17, 2013 Stanford University Free and open to the public Monday, April 15th - 1:30-5pm: Impact Entrepreneurship - Koret-Taube Conference Center, GUNN-SIEPR Building Tuesday, April 16th - 1:30-5pm: Education and the Environment - Koret-Taube Conference Center, GUNN-SIEPR Building Wednesday, April 17th - 10am-2pm: Activism and the Art of Change - Mackenzie Room, Huang Engineering Center

Box Set Marks Le Trio Joubran's First Decade

The Trio Joubran are perhaps Palestine’s best-known exponents of the oud, a traditional Arabic stringed instrument. Three brothers from a family of musicians and instrument-makers from Nazareth , the Joubrans celebrated their tenth anniversary playing together by releasing a luxurious box set, functionally titled The First Ten Years , featuring both back catalog and new material. This collection celebrating their career over the past ten years, features their first albums: Randana and Majâz, À l'ombre des mots (In the Shadow of Words) with the voice of poet Mahmoud Darwish - an anthology with strong, symbolic meaning; music from the film Le Dernier Vol (The Last Flight) - an extraordinary collaboration with Chkrrr, and the Trio's latest and impressively mature album Asfâr with the voice of Dhafer Youssef and the well-known rhythm of ever-faithful percussionist, Youssef Hbeisch. A stunning DVD depicting the life of the Joubrans at the height of their art on stage and off

Islamophobia Book Reading by Peter Gottschalkon in Oakland, CA on April 13

Islam and Authors Book Reading program at ICCNC (Oakland, California) for this Saturday, April 13, at 5-7 pm with Peter Gottschalk, co-author of "Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy", and "Beyond Hindu and Muslim" followed by audience Q&A session and book signing. Program is in English and open to public. For more information, visit or email or call 510-832-7600.

"The Destitute" Book Launch at Stanford on April 22

You and a guest are cordially invited to attend a book party to celebrate a new publication  The Destitute  translated by Sheikh Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo Monday, April 22, 2013 4:30 to 6:00 pm Cecil H. Green Library, Bing Wing, Albert M. Bender Room, Fifth Floor Stanford University ABOUT THE BOOK: A classic in modern literary Arabic, The Destitute takes the starvation and suffering of Egyptian peasants during World War I as the point of departure for a treatise on the meanings of poverty and wealth and the ways in which people pervert these according to their own inclinations. Given the present state of confusion concerning the world’s economy and financial systems, beginning with capitalism and the global meltdown, the publication of a work that clarifies the meanings of wealth and poverty couldn’t be more timely. A scholar of Islamic Transactional Law, Sheikh Yusuf works with international financial entities, including institutional investors, home finance providers, international i