Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2023

New El Morabba3 Song 'Biban' Explores Fragmented Identities

Biban (Doors) is the latest track by El Morabba3  El Morabba3's Mohammad Abdallah (right) with Idreesi (left) Renowned Jordanian/Palestinian indie band El Morabba3 has once again captivated long-time fans and new enthusiasts with a new single titled "Biban" (Doors).  Released in May 2023, the song follows the band's successful return in February, after a seven-year hiatus, with the track "El Wuhoosh" (Monsters) (reviewed  here ). The words of the latest song (provided below) were collaboratively written by Mohammad Abdallah and the talented young Jordanian artist Idreesi, while Basel Naouri was responsible for the sound design and production. "Biban" draws inspiration from Bedouin language and the melodic patterns of traditional Khaliji music, capturing the elusive nature of personal growth, which proves challenging to capture and define. Mohammad Abdallah and Idreesi © oomerak Enhancing Abdallah's poetic vocals influenced by Bedouin culture,

Challenging Patriarchal Norms: A Film Review of 'Inshallah A Boy'

Empowering Resilience: Inshallah A Boy A film review by Dr. Ramzi Salti, Stanford University In the first-ever Jordanian film to be showcased at Cannes,  Inshallah A Boy إن شاء الله ولد director Amjad Al Rasheed explores the struggles of a widow as she confronts oppressive patriarchal laws. According to certain Jordanian laws, if a woman does not have a son, her husband's family is entitled to a portion of the inheritance. This premise sets the stage for Nawal (played by Mouna Hawa), who, recently widowed, finds herself entangled in a legal battle with her brother-in-law, Rifqi (portrayed by Haitham Omari). Her primary goal is to retain the only home she and her daughter have known. In her fight against the system, Nawal resorts to deceit by fabricating a pregnancy, a ploy aimed at postponing the court proceedings for nine months in the hopes of potentially bearing a male heir. Inspired by the real-life experiences of a close relative of the director, Inshallah A Boy  delivers a p

Daughters of Abdul Rahman: Film Screening at Stanford ft Discussion with Director (June 28, 2023)

  Click here for details and to RSVP You are formally invited to a free film screening of the award winning Jordanian film Daughters of Abdul Rahman at Stanford on June 28 at 5pm--followed by an in-person discussion with the Director Zaid Abu Hamdan, moderated by Stanford Lecturer Dr. Ramzi Salti. With thanks to the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies and Stanford Global Studies Division Please RSVP through the "Registration Link" on this site: Film trailer for Daughters of Abdul Rahman.  RSVP here .

"Hanging Gardens" Film Explores Themes of War and Madness

Fragile Realities: Children, War, and Madness in "Hanging Gardens" A film review by Dr. Ramzi Salti (Stanford University) Hanging Gardens [Arabic title Janain mualaqa جنائن معلقة] is a is a 2022 comedy-drama film co-written and directed by Ahmed Yassin Al Daradji. It is an Iraqi-Palestinian-Saudi Arabian-Egyptian-British co-production that has received much attention at Cannes 2023 after winning the Best Film Award at the Red Sea Film Festival (a film festival launched in 2019 and held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia). This film takes viewers on a gripping journey as a young Iraqi rubbish picker stumbles upon an unexpected "treasure" amidst the Baghdad dumps—an American sex doll. What initially seems like a whimsical discovery quickly propels him into a perilous red zone, where friendships are shattered, allegiances become uncertain, and the line between love, war, and madness blurs. In this explosive mix of emotions, director Ahmed Yassin Al Daradji crafts a compelling n

Tunisian Film "Four Daughters" (Banat Olfa) Is a Hit at Cannes 2023

Banat Olfa : A Captivating Journey of Empowerment and Resilience A film review by Dr. Ramzi Salti, Stanford University Cinema has long served as a powerful medium to shed light on societal issues and ignite conversations about marginalized communities. Four Daughters  (Arabic title is Banat Olfa ) is an extraordinary film that emerges as a poignant exploration of the lives of Tunisian women, revealing their struggles, aspirations, and unwavering resilience. Directed by Kaouther Ben Hania, this thought-provoking work of art invites viewers to delve into the complexities of female experiences in contemporary Tunisia. Through its engaging narrative and masterful storytelling, the film offers a compelling depiction of women's empowerment and their quest for freedom. Set against the backdrop of present-day Tunisia, Banat Olfa follows the journey of Olfa, a young woman from a modest background who finds herself entangled in the webs of human trafficking. The film introduces viewers to O

