Tuesday, April 30, 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 example of the impact of world politics on culture, the parents of singer Elizabeth Ayoub emigrated from Lebanon before that country’s civil war, settling in Venezuela before her birth. Given that heritage, her music, not surprisingly, mixes Arabic and Latin styles, and she sings it in Arabic and Spanish, when she’s not venturing into English or French. In the arrangements, the guitars mix with ouds, but no matter what the instrumentation, the approach is gentle and folkish, and as a songwriter Ayoub (as revealed in the translations of her lyrics in the CD booklet) sticks to generalized longings for romantic love. Occasionally, the music veers toward American country-folk, notably in “Je T’Attends,” which, with its repeated use of the phrase “don’t know why” (sung in English) suggests Norah Jones, and “Volver.” But American country singers don’t usually sing their choruses in French followed by the wordless expression “ya leyli.” Ayoub is a poster child for international understanding, and her music should have pop appeal across cultures.”

Below is a video made by 'World Connection' which spotlights Elizabeth Ayoub's music and includes an interview with her: (Link at http://youtu.be/U095jDKizHg?t=47s)

Here is a breathtaking song that Elizabeth Ayoub recorded in Arabic; it is titled 'Ya Oud' and taken from her second album Oceanos y Lunas:

You can hear many more samples of Elizabeth Ayoub's music at http://ohmytracks.com/#/music/Elizabeth+Ayoub


Monday, April 29, 2013

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:

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).

Sunday, April 28, 2013

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 http://www.youtube.com/user/OumeimaElKhalil

Track List on 'Zaman':
  1. Tabaa El Wosta (الطبقة الوسطى (04:05
  2. Niyalak (نيالك (03:05
  3. Rasayel (رسايل (04:11
  4. Thilalouna (ظلالنا (03:42
  5. Hatha (هذا (05:31
  6. Fi Akher Al Ashyaa (في آخر الأشياء (04:49
  7. Leh (Revisited) (ليه (03:51
  8. Bint W Sabi (بنت وصبي (05:50
  9. Arifou Biladan (أعرف بلاداً (04:41

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 industry today.

For more info see http://www.oumeima.com

El Khalil, Oumeima Zaman (2013)
This is a pleasant album by Oumeima (sometimes spelled Omeima) and follows her previous critically acclaimed album ‘Ya’ which got a lot of airplay on KZSU. Oumeima’s voice is still there, clear as a bell, but this CD seems more traditional than experimental.  Give it a chance because it will grow on you.

Tracks 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 are in Levantine dialect. Tracks 4, 5, 6, 9 are in Classical Arabic.

All tracks are FCC clean.

**1 Tabaa El Wosta 4:05 [The Middle Class] Best track on the album, mid tempo, satirical lyrics and commentary on class systems.

2 Niyalak 3:05 [Good for You] Slow ballad expressing the aloofness of the beloved.

3 Rasayel 4:11 [Letters] Sad song about loss of love and loss of one’s homeland.

4 Thilalouna 3:42 [Our Hills]. Classical Arabic poem/lyrics about Egypt

5 Hatha 5:31 Somewhat faster beat than most tracks; classical Arabic lyrics.

**6 Fi Akher Al Ashyaa 4:49 [The End of All Things] Mellow, soft melody and soothing, sad vocals. Classical Arabic.

7 Leh (Revisited) 3:51 [Why] This track was originally released on Oumeima’s previous album and here has been revamped and slowed down. Lebanese dialect.

8 Bint W Sabi 5:50 [A Girl and a Boy] Pleasant, mellow ballad in Lebanese dialect.

9 Arifou Biladan 4:41 [I Know Countries] A ballad that borders on a hymn. Picks up in middle with electric guitar which is startling. Classical Arabic.

