05 June 2007

Distinct groups of Arab Music Genres

Once upon the time, I had a comment on one of my blogs from an American teacher requesting some Arab songs (specificlly folklore songs) for his students. I already know stuff about it but I thought to google it, I found nothing except short (mostley meaningless) comments in some forums. That's why I decided to blog some of what I know about it.

Almost all of Arab illegal music sites catogorize Arabic music into 4 or 5 distinct groups according to the singer's origin.
That could be great If you already know the singers nationalities but that would be totally meaningless If you know nothing about Arab music genres or singers.

Contemprary Arabic music could be catogorized into distinict groups according to the song's dialect or song's genre.

These names are not official but I will use them in my posts labels/tags.

Each group below consists of sub genres, I will not mention them all because I am not a music expert. I just wrote the ones below to let you know some basic information of contemporary Music in the Arab world.

Note. I will keep updating this post every now and then.

1. Grouping according to dialects

"Khaleeji" literally means "Gulfic" and it refers to music from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Oman .
Examples of "Khaleeji" music genres: "Samri", "Bahri", "Ekhbaiti", "Emrobi'e", "Classic"...Etc
Sometimes people includes Iraq and Yemen to "Khaleeji".

"Shami" and it refers to music from Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan. Example of "Shami" music genre: "Dabkah".
Sometimes people includes Iraq to "Shami".

"Iraqi" music, Personally I consider Iraqi music a separate group because they have their own unique dialect, rhythms and music instruments.

"Sharqi" and it refers to music from Egypt.Most of other Arab genres are heavily influenced with "Sharqi" music.
Example of "Sharqi" music genre: "Maqsoom".

"Magharibi" and it refers to music from Lybia, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Mauritania. Example of "Magharibi" music genre: "Rai" or "Raï".

2. Grouping according to music genres

This kind of music started in the 1980s by many Arab singers such As Latifa, Samira Said, Amr Diab and Raghib Allamah.
It's a mix of Arab and world's instruments, rhythms and beats.

"Ma Etrohsh Ba'ed" (Don't go away) by Latifa (لطيفة)
"Wallahi Ma Tahaddi" (I swear I am not challenging) by Asalah (أصالة)
"Laily" (My night) by Dania (دانية)
"Shofto Be Aini" (I saw him with my own eyes) by Latifa (لطيفة) a mix of Disco and Oriental rhythms.

ARAB TARAB was popular in the 1980s and earlier, this kind of songs are rarely performed by singers these days.
Tarab songs needs singers with powerful voices to perform them, they usually arranged using Arab Instruments only.
The Tarab songs usually have a long length, more than 10 minutes...Singers uses TARAB to show off their voices, they keep repeating the exact phrases differently each times.
Currently Asalah is the only one who perform this kind of genres (she perform the others genres too).

Example of "Khaleeji Tarab" music:
"Yis'ed Sabahak" (Good morning) by Asalah (أصالة)

It's a great way to deliver the feelings in the lyrics no matter what kind of feelings...
Despair, Romance, Melancholy, Longing, Missing...Etc
This is not an exclusive Arab Genre, but it's sometimes they mix it with Arab Instruments and that adds the Arab touch.

Examples of slow music:

"Inta Meen?" (Who are you?) by Angham (انغام)
"Betohashni" (I miss you) by Sherine (شيرين)
"Kefak?" (How are you?) by Baha'a (بهاء)
"Akdib" (I am lying) by Diana Haddad (ديانا حداد)
"Law Bassait Qoddamak" (If you looked in front of you) by Elissa (اليسا)

Known in the Arab world and Turkey, using Arab/Turkish rhythms with Arab and non Arab Instruments.

Examples of Sharqi rhythms:
"Ehlifli" (He promised) by Diana Haddad (ديانا حداد) with fast tempo
"Fe Gheyabak Anni" (During your absence) by Latifa (لطيفة) with slow tempo

Khaleeji music is a music genre which consists of sub genres,the are used in six Arab states and they are (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman).

Samri, Ekhbaiti, Emroba'a, Bahri, Classic...Etc

Example of Samri music:

"Wainik Inta?" (Where are you?) by "Thekra or Zekra or Zikra" (ذكرى)

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