Interviews

Toufic Faroukh on Jazz, Saxophone, and Memory

By 
Mai Munasa

Music is the language composers know how to speak. Their world is synonyms, senses, and specifications from the heart of the tune and the core of the instrument in which they are immersed. Thus, I felt many times, while I was awaiting an answer to a question from Toufic Faroukh, that I was intruding upon this mysterious world which often cannot be expressed in words. The saxophone is the gamble this young man took, immersing himself in the music of the land to which he belongs, and letting the music of the Other world infiltrate the natural tradition.

Unpublished Munif Interview: Crisis in the Arab World – Oil, Political Islam, and Dictatorship

By 
Iskandar Habash

This interview was conducted by the author with Abd al-Rahman Munif for the French magazine, L'Orient Express in 1999. Due to its length, a shortened text appeared in the French magazine. Following the death of Abd al-Rahman Munif in late January 2004, the Lebanese daily As Safir republished the full Arabic text of the interview for the first time. The English version (translated by Elie Chalala) appears exclusively in Al Jadid, Vol. 9, no. 45. 

Talking With Poet Naomi Shihab-Nye

By 
Lisa Suhair Majaj

Naomi Shihab Nye is a Palestinian-American poet, writer and folksinger. A prizewinning author and a frequently invited speaker, Nye has published a number of poetry collections, including "Different Ways to Pray," "Hugging the Juke Box," "Yellow Glove, "Words Under the Words," a selection of poetry from her first three books, and "Red Suitcase." She also writes children's books, including the well-loved picture book "Sitti's Secrets," and edits books of poetry for younger readers.

Omar Bashir: A Great Promise on the Arab Music Horizon

By 
Basil Samara

At 31, Omar Bashir, son of the late, renowned Iraqi composer and oud master Munir Bashir, is one of the most prolific Arab musicians today. With seven albums in a variety of styles to his credit, and an extensive resume of live performances in Europe and the Middle East, Omar is a rising star in the world of Arabic music in general and the oud in particular.

Mahmoud Darwish: Home is More Lovely Than the Way Home

By 
Nouri Al-Jarrah

Mahmoud Darwish returned in May 1996 to Haifa, his first home in Palestine, to sip his mother’s coffee, and to touch the bread wrought by her hands. He is, judging by his biography, a son who expresses more eloquently than most the Palestinian odyssey – with its ships that attempt to cast their anchors on the shores of those who await; does his “symbolic” return therefore signal the realization of an event which has hitherto been mythical, the emergence of a rock from an idea, and the possibility of the return of that idea to the rock?

Diana Abu-Jaber: The Only Response to Silencing is to Keep Speaking

By 
Andrea Shalal-Esa

After years of trying to shepherd her second novel, “Memories of Birth,” through an arduous publishing process, Diana Abu-Jaber finally put the project aside and turned her attention to a third novel, “Crescent,” which explores themes of exile and the quest for identity as it weaves the story of an Iraqi-American chef in Los Angeles and her romance with an Iraqi immigrant.

Sheikh Hamza Shakkur Talks About Sufi Music

By 
Sami Asmar

Sheikh Hamza Shakkur's voice emanates spiritual power that draws listeners into the mystical tradition of Sufism. Born in Damascus in 1947, Sheikh Shakkur is a quranic reader and hymnist. He is also the choirmaster of theMunshiddin (reciters) of the Great Mosque in Damascus and serves at official religious ceremonies in Syria, where he is immensely popular. His bass voice with its richly rounded timbre has made him one of the foremost Arab vocalists.

Julien Weiss Discusses Traditional and Contemporary Arab Music

By 
Sami Asmar

In 1976, a 23-year-old-French classical guitarist listened to a record of classical Arab music, fell in love with it, and dedicated the rest of his life to studying this art. Born and raised in Paris, Julien Weiss, of Swiss and Alsatian heritage, has become one of the few accomplished qanun players in the world, having studied with masters from throughout the Arab world.

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