Musical notes

1. Notes from Palestine is a blog and video documentary project following a group of Palestinian musicians teaching music in the West Bank. Through that, it explains a lot of the restrictions imposed by the occupation, from the wall to ever-expanding settlements, as well as the difficult choices the musicians must make to follow their calling. Below is the latest video installment in the series, which is being filmed by Finnish researcher Eero Mäntymaa.

A place to call home from eero mäntymaa on Vimeo.

2. Lately I have been obsessed with this great early/mid seventies track by the virtuoso Egyptian guitarist Omar Khorshid, who played in Abdel Halim Hafez's and Oum Kulthoum's orchestras as well as his own band.

Here's the track, which is a kind of psychedelic funk meets Arabica:

Rakset al-Fadaa

That album cover comes from a recent compilation by the fantastic label Sublime Frequencies (which also put the great Omar Suleiman we mentioned before) which is reviewed here.

3. On a different register, I never listened much to Natalie Merchant, but came across her latest collections of songs based on children's nursery rhymes at the TED podcast. I really like this one:

The Sleepy Giant 

Do watch the TED podcast which had that song and other great performances:

4. Shaaban Abdel Rahim is really getting rather tiresome and unimaginative, but here is his latest track for the return of Hosni Mubarak.

 Welcome Back Mr President

 

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.