Music in Global America





Abdel Halim Hafez sings "Ya Alby Ya Khaly"  by Mohammed Wahab, the "father of modern Egyptian song." Wahab introduced harmony and  Western instruments such as saxophone and electric guitar into popular Arab music, as well as rhythms from American rock & roll. 

As the 1970s waned so did the style of music pioneered by Wahab. Shaabi, a working-class form of music, became popular in Cairo in the 1970s. The word  literally means "music of the people."  The music of the great singers of the previous decades became known as tarab, the music of feelings. Shaabi was now the new music, the music of the street, distributed on pirated tapes and CDs. The genre used political commentary and humor to express the difficulties and frustrations of modern Egyptian life.  The genre sounded new because Shaabi had absorbed then-current American popular musical sounds and styles and mixed them with Egyptian pop. Growing out of shabbi was mahraganat (lit. "festivals") the independent underground music of working class Cairo youth using mixing apps and beats found on the web. Heavy auto-tuning, fast tempos and simple rhythms combined with lyrics often tackling political and social issues appealed to the many young people of Egypt in the years following the Spring Revolution.

Amr Diab is the best-selling Arabic singer ever. Born in Egypt in 1961, he became popular among the young urban populations of the Middle East and Mediterranean in the 1980s. In much of his music he blends Egyptian and Western instruments and styles. "Habibi ya nour el ain" combines  Arabic lyrics and the rhythms of Arab music with Spanish guitar and French accordion. Also in the video are frame drums (dafs) of the Middle East and North Africa.


Saad Lamjarred (Arabic: سعد لمجرد; born 7 April 1985) is a Moroccan singer-songwriter, actor, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, and record producer. His official music video for "LM3ALLEM" has received over 1 billion views on YouTube . . . Lamjarred moved to the US in 2001 and cites this as one of the main sources of inspiration for his music, crediting the experience for exposing him to western music and having a defining effect on his style and the type of artist he wanted to identify as. []

Lamjarred's career has undergone several setbacks due to multiple rape allegations, prison sentences, and protests.


Nancy Ajram (b. 1983) is a multi-platinum Lebanese singer and Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF.  By 2007, Ajram had sold over 30 million records, ranking third best selling female artist in Lebanese history. With more than one million subscribers, Nancy's official facebook page is now the most subscribed Arab artist page on Facebook. She is the first Arab who has reached this number.


Lydia Canaan of Lebanese singer-songwriter, the first "rock star" of the Middle East, the first internationally successful Lebanese recording artist, first Middle Eastern artist to sing in entirely in English, and the first to have music videos shown on MTVMiddle East and other MTV channels . "Her musical debut was described as having defied tradition, challenged convention, and transcended millennia-old gender barriers." Canaan was catalogued in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. Canaan is also a civil rights advocate who has spoken frequently before the UN Human Rights Commission. She has been involved in humanitarian causes and charity work throughout her adult life. [Wikipedia]

Acrassicauda is an American-based Iraqi thrash metal band formed in 2001. It is often credited as the first heavy metal group to emerge from Iraq. The original band consisted of four members and played concerts during the rule of Saddam Hussein. They became well known outside of the local Iraqi metal scene after a Vice magazine profile, and received even greater coverage with a feature-length documentary about the band and its troubles in Iraq called Heavy Metal in Baghdad. Their first album was released in 2010. [Wikipedia]

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