Sounds of the East
February 17, 2010 11:53 AM   Subscribe

What songs embody or demonstrate a (Middle) Eastern aesthetic or sound?

I'm looking for songs that best demonstrate Eastern or Middle Eastern aesthetics or sound - for instance, songs that are most demonstrative of the types of instrumentation, scales, melodies, etc that are commonly associated with these regions. They don't necessarily have to be from these areas; they can be Western interpretations (for example, Kashmir by Led Zeppelin). Another example is the Schtung Chinese New Year Remix of Gorillaz's Dirty Harry, or even stuff like Disney's Aladdin. I'd prefer individuals songs as opposed to artists.
posted by god particle to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Om Kalthoum.
posted by raztaj at 11:54 AM on February 17, 2010

Wait... are you looking for (Western) songs that have been influenced by Middle Eastern instruments, sounds, and music, or are you looking for classically Middle Eastern music?
posted by raztaj at 11:59 AM on February 17, 2010

I was gonna say Om but there she is.
posted by The Whelk at 12:04 PM on February 17, 2010

Response by poster: raztaj - I'd prefer the former
posted by god particle at 12:06 PM on February 17, 2010

The Feeling Begins, the first track on Peter Gabriel's soundtrack for The Last Temptation of Christ, fits for Western interpretation/inspiration. It's an awesome song, although the rest of the album doesn't do much for me.
posted by 6550 at 12:13 PM on February 17, 2010

The Hour of Two Lights by Terry Hall and Mushtaq is wonderful. The title track especially, but really, the whole album. Also, George Harrison/Ravi Shankar.
posted by iconomy at 12:23 PM on February 17, 2010

Hmm... well the London based Transglobal Underground (collective) comes to mind. They've had members of a wide variety of backgrounds, and a lot of their songs have a Mid East flair: Delta Disco, Pomegranate, Khaleegi Stomp, Fun does not exist [more].
posted by raztaj at 12:33 PM on February 17, 2010

Best answer: Big Pimpin'
posted by hermitosis at 12:44 PM on February 17, 2010

Maybe this.
posted by wittgenstein at 12:46 PM on February 17, 2010

For your consideration:

Desert Rose by Sting (with Cheb Mami). It's western pop influenced from not quite Middle Eastern, but Maghrebi style, and leans very heavily not only on Algerian Arabic lyrics but also on Algerian musical aesthetics with both rai and more traditional tropes.

Loreena McKennitt has done some truly outstanding work in contemporizing and westernizing some Middle Eastern and Central Asian musical styles. Some excellent examples include Night Ride Across the Caucasus, Marco Polo, Caravanserai, The Gates of Istanbul.
posted by darkstar at 12:50 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

and Shakira's Ojos Asi (barely, but it's got Arabic and belly dancing, and I think I hear a tabla... so... ok)
posted by raztaj at 12:55 PM on February 17, 2010

Khaled for Rai influenced music.
posted by JaredSeth at 1:03 PM on February 17, 2010

Best answer: Mustapha by Queen.
posted by Oriole Adams at 1:03 PM on February 17, 2010

I learnt this about Dick Dale's Misirlou from a previous mefi post [i think]
posted by xqwzts at 1:08 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh and Kiuas' To Excel and Ascend
posted by xqwzts at 1:13 PM on February 17, 2010

Best answer: As xqwzts said, Misirlou [mefi link] (aka the Pulp Fiction Theme) is a greek tune co-opted by surf rockers.

The Beatles Within You, Without You came to my mind. Love You Too is another.

There is an entire wikipedia page dedicated to pop music that features sitars. I would say that things like "Paint it Black" and "Norwegian Wood" don't sound Indian, despite the use of the sitar.
posted by frecklefaerie at 1:36 PM on February 17, 2010

mathar by dave pike is a great jazz instrumental.
posted by kimyo at 1:54 PM on February 17, 2010

The beginning of Fake Palindromes by Andrew Bird perhaps?
posted by hellomina at 3:28 PM on February 17, 2010

Best answer: Auditorium and The Embassy by Mos Def.

Madlib's Movie Finale is the beat from Auditorium, and the rest of his Beat Konducta Vol. 3-4 In India might be of interest to you.
posted by papayaninja at 4:41 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Multiple songs on Sufjan Stevens' album A Sun Came
The acoustic version of Flogging Molly's Another Bag of Bricks
posted by transporter accident amy at 7:24 AM on February 18, 2010

Lem Chaheb and Dissidenten - Sahara Elektrik - whole album is worth a look.
posted by Abiezer at 2:45 AM on February 19, 2010

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