February 15, 2005

Robbo of Arabia

The soon-to-be-wall-to-wall-yapfest radio station just played the Air and Baccanale from Camille Saint-Saens' Samson and Delilah. It has a very Arabian sound.

I've always had a weak spot for music evocative of North Africa and the Middle East. This goes from the Moorish strains prevalent in a good bit of late 15th Century Spanish and Southern French music right through the "Turkish Band" effects used by Mozart and Haydn and on into the Romantic Age. And indeed, I've always loved film scores and the like that employ such music. Lawrence of Arabia is a gimme. But there are lots of others as well.

Dunno why I like this kind of music, considering how much I detest all things related to hot weather, except that it's probably a mystique thing, a chance to drop my cold, Scots stiffness for a while and indulge in some Romance.

Anyway, there you have it.

Posted by Robert at February 15, 2005 11:49 AM

Robert, are you familiar was Fado?

It's a Portuguese song form, heavily influenced by the Moorish culture that reigned in Iberia up to 1492. Most fado singers are female, though there are some great male singers, too.

A good place to start is with the popular Dulce Pontes... she's sort of modernized the classical forms, making it more accessible to younger audiences. Then you can move into the classics.

You might also look for some quwwali singing from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan. These take a couple of different forms, either a lead-response form (in the east) or choral work (in the west).

Some contemporary Turkish music is pretty decent, too, but it's a bit harder to dig it out from the Turkish pop/rap/punk that gets a lot of airplay and shelf-space.

But definitely lend an ear to fado.

Posted by: John at February 15, 2005 10:53 PM
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