Egypt’s government is waging a war on independent music, using legal penalties to bully artists who don’t conform to its often unwritten rulebook. Under ballooning restrictions, the country is losing its once-revered place as the Arab world’s cultural powerhouse.
He was deeply saddened by the destruction that had befallen the Citadel of Aleppo in recent years, privately mourning the loss of the amphitheater and the old market of Aleppo that launched his career, for Aleppo remained a jewel in his heart until his dying breath.
A romantic song has captivated audiences across the Balkans, the Middle East and as far away as Japan. But despite its themes of love and longing, it has been hijacked by nationalists determined to make political mischief out of a search for its origins.
The exhibition at IMA shines the spotlight on women who are not as well remembered as Umm Kulthum, such as the beloved star of Egyptian musicals, Laila Mourad, who was Jewish, or Warda, who was born in Paris of Algerian parents and began singing in her parents’ cabaret.
I was spending hours alone with my thoughts, ever since a gang of pirates kidnapped me from a car outside the dusty crossroads town of Galkacyo, in central Somalia, during a reporting trip in 2012. The mystery of this song became an obsession.
Alex Skolnick is a virtuoso musician best known as the lead guitarist for thrash legends Testament and his own jazz trio. When he started weighing in on politics, he was told to “shut up and play your guitar.” In an essay for Newlines, he writes about the responsibility of artists in a time of political turmoil.