I just want some sad vocals
February 7, 2009 5:54 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for Middle Eastern folk music, preferably the kind with really awesome singing. What are your recommendations?

Earlier today I downloaded an ambient liveset by Klimek from mnmlssgs and was particularly intrigued by a little vocal snippet at the beginning of the mix. It's about 30 seconds into the mix. I'm pretty sure it's a field recording, but if anyone could identify it and lead me to more music of the type, I would be forever indebted to you.

I was raised in a home where lots of old Iranian music was played around me, but I can't really seem to find a lot of this stuff in a digital format (all my parents' stuff is disorganized and on tape). About two months ago, I did find an amazing album of Mugham by Alim and Fargana Qamisov on Amazon. I also like Hossein Alizadeh's collaboration with Djivan Gasparayan on Endless Vision. I was also very interested by a documentary on Qamisov I found on youtube. The thing I liked about the documentary was that a majority of the music was vocals-only, but the album I bought was accompanied by music.

I know there are probably a LOT of places where I can get music like this. I also know I kind of gave a pretty broad description. I just want to know where I can get the best, most moving recordings.

So, any recommendations for vocal-heavy, preferably kinda sad, Middle-eastern music?
posted by azarbayejani to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Sorry this suggestion doesn't have a lot of singing, but Kayhan Kalhor is awesome. If you're looking for excellent recordings of very moving Iranian classical music, try one of Kayhan Kalhor's albums.
posted by belau at 6:06 PM on February 7, 2009

It's not Middle Eastern, but Music Furthest from the Sea, a free online compilation of Uyghur music from Central Asia, is wonderful. It's a mixture of folk and pop.

This is one of my favorites.
posted by jb at 7:12 PM on February 7, 2009

Sad vocals? Lebanon's Fairuz. Otherwise, check this out.
posted by gman at 7:15 PM on February 7, 2009

Looking at the title to your post, you may want to investigate my prior question.
posted by mykescipark at 8:48 PM on February 7, 2009

Sevara Nazarkhan
posted by idiomatika at 5:15 AM on February 8, 2009

Not exactly folk, but you want sad, sad Egyptian music?

Umm Kalthoum
posted by The Whelk at 6:35 AM on February 8, 2009

I second Umm Kalthoum. Not exactly folk music, but killer singer!
posted by cachondeo45 at 6:57 AM on February 8, 2009

I like Putumayo CDs. Here are the Middle Eastern albums.
posted by All.star at 11:18 AM on February 8, 2009

Sima Bina has one of the most powerful voices I've ever heard, and is very moving. I have Music of the South of Khorasan, and also of the North of Khorasan & can't recommend them highly enough.

And Ghazal - Kayhan Kalhor's collaboration with Shujaat Hussain Khan is simply heartbreakingly beautiful.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:41 PM on February 8, 2009

Thanks for the help so far, all!
I had some Umm Kalthoum already, and she's pretty awesome. The song jb recommended from music farthest from the sea is exactly what I'm looking for. Songs with sparse instrumentation with a guy (or girl) singing in a kind of imperfect voice.
And although Kayhan Kalhor isn't what I was looking for, he's done some pretty beautiful stuff, too.
Also, thanks to mykescipark for leading me to the previous post!
posted by azarbayejani at 7:36 AM on February 10, 2009

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