New Book about Jawdat Haydar by Ibtissam Kahale

Inspirations from Jawdat R Haydar : A Poetic Journey into Timeless Themes A book review by Dr. Ramzi Salti, Stanford University Introduction:  Ibtissam T. Kahale, a renowned professor of English Literature and a talented writer herself, has just released her latest book titled Inspirations from Jawdat Haydar . This exceptional collection pays homage to the esteemed poet Jawdat Haydar and explores the profound impact of his works on literature, society, and human consciousness. With this book, Kahale aims to introduce readers to the visionary world of Jawdat Haydar's poetry, unraveling universal themes and inviting contemplation on life, love, humanity, and the mysteries that surround us. The Eminent Poet:  Kahale begins her introduction by recounting her personal encounter with Jawdat Haydar at a tribute event held at UNESCO. She vividly describes the sight of the ninety-year-old poet, radiating elegance and piety as he recited his verses with an overwhelming voice. Haydar's po

Mayssa Karaa Releases Arabic Version of "My Favorite Things"

Lebanese American singer Maysaa Karaa has just released an uplifting Arabic version of the song "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music , complete with lush orchestration and a gorgeous video clip which includes the lyrics in both English and Arabic. You can watch the video clip below or at this link .  The track, titled "El Adar Byekhtar/ القدر بيختار" [literal translation is "Destiny Chooses"], offers a distinctly Arabic feel without losing the sense of optimism and glee that characterizes the original English version.  Such  musical perfection is largely due to famed Jordanian musician/violinist Yarub Smarait who mixed, arranged and produced the track in a way that highlights Mayssa's vocal acrobatics and style.  The Arabic lyrics by  Ahmad Abdul Nabi, Mayssa Karaa, and Najwa Karaa are quite original and, thankfully, do not attempt to simply translate the original lyrics but rather readapt them to new audiences.  Adding to the splendor of it al

All 400+ Arabology episodes now available on all music platforms

See In addition to being housed on Soundcloud , all Arabology episodes are now available on music platforms worldwide including Spotify , Apple Podcasts , Anghami . Amazon Music and more.  Click  here to listen, follow and share or simply stream via Soundcloud below without leaving this page. Stream all episodes right here via the 2 playlists below: Playlist of all 200+ episodes Playlist of all 200+ interviews arabology · All Arabology Podcasts arabology · 100+ Arabology Interviews by Dr. Ramzi Salti Arabology is also available on Anghami at this link  (or click on image below): For Arabology on Amazon Music: Click here . See here for list of most available music platforms

Jordanian Film Broaches Transgender Issues in the Arab World

Our Males and Females   وذكرنا وانثانا is a powerful short film from Jordan which boldly broaches issues that relate to the suffering of transgender individuals in the Arab world as they struggle to live--and die-- within/without the confines of certain religious rituals and traditions which have no place for them.   The plot is so powerful and timely that it may disturb and haunt many viewers long after the film is done: The story revolves around a couple that is faced by the painful task of washing and shrouding their deceased transgender daughter-- a theme that will undoubtedly prove to be too controversial to screen in many Arab countries where issues of gender and religion are just beginning to fuel a much needed discourse that centers on marginalized sexualities in the Arab world.   It is also worthy to note that the Director (Ahmad Alyaseer) and his sister Rana have been quite candid about the fact that this film was inspired by Bousi, a real-life "transgender woman from th

UK Musical Events by Hamza Namira, Tootard, Massar Egbari

TootArd (above left), Hamza Namira, Massar Egbari will perform in UK If you are (or plan to be) in the UK over the next months, then you will not want to miss these events: More info + tickets for events below at this link  (courtesy of MARSM UK). MASSAR EGBARI IN LONDON (May 20, 2023): Massar Egbari, the iconic rock band formed in 2005, has taken the Arabic music scene by storm with their music and thought-provoking lyrics, attracting new audiences wherever they perform. Their unique edge lies in their ability to blend progressive tunes with lyrics that address universal complex topics. This distinctive quality is rooted in their intriguing and diverse music, characters, and backgrounds. TOOTARD IN LONDON (May 23, 2023): TootArd (Arabic for Strawberries) is a “quarter-tone pop” band from the majestic mountainside village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights. This inventive duo of brothers – Hasan and Rami Nakhleh – return with an infectious re-imagining of their sound. Jammed full of

Amreeka: The Comedy Show Is Coming to San Francisco on May 12

The West Coast Premiere of  Amreeka: The Comedy Show  will take place for ONE NIGHT ONLY on  Friday, May 12, at 8:00 PM at Brava Theater Center in San Francisco.  The program is curated by Golden Thread's Iraqi-American Artist-in-residence Wafaa Bilal  and features headliner Palestinian-Kuwaiti Eman El-Husseini , Bengali-American Usama Siddiquee , and Native American Jackie Keliiaa , with African American Charles McBee as Emcee. The show was born after the 2016 election, bringing together diverse comedians with one thing in common: they love to complain. Then and since, the toxic culture and politics in “Amreeka,” as some Middle Easterners playfully pronounce it, offer ample fodder for complaints. This cathartic and witty venting holds a mirror up to reality showing it has become so absurd and surreal, one must laugh, if not cry. For more info and tickets, see this link .

