Music

Musicians in Street Procession - Marrakesh, MoroccoaCourtesy of Adam Jones via Flickr

Arabic Song Lyrics and Translation

An online database of popular Arabic songs with accompanying translations.

Articles about Hip Hop in the Middle East

Middle Eastern Music Helps Fuel Change in the Region

How music has affected change in the Arab Spring.

Music Stirs the Embers of Protest in Iran

This article highlights the role that music has played in the revolution in Iran.  It explains creative ways in which artists and their followers share banned music and use it as a source of inspiration during the revolution.

Rapping the Revolution

This article talks about the impact of rap on the Arab spring.  It ends with an interview with Tunisian Rap star Hamada Ben Amor, also known as El General (see also: Rap Songs of the Arab Spring)

Ancient Whispers, Songs of Persia (audio)

This music, by Dr. Khodadad Kaviani, provides unique ways for all Iranians to reconnect with their Zoroastrian cultural roots through songs.  These cultural songs are valuable teaching and learning resources about the living Zoroastrian traditions.

The Hip Hop Rhythm of the Arab Revolt (multimedia)

The Arab Spring is widely known as a Twitter rebellion, but underground hip-hop artists also played a very important role. Robin Wright, author of “Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World,” talks with Jerry Seib about the phenomenon.

Music, from Your Middle East (multimedia)

Your Middle East loves music. Simple as that. Check out their stories, videos, and interviews with the Middle Eastern artists you adore.

Rap Songs of the Arab Spring (audio)

This NPR story features YouTube videos of musicians who have been responding to—and provoking—the protests in countries like Egypt and Tunisia. Some of these songs have played a direct role in popular uprisings, while others have helped galvanize international support. Songs are rapped in both English and Arabic, and international collaborations have helped to spread the music over the Internet, via Facebook and YouTube.

Rapper’s Imprisonment Tests Moroccan Reforms (audio)

Analyzing outside influences of music and politics.

The ‘Rolling Stones’ of Morocco (audio)

Joseph Braude explores the cultural and political impact of one of the most influential bands in modern Moroccan history, Nas al-Ghiwan. Presented by America Abroad.

Arab Culture through Literature and Film

Arab Culture through Literature and Film is a five unit high school curriculum that provides students with knowledge and tools to analyze and understand the Arab world. The materials utilize a student-centered pedagogical approach that promotes critical thinking and respect and encourages engaged global citizenship. Through this curriculum, students will recognize shared themes across the region and gain a sense of the rich diversity inherent to the multidimensional cultures of the Arab world. Students will study life and culture in the Arab world and engage with primary sources including films, short stories, and poems. Exposing students to Arab voices and putting human faces on the Arab world will increase understanding and tolerance in the American classroom.

psu logo edited Current Perspectives on the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict through Hip Hop

psu logo edited Hip Hop and the Arab Uprisings: Resources for Teachers

This resources includes the English lyrics to six hip hop songs produced during the Arab Uprisings, along with information about the artists, discussion questions, and  links to relevant music videos.

For an introduction to the material and information about hip hop and the Arab Uprisings, click here.  

For lyrics to the songs and information about the artists, click below:

psu logo edited Hip Hop as Part of the Palestinian Poetic Tradition

This lesson provides the materials for a comparison of three songs: “Dedication,” by DAM; “My Mother” by Mahmoud Darwish, sung by Marcele Khalife; and “As I Walk” by Samih al-Qasim, sung by Marcele Khalife and explores how DAM’s hip hop music fits into the Palestinian poetic tradition. Because of some violent imagery, these would be most appropriate for discussion in a high school classroom.

Hip Hop Genius: Remixing High School Education

psu logo edited Music and the Arab Spring

The occupied Palestinian territories have not taken part in the waves of unrest that marked the Arab Spring in other parts of the Middle East. Nonetheless, the music of Palestinian Hip Hop artist DAM, produced several years ago, provides one window into the feelings of frustration that many Arabs—Palestinian and otherwise—have felt even before the Arab spring.  In fact, it is this emotional state that I think many American students find difficult to understand: what does it feel like to live in an oppressive political system that seems like it will never change?  Post-Arab spring songs, by contrast, express some of the ebullience and pride that came with proving that change, indeed, was possible.

psu logo edited Musical Meaning in the Arab Uprisings

This lesson explores the role of music in the Arab Uprisings.

This lesson was developed by Oliver Brown and Allison Rayburn for the Middle East Studies Center Summer Institute 2013: The Arab Uprisings

Mystical Musician Healers from Morocco

Mixing video, audio, photographs and text, Gnawa Stories takes you inside the uncharted waters of this secret world, and explores the Gnawas’ commitment to connect with their traditions while adapting to a new Global Age.

Salome: Politics and Music in Iran

In this lesson, created by Primary Source, students use primary sources (rap) to study current events in Iran.

psu logo edited Slingshot Hip Hop: Discussion Questions and Resources

Discussion questions and resources for teaching with the 2008 documentary, Slingshot Hip Hop.

Umm Kulthum Curriculum

The purpose of this curriculum is to guide an exploration of the life of the legendary Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum and of the Arab world she enchanted. Her life story provides an entry point for developing rich and nuanced historical and cultural understandings. Umm Kulthum’s musical artistry and poetic lyrics also touch upon language arts themes, including lessons about genre, tone, figurative language, and imagery.  By Al Bustan