**My faves: 1 and 6 (Ramzi Salti)

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: http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2013/04/26/aman-rap-islam.cnn.html

Friday, April 26, 2013

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: http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/program/67985

To Listen: http://www.radio4all.net/files/author30@gmail.com/4294-1-Arabology_S5E3.mp3

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 Could Go Back In Time/ Debke On The Moon/ Dam
**10. Globalization of Hip Spotlights/ Interview with DAM and Omar Offendum Part 3/ Arabology/ KZSU
11. Omar Offendum/ Destiny/ Syrianamericana/ Cosher Ink, Llc
12. Asifeh/ Ramadi (Grey)/ Khat Thaleth (Third Rail)/ Stronghold Sound
13. Aswat/ Qanun Taqasim/ Spring Concert 2007/ Aswat
14. Jerusalem In My Heart/ 3anzah Jarbanah/ Mo7it Al-Mo7it/ Constellation
15. Rima Khcheich/ An-Nadda/ Min Sihr Ouyounak/ Rima Khcheich
16. Joussour/ Min al shobbak l'armilak hali/ Places and Directions/ Joussour
17. Zeid & the Wings/ Jazira (Master)/ Single/ Lebanese Underground
18. Egyptian Project/ Kawala Time/ Ya Amar/ Six Degrees Records
19. Soapkills/ Marra Fi Ghnina (Remix)/ Single/ Lebanese Underground
20. Michel Sajrawy/ Ya Lel/ Arabop/ Dasam

Arabology is a weekly radio program hosted by Dr. Ramzi Salti, Lecturer in Arabic at Stanford University, which aims at showcasing various cultural productions from the Arab world including (mostly alternative) Arabic music, along with commentary in English. The show also features interviews (in English) with individuals whose work is related to the region. 'Arabology' airs live on Thursdays 3-5 pm (PST) on KZSU Stanford 90.1 FM and streams at http://kzsulive.stanford.edu

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

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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 http://www.haladance.com/
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: sorayashow.brownpapertickets.com/
Info & Workshops: www.HalaDance.com or 408-246-1129

Soraya is internationally acclaimed as one of the top Egyptian Bellydance superstars with followers all over the world. She mixes in her fiery Brazilian training with her passionate deeply moving Egyptian expressions forming a very unique style that touches the hearts and souls of her audience. She performs at top 5-stars Cairo hotels multiple shows per night, every day of the week. She is said to dance with her emotions on her sleeve. Soraya is world famous for her amazing shimmies and fabulous drum solos, which she will teach in her workshops.  Event is wheelchair accessible.

Friday, April 19, 2013

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 https://soundcloud.com/arabology/arabology-s5-episode-2

Saturday, April 13, 2013

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.

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

Thursday, April 11, 2013

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 is included in the collection.
For more info see 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

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 www.iccnc.org or email info@iccnc.org or call 510-832-7600.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"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 investment banks, asset managers and governments.

Sheikh Yusuf is the author of the three volume Compendium of Legal Opinions on the Operations of Islamic Banks, the first English/Arabic reference on the fatawa issued by Shari'ah boards. In addition, Sheikh Yusuf wrote the introduction to Islamic Bonds, the 2003 book that introduced Sukuk and transformed the world's Islamic capital markets. His work has appeared in academic and industry journals and as chapters in books, including Euromoney's Islamic Asset Management (2004), Islamic Retail Finance (2005), and Islamic Finance: Innovation & Growth (2002). His entries on the terminology of Islamic finance appear in The Oxford Dictionary of Islam.

Sheikh Yusuf is fluent and has published academic work in English, Arabic and Urdu. He has translated al-Adab al-Mufrad by Imam Bukhari (Imam Bukhari's Book of Muslim Morals and Manners), Fann al-Dhikr wa'l-Du'a by Sheik Muhammad al-Ghazali (Remembrance and Prayer), al-Wahy al-Muhammadi by Rashid Rida, (The Muhammadan Revelation), and the soon-to-be published Kitab al-Halal wa'l-Haram, vol. 14 of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali's Ihya 'Ulum al-Din.

If you would like to attend, please respond by April 15th to
Sonia Lee: sonialee@stanford.edu, 650-736-9538.

Map, parking is free on campus after 4 pm.
Closest parking may be found on Galvez St., Serra St., or The Oval (top of Palm Dr.)

10th Anniversary of Dr. Ramzi Salti's Arabology Program Features All Episodes on Soundcloud + YouTube (Click here)

All 13 seasons of Dr. Ramzi Salti's  Arabology  podcasts  are now available on Soundcloud, for a total of 101 episodes. Additionally, al...