Elyanna Becomes First Artist to Sing in Arabic at Coachella

   Coachella is one of the most popular music festivals in the world, and this year's event was no exception. With over 100,000 people attending each day, it's not surprising that there were some incredible performances and standout moments. One of those moments came from the up-and-coming artist, Elyanna. In addition to her incredible musical talent, it's also worth noting that Elyanna comes from a unique and diverse background. She is of Palestinian Chilean origin and often incorporates her heritage into her music. During her set at Coachella, Elyanna spoke about her identity and how it influences her music. She shared that her Palestinian and Chilean roots have inspired her to create music that tells stories and sheds light on issues that are important to her. Another remarkable aspect of Elyanna's performance at Coachella was that she was the first artist to sing in Arabic at the festival. This is a significant achievement and a powerful statement, considering the l

Chicago Premiere of Omar Offendum's 'Little Syria ' in May 2023

Chicago folks shouldn't miss this powerful musical performance on May 12 & 13 at the Old Town School of Folk Music. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit this  LINK . Little Syria , the latest work by Omar Offendum, takes place in the Lower Manhattan neighborhood formerly known as Little Syria between 1880 and 1940. This neighborhood was a vibrant cultural center for Arab immigrants in New York and home to notable artists and intellectuals such as Ameen Rihani and Kahlil Gibran. Offendum's performance combines hip-hop, Arabic instrumentation, and ḥakawātī oral storytelling traditions of the Levant to recreate life in the early 20th-century within a bustling urban community. Offendum, originally from Syria but based in Los Angeles, is accompanied by oud virtuoso Ronnie Malley and DJ/Beatmaker Thanks Joey who is based in Brooklyn. Together, they offer a creative retelling of a historically underrepresented narrative through their music. Below is video fea

New Book and Documentary about Fairuz (April 2023) وطن اسمه فيروز

  E-Book available for free (see below) To celebrate Fairuz's 88th year, thirty-five writers from different Arab countries have published a book about the phenomenon of the legendary Lebanese singer who still resides in Lebanon today. Titled A Homeland Named Fairouz , the book is accompanied by a video  that connects the articles along with an eloquent narration and stunning digital editing. You can order a free electronic copy of the book (300+ Pages) from مؤسّسة الفكر العربي Arab Thought Foundation or at .  The video is available below or on YouTube at For more info about this project (in English) see THIS LINK وطنٌ اسمه فيروز  "وطنٌ اسمه فيروز" مؤسّسة الفكر العربي تطلق إصداراً خاصّاً من "أفق" احتفاءً بمسيرة فيروز الفنّية الاستثنائيّة وتراث الرحابنة الإبداعي في عملٍ جماعيٍّ هو الأوّل من نوعه، تطلّ مؤسسة الفكر العربي على العالم المدهش لأيقونة غنّت وطناً.  هو لبنان والعالم العربيّ والعالم المثا

Poetic Wisdom by Shawkat El-Haj Ibrahim خواطر بقلم شوكت الحاج ابراهيم

We are honored to share this selection of inspirational quotes--in Arabic and English--by Shawkat El-Haj Ibrahim who has kindly given us permission to publish them here while retaining the copyrights.  Should you wish to publish or discuss these works, please contact the writer directly at    BIO: The writer, Shawkat El-Haj Ibrahim, is a successful businessman, thinker, and poet born in Beirut, Lebanon where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Studies with emphasis on Management Studies from the Lebanese American University in 1982. He later immigrated to the United States, settled in California, and worked in several US Banks specializing in mortgage banking and real estate services. In 2001 he started a venture by opening the doors to the two entities: North America Mortgage and North America Real Estate. His intellectual and literary journey began as he thought about knowledge throughout his life, exploring various cultural and educational fields.

Arabology Podcast (March 2023) Ft Indie Female Singers, Ode to Fathers and More

  Listen to this podcast at The second episode of the 14th season of Arabology  aired on March 10, 2023 and featured new indie music by groundbreaking Arab artists, including an ode to reigning female singers, heartfelt song tributes to fathers, and the radio premiere of fresh releases by Tootard, Hawa Dafi and many others.  Listen here and see Playlist below. Listen to this podcast below or at arabology · Arabology 14.2 [Women in Indie Arabic Music, Ode to Fathers and More] This episode featured songs by Tootard, Ghazall, Hawa Dafi, Kazdoura, BiGSaM & Siilawy, El Far3i, Autostrad, Emsallam, Borhan, Reina Khoury, Hana Malhas, Noel Kharman, Fawz Shocair, Abo El Anwar, Shi'rap, The Synaptik, Hosam Omran & Nada Abo Treka, Tamer Nafar and Omar Offendum. Podcast also spotlighted instrumentals and mixes by Maxi 45 Records, Timothy Maloof, Suad Bushnaq, DJ Laith, Dina Madi and Fady D.

