Dossier: Arab Music

Anouar Brahem (photo: Przemek Wozny)

The Tunisian oud player Anouar Brahem

Remembering turmoil

Anouar Brahem, perhaps Tunisia's best-known musician, recently brought his latest work to the stage and surprised the audience with his musical interpretation of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011. By Sarah MerschMore

Yasmine Hamdan (photo: Nadim Asfar)

Interview with Yasmine Hamdan

"I Am a Nomad"

Yasmine Hamdan is a rising star on the alternative electro-pop scene in Lebanon. In her solo debut album "Ya Nass", she has given classical Arabic music a modern twist. An interview by Juliane MetzkerMore

Raid Yosif (photo: private copyright)

Iraqi Pop Music

Raid Yousif – A Superstar in Limbo

After fleeing his native Iraq and settling in Germany, Raid Yousif is devoting himself to developing his music career. Despite setbacks, he's intent on breaking new ground. Eike Rüdebusch reportsMore

Akram at the Morgenland Festival in Osnabrück (photo: Morgenland-Festival)

Oriental Music Festival in Germany

The Silenced Sounds of Baghdad

Osnabrück's Morgenland Festival in Germany has been setting standards in the eastern music world since 2005. This year, the event focused on Baghdad, once the cradle of Oriental cultural life. Marian Brehmer reportsMore

The Pan-Arab Youth Orchestra in concert in Berlin (photo: Kai Bienert/Young Euro Classic)

Pan-Arab Youth Orchestra

Music to Combat Hopelessness

The world's only pan-Arab youth orchestra met in Berlin to make music together. But the young musicians also discussed the situation in their home countries – politics, hopes and fears. Peter Zimmermann reportsMore

Youssra El Hawary and her band members Sedky Sakhr and Shady el Hosseiny (photo: Bashir Wagih)

Interview with Youssra El Hawary

Music of a Quiet Revolution

In the wake of Egypt's Revolution, Youssra El Hawary suddenly came to fame with her song about a wall, "El Soor". Despite her insistence that she is non-political, her music is – in a quiet and unobtrusive way – unique and revolutionary. Marian Brehmer met the artist in BerlinMore

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (center) attended a performance of his own opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail while visiting Berlin in 1789 (photo: Wikipedia)

Islam in European Classical Music


As-salam alaykum Resounding from the Minaret

We cannot say precisely when the musical penetration of East and West began, but one thing is certain: composers like Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and others could not resist the fascination of the Orient. Thus elements of Turkish music, Persian poetry and Arabic storytelling found their way straight to the heart of European culture. By Nadja KayaliMore

Sama al-Masri (photo: dpa/picture-alliance)

Freedom of Speech in Egypt

Belly Dancer Exposes Islamists' Double Standards

Tweaking the Islamists' noses: In her music videos, Egyptian belly dancer Sama al-Masri pours derision on the Muslim Brotherhood. Now she may face trial for insulting Islam. Markus Symank reports from CairoMore

Poster for the Dance Festival on Marche in Marrakesh

The ''On Marche'' Festival in Marrakesh

The Ethic of Dance Is a Shock for Many

The eighth contemporary dance festival "On Marche" is taking place in Marrakesh this year. In spite of the fact that there is still considerable resistance to the idea of dance, the festival still manages to turn public places into open stages which are enthusiastically received by the public. By Astrid KaminskiMore

Members of the Khat Thaleth project in Beirut (photo: PR/

The Arab Hip-Hop Sampler ''Khat Thaleth''

Looking for a Third Way

The hip-hop sampler Khat Thaleth is a compilation of the work of artists from across the Arab world. Contrary to what one might expect, although they rap about the revolution, they do not necessarily take the side of the rebels. Jannis Hagmann reportsMore

Dalia Moukarker (photo: Kate Hairsine)

The Palestinian flutist Dalia Moukarker

Bach in the West Bank

A young Palestinian flutist, who grew up without any classical training, has won a place at a prestigious German music school thanks to her own perseverance, and teachers and friends who believed in her talent. Kate Hairsine reportsMore

US-based Syrian pianist Malek Jandali poses for a picture at an art centre in Damascus on April 14, 2010 (photo: Getty Images)

Interview with the Syrian Composer-pianist Malek Jandali


''We are witnessing the fall of humanity''

Malek Jandali is considered to be among the most versatile and creative musicians in the Arab world. He has recently attracted widespread international attention for his strong stand against the Assad regime. Martina Sabra met the artist in the country of his birth, GermanyMore

LP cover of Nass El Ghiwane (source: Elektropeasant)

Nass El Ghiwane

Troubadours of the Old and New Morocco

For decades now, Nass El Ghiwane have fascinated audiences with their individual stylistic blend of Gnawa trance music and social protest songs. Their popularity is such that they've been dubbed the "Moroccan Beatles". Andreas Kirchgäßner profiles the groupMore

A djembe group performing at the Gnawa Festival in Essaouira (photo: © Karim Tibari/Festival d'Essaouira Gnaoua)

15th Gnawa Music Festival in Morocco

A Festival of Fusion

As dynamic as ever in its fifteenth year, the Gnawa and World Music Festival brings together Gnawa trance and the great performers of world music, jazz and pop in the picturesque and very windy city of Essaouira on Morocco's Atlantic coast. Andreas Kirchgäßner took in the atmosphereMore

Mahmoud Turkmani (photo: ©

Interview with the Lebanese Composer and Oud Player Mahmoud Turkmani

''I'm Way Beyond Any Categorization''

The 47-year-old musician and composer Mahmoud Turkmani was a highly accomplished oud player as a boy. As a young man, he rebelled against his upbringing and became a Communist. He left Beirut during the civil war and studied classical guitar at the Moscow Conservatory. From his adoptive home in Switzerland, he now enriches both Western and Eastern music with unorthodox works that fuse traditional and experimental elements and defy all categorization. Stefan Franzen met the artistMore

Poster of ''Tracks of Cairo'' (image: Movimientos)

The Film ''Tracks of Cairo''

An Audio Diary of the Revolution

In January 2011, the German filmmaker Alexander Brief set off for Cairo to document the city's current music scene together with the ethnologist Johannes Roskamm. Shortly after arrival, the first popular protests broke out on Tahrir Square. Quite unintentionally, "Tracks of Cairo" turned out to be a musical as well as political diaryMore