Friday, January 31, 2014

Jakarta Records Releases 'Sawtuha' Featuring Female Singers of the Arab Spring

A little less then three years ago the political situation in many countries of the Arab world changed dramatically. Uprisings started in rural areas of Tunisia and from there spread to various countries in the region. Millions gathered in the streets united by their demand for more democracy, rights and participation in the political process. In most cases the reaction of the governing dictators were relentless and severe towards every form of protests. Violence in the streets of Cairo, Tunis and Bengasi escalated and resulted in the overthrow of the governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

A year later a group of female singers and musicians from Tunisia (Nawel Ben Kraiem, Badiaa Bouhrizi, Medusa, Houwaida), Libya (Nada) and Egypt (Donia Massoud, Maryam Saleh, Youssra El Hawary) met in Mohsen Matri Studio in Tunis to sing- against corruption, despotism, patronization and narrow-mindedness. The song with Syrian artist Rasha Rizk was recorded some months later in her political asylum in Cairo. Sudanese/American producer Oddisee and Olof Dreijer of the Swedish pop duo The Knife joined the session, participating in the creation of the musical backdrop as well as the often multi-instrumentalist female singers. For the vinyl edition producers such as Brenk, Blackjoy and Blundetto contributed remix versions of the project.

At the time and still today especially musicians and especially women were and are trapped in a spiral of repression, discrimination and violence. "Sawtuha" (Arabic for "her voice"), the album that is the product of the 2-week session, is a vital encouraging testament of rebellion against the repression of democratic rights, gender inequality, and lack of inclusion. The music is an organic mixture of traditional Arabic music, regional influences and various forms of contemporary Western musical genres. A mixture that may sound contradicting at first but makes total sense once you listen to the music.

You can purchase the CD on iTunes or at:
You can also purchase a vinyl edition at the link above.

Bilbaal Project Aims to Connect Palestinian philanthropic Initiatives and Organizations around the World.

BILBAAL is A socially engaging online platform created by by Dana Salloum and Rasha Kashkoush (UAE) dedicated to connecting pro-bono resources to Palestinian philanthropic initiatives and organizations around the world.  For more details check out

You can support this project (crowdfunding till Feb 23, 2014) at

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lebanese Singer Aline Lahoud Wows 'The Voice' Judges

Aline Lahoud: Click on photo above to watch video
Lebanese singer Aline Lahoud, daughter of late singing legend Salwa Al Katrib, wowed the judges of France's 'The Voice' TV show by singing 'Khedni Maak,' one of her late Mom's songs.

Watch Aline's video at

Here is the original version of the song as recorded by Aline Lahoud's late Mom, the legendary Salwa Al Katrib:

Compare to Aline's version of her Mom's song during 'The Voice'at

Aline Lahoud's song and performance were discussed during the Jan 30, 2014 episode of Arabology.  Listen at

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Arab Women Speak Frankly on TEDTalks

From comediennes to architects, Arab women are using TEDTalks as a platform to speak about many aspects of Arab society that are rarely discussed in public. Here is a sample.

Maysoon Zayid: I got 99 problems... palsy is just one
Arab-American comedian Maysoon Zayid takes us on a whistle-stop tour of her adventures as an actress, stand-up comic, philanthropist and advocate for the disabled.

Shereen El Feki: A little-told tale of sex and sensuality
Shereen El Feki traveled through the Middle East for five years, talking to people about sex.

Suad Amiry - My work My Hobby.
Suad Amiry is a Palestinian architect whose motto is 'Simply look inside you never at others'.

Bahia Shehab: A thousand times no
Art historian Bahia Shehab has long been fascinated with the Arabic script for 'no.' When revolution swept through Egypt in 2011, she began spraying the image in the streets saying no to dictators and injustice.

Suheir Hammad: Poems of war, peace, women, power
Poet Suheir Hammad performs two spoken-word pieces: "What I Will" and "break (clustered)" -- meditations on war and peace, on women and power.

May El-Khalil: Making peace is a marathon
In a moving talk, marathon founder May El-Khalil explains why she believed a 26.2-mile running event could bring together a country divided for decades by politics and religion, even if for one day a year.

