Classical Arabic Music Necessary Listening: Repertoire series part 7

12:30 pm Arabic Music, Music

The series aims to acquaint the new comer to Arabic music with the Arabic repertoire is it is reflected in the records available for purchase. This distinction is important because Arabic music being an oral tradition, a vast amount of repertoire is not recorded, or is not readily available for purchase. A lot is available, however, to purchase over the web. I have made a conscious decision not to recommend stores on my blog so that it remains non-commercial and for a few other reasons as well.

Music of the Levantine

Sabah Fakhri

The tenor that has set the standard for singing traditional Muwashahat, Qudoud, Mawawil, and other classical forms. Although hundreds of his concerts were recorded, only few are available for purchase on CDs. Listening to Sabah Fakhri is important as a listening experience and is also the best educational approach to the traditional forms mentioned earlier. Of the five or so CDs that can be purchased in the west, all belong to your library. If new ones come out, those belong to your library as well.

Wadih Al-Safi (Also spelled as Wadee)

Yes, I could busy myself recommending songs by Wadih, but the truth is, a small fraction of his performances are available for purchase, perhaps 8 or so. I suspect that once you hear his voice and performance prowess, the expense will not seem so important.


Fairouz has for many years (her career is in its fifth decade) had a strong following of devoted fans and admirers. She has become the voice of Lebanon in the same way that Umm Kulthoum had for Egypt. She stands above the devisions and politics as the voice of Lebanon itself, ordinary people, the landscape, and the history. Dozens of her recordings are available. To weed through them, you might want to go to one of her many fan sites, get an idea about the recordings, their composers, and their period and chose a sampling that you feel represents them.

Marie Jubran
I strongly recommend trying to find some of the very few 1930s recordings of Marie Jubran. They represent turn of the century music sung so beautifully in the turn of the century vocal style of Marie Jubran.

More to come from the countries of the Levantine in the next post in this series..




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