The rise of Middle Eastern rural and folk music in the late 1990s is a fascinating story of a subculture reclaiming its prominence after being marginalized and policed by cultural gatekeepers for decades. This “creeping ruralism” also tracks with significant socioeconomic shifts in rural and suburban areas, reshaping the cultural landscape in unexpected ways.
As tributes to Sinead O’Connor flowed in, the question of music as a permissible artistic force in Muslim communities resurfaced — further inflamed by a recent Taliban attack on musicians in Afghanistan. Given the widespread dissemination of teachings condemning music, a reexamination of traditional Islamic scholarship’s approach is long overdue.
She could be the kind of Muslim she became only because she lived in a place with religious tolerance. It is doubtful that she would have liked the social conservatism of many Muslim societies. Had she grown up in one, she would have rebelled against it. In Iran, she would have burned the hijab.
Ahmad Jamal’s style was so formative to the development of jazz that Miles Davis once revealed that the Pittsburgh-born pianist, who died in April 2023 at the age of 92, was the source of all his inspiration. Thrumming below his success, though, was a distinctive part of his identity that is often treated as biographical trivia rather than a meaningful insight about art: his conversion to Islam.
“You want to write a piece that then lives on.” Tarik O’Regan joins New Lines magazine’s Lydia Wilson to talk about composing for Charles III’s coronation, the influence of rai and rock on his work and the close connection between music and memory.
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.