Suzanne Talhouk: Is Speaking Arabic Un-Cool?
Suzanne Talhouk takes the initiative to revitalize the Arabic language by modernizing it, and reviving its use as a language of creative expression.  This video is in Arabic with English subtitles.

Dalia Mogahed: The attitudes that sparked the Arab Spring
Pollster Dalia Mogahed shares surprising data on Egyptian people's attitudes and hopes before the Arab Spring -- with a special focus on the role of women in sparking change.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Jan 23 Podcast Spotlights New Arabic Versions of Classic Songs

Dr. Ramzi Salti hosts 'Arabology'
The Jan 23, 2014 Arabology Podcast spotlights spotlights Arabic versions of Western songs and new, revamped versions of old Arabic classics.

You can listen to the podcast below or at

Below is the playlist for Arabology Thurs, 23 Jan 2014 4-6 pm DJ: Ramzi S
Each song in followed by the name of the artist who originally recorded that song.

1. Rachid Taha/ Now Or Never/ Zoom/ Naive [Elvis Presley]
2. Mashrou' Leila/ Ghadan Yawmon Afda/ Mashrou' Leila [The Gorillaz]
3. Sofia Marikh/ Tahwak/ Tahwak/ Rotana [Barbra Streisand]
4. Mariem Labidi/ La Ma Twade3nish/ Labidi [Jacques Brel]
5. Faudel/ Bambino/ Bled Memory/ Mercury (France) [Dalida]
6. Ramy Ayash & Abir Nehme/ Belaaks/ Riachi [Lila Downs, Cake]
7. Jowan Safadi + Samak/ Mahbalni/ Safadi [Nirvana]

8. Jadal/ Al-Tobah/ Arabic Rocks/ Forward Music [Abdel Halim Hafez]
9. Khalas/ Ala Remshi/ Arabic Rock Orchestra/ Zidani [Wadi El Safi]
10. Omar Offendum/ Finjan/ Syrianamericana/ Cosher Ink, Llc [Abdel Halim Hafez]
11. Tania Saleh/ Tmanta'sh Moulaya/ Wehde/ Forward Music [Samira Tawfiq]
12. Heba Al Mansoury and Zeid Hamdan/ Ahwak/ Lebanese Underground [Fairuz]
13. Yasmine Hamdan/ La Mouch/ Ya Nass/ Crammed Discs [M. Abdel Wahab]
14. Darine Hamze/ Ya Zahratan Fi Khayali/ Beirut Hotel/ Lfp Pelléas [M. Abdel Wahab]
15. Dany Baladi/ Ya Jarata/ Zeid Hamdan [Nazim El Ghazali]
16. Watcha Clan/ Osfour/ Rough Guide Mediterranean/ WMN [Oumeima El Khalil]
17. Mohamed Zohair Ammar/ Ya habibi Taala/ MZA [Asmahan]
18. NO Blues/ Rageen Rambling/ Ya Dunya/ Continental Record Services [Fairuz]
19. Darine Hamze/ Saat Saat/ Beirut Hotel/ Lfp Pelléas [Sabah]
20. Maryam Saleh & Zeid Hamdan/ Nixon/ Single/ Lebanese Underground [Sheikh Imam]

'Arabology' is a weekly radio program, currently in its seventh season, which airs on KZSU 90.1 FM (San Francisco bay area). It is hosted by Dr. Ramzi Salti, Lecturer at Stanford University, who showcases and discusses (mostly alternative) Arabic music, along with interviews + commentary in English. Previous Podcasts at

* Arabology Blog:
* Arabology on Facebook:
* Arabology on YouTube:
* Arabology on Soundcloud: @arabology
* Arabology Contact:

Monday, January 20, 2014

Yasmine Hamdan Performs at globalFEST 2014

A solo artist based in Europe after a childhood split between Lebanon, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Greece, the co-founder of the groundbreaking duo Soapkills blends new material with reworked traditional songs in a smoky-cool electro-pop setting.

