Saturday, June 16, 2007

Lebanese singer Ghada Shbeir wins BBC Radio 3 World Music Award for Middle East/North Africa

I had never heard of Ghada Shbeir until Hisham told me about her yesterday. I've been agonizing over the news from Lebanon, so it was very cheering to have some good news from there. I urge you to watch (or listen) to Ghada Shbeir's 30+ minute concert on the BBC website (scroll down to get to it). Ghada Shbeir performs some of the best "classical" Arabic music I've heard in a long time, mostly Andalusian muwashshahat. The title of her solo album, not yet widely available as far as I can tell, is Al Muwashahat. Shbeir is also a featured vocalist on the album Crossroads of the Mediterranean, by Constantinople. I'm only just downloading it from, where you can listen to samples.

Another winner (in the Culture Crossing category) at the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards is Maurice el Medioni, the celebrated Algerian Jewish pianist, who specializes in Orani boogie woogie. You can watch/hear him at the same website.

Not that this fabulous music in any way "compensates" for the dreadful situation in Lebanon, or the Middle East in general, but at least it offers a break....

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