Different Sounds from Arabia

I first read about Tania Saleh on a Jordanian blog. Tania is a young Lebanese singer and composer, who studied arts and music in France. What makes Tania different? It is her devotion to music as a pure form of art and not some kind of business. And this is why you will never see her on Melody or Mazzika. It is because she is not a part of the mainstream, which is filled with crap by the likes of Haifaa and Marwa. Tania belongs to a small group of Arab artist such as Oumaima Al Khaleel, Jahida Wehbe, and May Nasr (if you know more examples please do tell in the comments) who represent an alternative genre of music than what is available to the public.

I will not be surprised if this was the first time you read about any of these artists as the Arab media do not have space for people like those. I’ve been listening to Tania and Oumaima quite a lot in the past two weeks, and nobody, nobody around me had the slightest idea who they were. When people who consider themselves music-savvy asked me about them, their immediate reaction would be: and how come I never heard of them? I had a really hard time trying to explain to these people what does it mean to be out of the mainstream, and to be honest I did not had much success in that regard.

Do listen to these artists, at least for a change, and if you had a chance to attend a concert for any of them, do not miss it. Those of you living in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria have a better chance to see such artists performing in concerts, while for us in the Gulf listening to their CDs should be good enough for the time being.

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14 thoughts on “Different Sounds from Arabia

  1. living in dubai, i had never heard of her…even dubai is indulging in crass commercialism and refuse to bring to forefront artists like tania….
    mansur

  2. Tania Saleh is fantastic. She started her career at Future TV as a graphic artist (remember the Nos Daqiqa breaks?) and left to pursue a career as a singer, among other things. She has a great voice and I am sorry she is not well known in the region. I listen to her lone album all the time. I am glad you blogged about her.

  3. I am glad you posted on this. I got into Oumaima in 2001 when I downloaded some music of hers on “Audio Galaxy.”

    She has a great voice. My favorite by her is “Asfour”.

  4. I talked to Farah a week or two ago. She decided to take a break from blogging and might start up a new blog later.

    Those of us who blog know how it can be a love-hate relationship.

    I hope she comes back in the future. She gave a great face to Saudi bloggers.

  5. Oh, and if you want something out of the mainstream, try Natacha Atlas.

    She sings in Arabic mostly, but also in French, English and Spanish. She doesnt get much airplay. I think I heard her one in the Gulf, that was it.

    To me she is the best Arabic singer out there at the moment.

    You can listen to the entirety of her new album on line here:

    http://www.mish-maoul.com/

  6. Riyadhawi, I don’t know. I found her album online, but unfortunately I can’t find the link now. Will email it to you if I found it. Usually you won’t find such albums in recordings stores around here.

  7. you might well like the music of Palestinian singer Reem Kelani, http://www.reemkelani.com
    Reem’s first CD, Sprinting Gazelle, was released in the UK earlier this year, and it had a v positive reception in the mainstream and music specialist press and has had quite a bit of airplay (esp on BBC) in the UK and elsewhere. This is a real achievement, especially for an album by a Palestinian that was recorded and released independently, without the placing power marketing muscle of one of the dominant recording companies. CD can be ordered from her website, if not available locally. The booklet with the album is itself a work of art, with full lyrics in Arabic and English and detailed background to each track and info on Palestinian music. Some of the music is Reem’s setting of poems by eg Mahmoud Darwish, Rashid Husain, Salma Khadra Jayyusi and Mahmoud Salim al-Hout.Others are workings of traditional Palestinian songs.

  8. Ahmed, I know I’m late, (as usual) but what about Kamilya Jubran?

    Her material is a bit too artsie fartsie at times but I found it beautiful and oddly refreshing.

    I especially liked the song
    نحن أهل الشاطئ الآخر

    For more information, go here:
    http://www.kamilyajubran.com

    ps: shout out to my girl moi. mwaah, dear.

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