Hook me up with some rad Arabic instros!
November 11, 2009 1:35 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone help me find some Lebanese (or Arabic) instrumental music? I went to a wedding recently with a fantastic Lebanese band and would really like to hear more celebratory instrumental stuff. Anyone know any band names or people I should look out for? I have some Fairuz and Ouum Kathoum and other Arabic vocalists, so I am looking just for instrumentals. Thanks!
posted by gerls to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Rabih Abou-Khalil isn't exactly traditional, but you definitely need to check him out.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:44 AM on November 11, 2009

Don't know where to look, but I suggest you also check out Afghani music. I had an Afghani musician for a neighbor, in Germany. Good music, it is quite similar to Lebanese, which I was hearing at a Lebanese restaurant on Sunday.
posted by Goofyy at 4:48 AM on November 11, 2009

This may sound like a tangent, but I promise it is not. I was so excited when I found this out! Now I share with you!

So follow me here: Dick Dale, the half-Lebanese leader of the pioneering surf-rock band The Ventures, was musically influenced by his oud-playing uncle while he was growing up, and subsequently drew on Middle Eastern songs and scales for his music. So, his classic Misirlou is simultaneously a surf-rock hit and (more or less) a piece of celebratory Lebanese instrumental music. And, indeed, you can pick out lots of Middle Eastern influence in the rest of his surf rock. Yay!
posted by ourobouros at 6:14 AM on November 11, 2009

I'm a big fan of oud music. Here are some great oud players.

Munir Bashir: from Iraq, probably the most famous exponent of the oud in the 20th century. Try his album L'art du Ud.

Naseer Shamma: also from Iraq, student of Bashir and an amazing player (he can play the oud with one hand). Check out the album Le Luth de Bagdad.

Anouar Brahem: from Tunisia, mixes Arabic-style improvisation with jazz (all his albums are on ECM Records, which gives you an idea of the sound--more subtle and minimalist than Rabih Abou-Khalil). I really like his second album Le Pas du Chat Noir (oud, clarinet, drums) and his new one The Astounding Eyes of Rita (oud, bass clarinet, bass, drums), but his most popular might be Astrakan Café (maybe a bit more "celebratory").

Hamza El Din: Nubian, different in style from the others and usually includes a little bit of singing. (He became a professor in the United States and also played with the Grateful Dead.)

Also, from Lebanon, you might like the violinist Claude Chalhoub.

(There's more where that came from; feel free to MeFi Mail me because I'm a huge nerd about this music.)
posted by k. at 6:42 AM on November 11, 2009

Oh, also, there's lots of great music (popular and traditional) on the Lebanese record label Incognito.
posted by k. at 6:45 AM on November 11, 2009

Marcel Khalife should top the list, his latest work is veering towards instrumental tracks and is rather great [although if you understand arabic his non-instrumental body of work is full of gems]

Ziad Rahbani is another prolific musician who should be on any Lebanese-music listener's list.

Charbel Rouhana might fit what you're looking for, rather excellent oud player.

Khaled el Haber: Leftist musician with some great tunes, a quick google didn't turn up much info about him online, so I'd guess he isn't as well known abroad.

Ziad Sahhab is another oud player

Toufic Farroukh: Modern Lebanese jazz, lots of instrumental tracks but they don't really fit in as traditional arabic music.

Soap Kills: Lebanese trip-hop. Great stuff. [ok this is probably too far removed from what you're looking for, but I just had to mention them]
posted by xqwzts at 7:09 AM on November 11, 2009

Taksim Trio: S/T
Rather more cerebral then celebratory and Turkish to boot. All instro though.
posted by Dr.Pill at 9:58 AM on November 11, 2009

A non-specific recommendation would be to look for Arabic or Persian Classical Music on the internets. Like Chinese, Japanese & Western classical music, it features acoustic instruments and tends to have little or no singing.
posted by fiercekitten at 12:10 PM on November 11, 2009

Response by poster: Wow. Thanks all!!
posted by gerls at 2:23 PM on November 13, 2009

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