When most people in the ‘West’ think of Arabic music, we tend to imagine the deep twanging sounds of the oud and the cliché oriental music of Hollywood films romanticising the ‘East’. Most people outside the Middle East and North Africa have no idea how varied Arabic really music is. It ranges from the old classics like Fairuz to the upbeat dance music out of the clubs of Beirut, and the more relaxed, hipster sounds of up-and-coming young artists bringing reggae, funk, blues and R&B vibes into the mix. If you’re interested in exploring Arabic music, these 7 Spotify playlists will get you well on your way with music for every occasion, from chilled out coffee hour tunes and upbeat workout songs to the perfect dinner and dance party soundtracks.
If you’re based in London, there are plenty of Middle East-focused events going on throughout November to keep you busy! Top picks: Levison Wood’s speaking tour on 11th – I caught his talk in Manchester and it was fascinating. Don’t miss his brand new book, Arabia! Jon Snow’s talk at UCL on 14th comes at a … Continue reading The Middle East in London: November events calendar
“Music gives me power, it gives me hope. It moves hearts… Strings have more power than bullets, stronger than bullets” – Masoud Buisir, the Troubadour of the Libyan revolution. You wouldn’t necessarily expect this statement to come out of Libya, a country that has been torn apart by revolution, counter-revolution, extremism and warring factions since … Continue reading Stronger Than Bullets: Music on the Frontlines of Libya’s Revolution
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve put together this list of 10 Middle Eastern women who are breaking barriers, shattering stereotypes and standing up for what they believe in. Prepare to be inspired... Masih Alinejad Masih Alinejad is an Iranian journalist, writer and women’s rights activist. In 2014, she launched the ‘My Stealthy Freedom’ movement, … Continue reading 10 badass Middle Eastern women you need to know about on International Women’s Day
Nestled in the old souq at the heart of the Lebanese seaside town of Batroun, an old house has been transformed into a beautiful guesthouse. With its minimalist and very “boho beautiful” interiors, which clash stylishly with the grand historical building, Villa Paradiso is the quintessential millennial getaway destination. (image: Lebanon Untravelled) Batroun is a … Continue reading Villa Paradiso – Lebanon’s best kept secret
By Sophia Furber Which city would you visit if you wanted to learn all about the art of bellydance? Cairo (obviously), Alexandria, Istanbul, Dubai and Beirut are the ones that would spring to mind. But London? Although many miles from the Middle East, London is a base for some of the world’s most celebrated bellydancers, … Continue reading Discover the world of bellydance in London
When leaving their homes, families and friends to escape war-torn countries, refugees take only what is most important to them. For Rami Basisah, this was his violin. He wrapped it in clingfilm, strapped it to his back and began his journey, which saw him cover 4,000 miles both by foot and by boat, crossing eight … Continue reading The refugee who fled Syria with nothing but a violin: Pink Jinn talks to Rami about his new album