Music, like proverbs, is the mirror of a culture. The aim of this series if to take you around the world in music, to help you discover authentic melodies, foreign cultures and ultimately, to let you in my musical world.
The Middle East is a broad term but in today’s mix, I have included Armenia, Turkey, Palestine AND Israel and finally, Lebanon.
What to expect? Mostly instrumental sounds, atmospheric and nostalgic. Oriental trills, some a little more modern than others. Melodies that takes you on a journey, from the South Caucasus Mountains all the way to the Mediterranean Bassin with the likes of Lebanon and Palestine (you can guess my political views).
Let’s kick it off with an artist I have featured in several posts before. If you haven’t yet, I’d like you to meet Levon Minassian, French doudouk player of Armenian heritage.
Here’s another taste of Armenia with more of a Turkish influence : Arto Tunçboyaciyan.
Let’s move on to Turkey with film score composer Toygar Isikli. I first discovered Isikli while watching one of the (soap) TV shows he composed for and have love him ever since.
If I had to pick a favourite, it would have to be the score from Dudaktan Kalbe and particularly this melody:
For a broader taste, listen to this playlist.
Travelling further East… I was introduced to Le Trio Joubran by my 3rd year uni flatmate who was Palestinian. An Oud trio playing traditional Palestinian music, the three brothers are quite something. Without further ado…
When it comes to Israli music, I have a particular preference for Yemenite Jewish music and here is an interesting playlist put together on SoundCloud by Sonokinetic.
Last but not least, I want to take you to a country very dear to me – Lebanon. My best friend is Lebanese and as mentioned in a previous post, she is my pride and joy. I want to introduce you to Mashrou’ Leila, a Lebanese alternative rock band sometimes translated as Leila’s Project. The following song is by far my favourite.
BONUS ROUND goes to Lebanese-born Ibrahim Maalouf, a true revelation in the world of film scores but also oriental music. I noticed his wonderful soundtrack in the biographical drama film Yves Saint Laurent so here it is, a pleasure for the ears.
Before you go, have a wander through Eastern Europe and listen to traditional Bulgarian music or indulge in beautiful Russian balalaikas.
Any favourites this time around?
Which culture would you like to discover next?