Mariam Sawires

Mariam Sawires: Arabic-Infused Jazz & Neo-Soul

Mariam Sawires

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“Sick of being tied to you / and I don’t even talk to you” is such a killer line. This and the rest of Mariam Sawires‘ beautiful singing elevates to something special when she switches from jazz lounge to Roots-like R&B that gradually crescendos into a climax colorful like the album cover. And this is just on one song – the rest of the album travels through different peaks and valleys of moods, all done well and all making me very excited for what Sawires has in store for us in the future.

From Bandcamp:

“Egyptian, born in Australia into a worldly, nomadic family of musicians artists originating in desert sands to urban landscapes worldwide. Mariam’s youth was inspired by the sweet lyrical high-pitched melodies of traditional Arabic songs, the rhythms created from the clay Darbuka of her father. Bringing her flavor of Arabic/Northern African infused Jazz/ NuSoul to Europe, Africa, USA, and Asia.”

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Sabir

Sabir: Performers of MDM – Middle Eastern Dance Music

Sabir

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Sabir plays sleek, Mediterranean dance-influenced My Morning Jacket, stripped-down, dance beat-heavy Tame Impala, or lively Israeli wedding music. Or all three. Or more. Take your pick. MDM (Middle Eastern Dance Music) can mean different sounds to each person and no one is wrong. This band doesn’t mind bending those rigid genres rules, and they’re all the better for it.

The band’s full-length debut is out September 9th.

From Bandcamp:

“סאביר صابر is an instrumental band of six, playing MDM – Middle eastern Dance Music. [Their] music is a mixture of original Mediterranean pieces with elements of rock, electro, and hip-hop.”

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Masters Of This Land

Masters Of This Land: “The soundtrack to the stories in your head”

masters of this land

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Amir and Youssef, two members of the Cairo post-rock band Go! Save The Hostages!, have started a new band called Masters Of This Land, a deeper dive into the “post” part of their music. And I really like it. At moments I feel like I’m listening to Explosions In The Sky, still with hints of the ambient punk from their former band.

The band’s self-titled EP was just released via the Egyptian Cyrdaeb Music label.

From Bandcamp:

 

“Debut EP by Go! Save The Hostages! members Amir and Youssef. Wanting to deviate from the typical rock band instrumentation established by GSTH, MOTL instead focuses on blending guitars and synthesizers, creating audio sculptures and soundscapes to write the soundtrack to the stories in your head.”

Masters Of This Land: Website Facebook Instagram Twitter SoundCloud

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Ecoute

Ecoute: a sketch of slow and melodic Israeli jazz

ecoute

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What starts out as slow, Sketches Of Spain-like jazz turns into a twisting dance of Arabic melodies and grooves. That is the power of Ecoute‘s music, aided by a whole string and horn section and Inbal Jamshid’s beautifully sung poetry.

Ecoute: Facebook SoundCloud

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Tarek Yamani

Tarek Yamani: Jazz and Afro-Tarab Pianist from Beirut

Tarek Yamani

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My mind draws a blank when it thinks of jazz in the Middle East. There aren’t too many names that stand out to me doing notable things in the genre outside the United States, though this has more to do with my own ignorance and bad luck. Lebanese pianist Tarek Yamani has changed that. Yamani, who now splits his time between New York and Dubai, uses jazz to, in his own words, explore the relationship between African-American jazz and Arabic rhythms and maqams.

Check out this great video via Your Middle East on how Yamani approaches jazz and songwriting.

From Facebook:

“Born and raised in Beirut, Tarek is an American-Lebanese award winning composer and a self-taught jazz pianist who got exposed to jazz around the age of 19. Since the release of his debut “Ashur” in 2012, Tarek has been dedicated to exploring relationships between African-American Jazz and Arabic rhythms/maqams which is most evident in his second album ‘Lisan Al Tarab: Jazz Conceptions in Classical Arabic'”

Tarek Yamani: Website Facebook Twitter

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El 3ou

El 3ou: traditional Algerian music with hints of trip-hop, jazz, and reggae

El 3ou

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Omar Siakhene, aka El 3ou, puts a new electro-pop remix spin on classic Algerian music. The touches of trip-hop, jazz, and reggae work to wonderful effect on these songs via this Boumerdes artist that you should know about.

El 3ou: Facebook SoundCloud

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Abdou El Omari & Naima Samih

Abdou El Omari & Naima Samih: Omari’s psychedelic organ plays with Arabic strings and rhythms to excellent results

Abdou El Omari & Naima Samih

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Another winner from Berlin’s Habibi Funk label is its Abdou El Omari & Naima Samih release from February. Omari’s psychedelic organ plays with Arabic strings and rhythms to excellent results, made better by Samih’s beautiful vocals.

From YouTube:

“First issue (LP+DL) of this previously unreleased Oriental psych monster from the organ king of Casablanca, combining traditional rhythms with spaced out modern sounds. Second part of Abdou El Omari’s Nuits-trilogy. This album contains heavenly compositions for the Moroccan diva Naima Samih and some moody instrumentals in a similar vein to the first album.”

Abdou El Omari & Naima Samih/ Habibi Funk: Facebook Twitter

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Avital Raz

Avital Raz: “Making people uncomfortable since 1996…”

Avital Raz

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When I listen to Avital Raz, I hear the traditional folk storytelling of artists like Bob Dylan with a modern twist and some dark humor. The Israeli singer-songwriter, now based in Sheffield, tells poignant stories with simple acoustic playing and some nice orchestral touches. Read up on her fascinating career so far here.

From Bandcamp:

“a vocal artist who travels across many genres. Her songs may resemble old English lute songs, Indian Classical Ragas, Cabaret, Blues or Eastern-European Jewish melodies. A multi-cultured get-together of many strange characters, all rolled up into one quirky singer-songwriter.”

Avital Raz: Website SoundCloud Facebook Twitter

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Luna Abu Nassar

Luna Abu Nassar: Dawame sounds like a dream both calming and sinister

Luna Abu Nassar

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Dawame, Luna Abu Nassar’s second album, sounds like a dream on the banks of a Tel Aviv river, with echoes of different voices and instruments coming in and out as sounds of nature set a calming scene. Her extra touches add a somewhat sinister, deep blue feel that’s very compelling. She could easily be one of the musical artists at the end of the new Twin Peaks episodes.

Luna Abu Nassar: Facebook YouTube

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ShellacHead

ShellacHead: dedicated to exploring world music from the 78 rpm era

ShellacHead

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ShellacHead is an Oakland-based label that reissues world music via 45s and 78s from Albania, the Persian Gulf, Sardinia, and more. Learn more here. The label’s 2015 The Lost 45s of Sudan collection is especially good.

From Bandcamp:

“[This] world music blog dedicated to 78 and 45 rpm records, is happy to present this compilation of incredibly rare tracks from Sudan’s “Golden Age” of recording, the 1960s-70s. A hypnotic blend of traditional Sudanese sounds with influences from abroad, these legendary artists thrived during this brief period until authoritarian Islamists brought the Golden Age to an abrupt end in the 1980s.”

ShellacHead: Website Facebook Twitter

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