EBook Version of Ramzi Salti's "The Native Informant" available on Google Play and Kindle

After all these years, the eBook version of Ramzi Salti's collection of short stories, The Native Informant and Other Stories  is finally available on Google Play and on Kindle . Google Play: Kindle: About the Book The Native Informant & Other Stories: Six Tales of Defiance from the Arab World is a collection of six short stories dealing with "unmentionable" aspects of Arab life in parts of the Arab world and in the West. Inspired by such modern writers as Alifa Rifaat, Nawal al-Sadawi, and Youssef Idris--authors who have, despite immeasurable odds, managed to emphasize subjects ranging from feminism to postcolonialism in their works--these short stories attempt to further engage various social and political issues that remain, for the most part, largely ignored or silenced in modern Arabic literature. Most of the stories in The Native Informant & Other Stories op

Tannourine Lecture by Ramzi Salti Highlights Trends in Lebanese Music (Complete Recording)

Watch video at Stanford Lecturer + Arabology Radio Host Dr. Ramzi Salti highlighted groundbreaking trends in Lebanese music--from Fairuz to Mashrou Leila--during an LAU/WLCU sponsored talk on Feb 11, 2023 at Tannourine Restaurant in San Mateo, California. You can watch the video below or at  THIS LINK . LECTURE VIDEO CHAPTERS (with time) 1.  Intro by Hana Rustom Archbold (00:01)  2.  Ramzi Salti's Intro to Lebanese music (03:15)  3.  Fairuz (Fayrouz) فيروز (11:18) 4 4.  Talia Lahoud (14:43) تاليا لحود   5.  Tania Kasis (17:13) تانيا قسيس 6.  Mike Massy (21:36) مايك ماسي  7.  Yasmine Hamdan (24:55) ياسمين حمدان  8.  Tania Saleh (29:23) تانيا صالح  9.   Zeid Hamdan (31:10) زيد حمدان 10 10. Fareeq El Atrash (35:00) فريق الأطرش  11. Abeer Nehme (38:39) عبير نعمة   12. Mashrou Leila (41:31) مشروع ليلى 13. Q & A (47:18)  14. Closing remarks (1:02:19)  With special thanks to LAU/WLCU for making this event possible. CLICK HERE TO WATCH FULL VIDEO OF LECTU

Ramzi Salti Interviews Zaid Abu Hamdan, Director of "Daughters of Abdul-Rahman"

Watch the interview at Check out Dr. Ramzi Salti's interview with Jordanian Director Zaid Abu Hamdan whose award winning film Daughters of Abdul-Rahman has been hailed as one of the most groundbreaking films to come out of the Arab word in recent years. The interview was recorded in February 2023. Watch below or at During this interview, the famed Director speaks about each of the movie's 4 female actors--Saba Mubarak, Farah Bsieso, Hanan Hillo and Mariam Basha--as well as the groundbreaking themes that his film tackles.   The interview also includes a discussion of Abu Hamdan's gem of a short film "Bahiya and Mahmoud" which was released in 2010. يمكنكم الآن مشاهدة مقابلتي الجديدة مع زيد أبو حمدان مخرج الفلم الأردني (بنات عبد الرحمن) عبر هذا الرابط .

Dr. Ramzi Salti's Arabology Show Spotlights Best Arabic Songs of 2021-22

Listen at this link Dr. Ramzi Salti’s Arabology radio show is back after a 2-year hiatus with a new episode which highlights the best indie Arabic songs of 2021-22.  The episode aired in February 2023 and can be enjoyed here . To hear the latest podcast, please listen below or at this link: arabology · Arabology 14.1 [Best Alternative/Indie Arabic Songs of 2021-22] Playlist and Artist Info for Arabology 14.1 1.  Shkoon -- Lala (single) The German Syrian band Shkoon released their long-awaited debut album “Rima” in December 2019, followed by a huge album tour. Their music is a message for cultural diversity.  But the band is more than a German Syrian live act with Arabic lyrics. In addition to their own lyrics, the band is using old traditional music elements of Syrian folklore along with occidental electronic beats.  Band members are Ameen Khayer and German producer Thorben Diekmann and violinist Maher