Dossier: Musical Worlds

Simin Tander (photo: simintander.com)

The German-Afghan jazz singer Simin Tander

An unknown homeland

Simin Tander has undertaken a musical journey to her roots and to herself. The means of transport are varied: poems in Pashto, English and French, a jazz quartet and a finely nuanced, expressive alto voice. The destination is an exceptional album that transcends the boundaries between jazz, singer-songwriting and world music. Simin Tander's new album impresses listeners with its deep sensitivity and disarming honesty. By Stefan FranzenMore

Quraishi (photo: Evergreene Music)

Album review: "Mountain Melodies" by Quraishi

Keeping the voice of Afghanistan alive

Despite the beauty of Afghan rubab music, it is not well known outside the country and, according to Richard Marcus, infrequently heard inside Afghanistan too. On his new album, "Mountain Melodies", the Afghan-born rubab player Quraishi shares the austere beauty and intricacy of this music and demonstrates his virtuosityMore

Cigdem Aslan (photo: Handan Erek)

Portrait: the singer Cigdem Aslan

Songs of the outcasts

Rebetiko is a musical genre that describes the emotionally charged songs of Greeks who were expelled from Turkey in the wake of the population exchange of 1923. Cigdem Aslan, a young Kurd from London, lends her powerful voice to the stories behind these songs. By Marian BrehmerMore

Aziza Brahim at the 15th Malaga Spanish Film Festival, in Malaga, Spain, 24 April 2012 (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Aziza Brahim's CD "Soutak"

Music of beauty from a barren land

Relatively few people will have been familiar with the music, culture and history of the Sahrawi people of north-western Africa before Aziza Brahim arrived on the music scene. Brahim has not only won an award for her original soundtrack to the film "Wilaya", she has also released three albums. Her latest album, "Soutak", spent three months at the top of the World Music Charts Europe in 2014. A review by Richard MarcusMore

German pianist Davide Martello is surrounded by anti-government protesters as he performs in Istanbul's Taksim Square on 13 June 2013 (photo: Reuters)

Tahrir and Taksim – Part II

Soundtrack of two revolutions

Tahrir and Taksim: two squares, one new culture of protest? In the second part of this two-part report, Amin Farzanefar looks at the how street art, music and film became essential parts of the new protest cultureMore

Performance of Marc Sinan's "Dede Korkut" (photo: Thomas Aurin)

Interview with the composer Marc Sinan

A modern-day Bartók of Turkic music

Dede Korkut, the best-known of the epic stories of the Oghuz Turks, and the music that goes with it form the basis of Marc Sinan's new docu-fictional musical theatre production, "Dede Korkut – The Story of Tepegoz". Astrid Kaminski spoke to the composerMore

Mohammad-Reza Shajarian (centre) performing on stage with the Shahnaz Ensemble in Dubai in February 2011 (photo: AP)

Music and power in Iran

An instrument of propaganda and control

In her essay, Maria Koomen examines the important role played by music in the history of Iran, in particular since the Islamic revolution of 1979More

Bandista in concert at the SO36 in Berlin (photo: Ceyda Nurtsch)

The Turkish music collective Bandista

"Every resistance movement has its own voice"

The music collective Bandista combines ska, dub and ethno sounds with a left-wing political message. With their catchy melodies and rhythms, they have become an essential part of street protests in Turkey. By Ceyda NurtschMore

Shahram Nazeri (source: MEHR)

Iranian musician Shahram Nazeri

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The Persian nightingale and the flowers of hope

Shahram Nazeri is the undisputed master of setting Rumi's poetry to music. At a recent concert in Teheran, the renowned musician sang his audience into a state of ecstasy and gave voice to the Iranians' hopes for a brighter cultural future. After several barren years, the cultural scene is indeed showing tentative signs of change. By Massoud SchiraziMore

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

Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam & Barbad Project im Rahmen des New Sounds of Iran Festivals 2013; Foto: DW/S. Kasraeian

"New Sounds of Iran"

Busting Geographical and Cultural Boundaries

Traditional Persian classical music enjoys an almost unassailable status in Iran – in contrast to the country's rather disreputable but creative underground scene. The "New Sounds of Iran" Festival shows how the two apparently conflictive genres can be combined. Amin Farnanefar reports on the event and new trends in Iranian musicMore

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

Aynur Doğan (photo: aynurdogan.net)

Interview with the Kurdish Singer Aynur Doğan

Resisting the Wind

Aynur Doğan sings in Turkish and Kurdish, the political tone of her songs is deliberately provocative. Her last album "Rewend" focuses on itinerancy and connection to the homeland. Marian Brehmer spoke to herMore

Interview with Choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

"I Don't Mix Cultures, I Translate"

In his work, the Belgian-Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui combines elements from different cultures, religions and styles. In this interview with Ceyda Nurtsch, he explains how his Moroccan roots influence his perception of aesthetics and speaks about the role of art in the Arab SpringMore

Davide Martello playing his piano in Taksim Square, Istanbul (photo: Reuters)

The Piano Man of Taksim Square

Playing for Peace

Davide Martello was on a world tour with his custom-built electric piano when he made a spontaneous decision to play Istanbul's Taksim Square. His music became the soundtrack of the Turkish protests. He has since continued his tour with a new message: peaceMore

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