For more see

Sunday, January 19, 2014

7th Season 'Arabology' Debut Showcases Arabic Musical Genres

The 7th Season premiere episode of 'Arabology' (aired Jan 16, 2014) showcases and discusses different musical genres that are emerging from the Arab world, including but not limited to Arabic Rock, gorgeous ballads, Arabic Hip Hop, Electro Shaabi + Sufi music, songs and poetry (along with English translations),

Playlist for Arabology Thurs, 16 January 2014 4-6 pm DJ: Ramzi S.

1. Mike Massy/ Ya Zaman/ Ya Zaman/ Falak Productions
2. Jam3 Tkseer/ Qaseeda shrera/ Ghanni 3n al Ta3reef/

3. Jadal/ El Makina/ El Makina/ Mahmoud Radaideh
4. Khalas/ Ghana Al Hawa/ Arabic Rock Orchestra/ Zidani
5. Akher Zapheer/ Akherto Lahen Hazeen/ Counter Culture/ Eka3

6. Lena Chamamyan/ Henna Wa-Zahr/ Qanun/ Ghazl El Banat/ Lena Chamamyan/Self
7. Sharq/ 3ajibtu minka wa minni (Al Hallaj) /Sharq/ Sharq
8. Mohamed Abozekry and Heejaz/ Sur La Route/ Chaos/ Neonovo
9. Karim Baggili, Karim + Le Trio Joubran/ Kalimaat/ Kali City/
10. Abdulrahman Mohammad/ Asabaki 3ishq/ Single/ Self
11. Ensemble Ibn Arabi/ Salabat Laila Minni// Arabo-Andalusian Sufi Songs/ Long Distance France

12. Tania Kassis/ La Cumparsita/Aatini El Naya/ Live at l'Olympia/ Tania Kassis

13. Hello, Psychaleppo/ Tobayabooya/ Gool L'Ah/ Samer Saem Eldahr
14. Sadat & Alaa Fifty Cent / The Release/ Generation Bass/ Six Degree Records
15. Aziz Maraka/ Bahki Lahali (Live)/ Master Copy/ Cd Baby
16. Karima Nayt/ Binti/ Quoi D'Autre?/ Ajabu!

17. Tania Saleh/ Arefti Ayya Style/ Live At DRM/ Forward Music
18. Rasha Rizk & Ibrahim Suleimany/ Ya Rait/ Baytna/ Itar Shameh

19. Edd Abbas, Lipos,Elepheel/ Moul7aq/ Tripnol/ Edd Abbas/Lipos/Elepheel
20. Arabian Knightz/ Arab/ Uknighted State Of Arabia/ Arabian Knightz
21. Baselio Raw Young Caesar ft Oumima/ Eli Bbali/ Baselio Raw/ NA

22. Khaled Aljaramani/ Farah/ Athar/Impression/ Institut Du Monde Arabe & Harmonia Mundi

'Arabology' is a weekly radio program, currently in its seventh season, which airs on KZSU 90.1 FM (San Francisco bay area). It is hosted by Dr. Ramzi Salti, Lecturer at Stanford University, who showcases and discusses (mostly alternative) Arabic music, along with interviews + commentary in English. Previous Podcasts

* Arabology Blog:
* Arabology on Facebook:
* Arabology on YouTube:
* Arabology on Soundcloud: @arabology
* Arabology Contact:

Thursday, January 2, 2014

'Ablution' Explores Sexuality and Spirituality in Iran

Ablution is a brave new film exploring sexuality and spirituality under the veil of a conservative Muslim woman living in war-torn Iran (see promo below). You can support the film via Kickstarter at (5 days left).

This film takes place in Tehran, Iran in 1985 ― at the peak of the Iran-Iraq war. We meet Neda and Omid, two very sheltered adult siblings who live with their single mother in a dingy one-bedroom apartment.

Caught in a web of war, strict social laws, and a mentally unhinged mother, Neda and Omid find spiritual refuge wherever they can. Neda, shunned by Iranian society as an "old maid" at a mere 27 years of age, buries herself in Islam. Omid dreams of escaping into a music video fantasy of the West. When an unexpected visitor moves in, Neda and Omid are forced to come of age in a remarkable yet unspeakable way.

The film was written by Melissa Recalde, Parisa Barani and Amin El Gamal and its traditional narrative is interspersed with mystic Sufi imagery to create an experience that is both thought-provoking and totally accessible.

For more info:

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...