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Push Button Synth Styles Change Up Arab Street Sounds

"1965-1970 was a most incredible catastrophic change in the way music was produced and the sort of music that is made." – Robert Moog

The Middle East was no exception to this turbulent moment in music history, induced by the technological innovation of an instrument that defies definition: the synthesizer. With its ability to replicate and mimic any sound, the synth has become ubiquitous in almost every genre of music throughout the region. Araby synth styles (customized programmed sound properties) first began as a quirky novelty, sonically invoking the west while mashing the instrument up against traditional Arabic instrumentation. As technology advanced it began emulating and replacing these same traditional instruments altogether and quickly became appropriated into the mainstream, providing uniquely distinct sounds that have redefined the sonic landscape of Arab music. This program dives into the electrified shape-shifting history of the synthesizer in contemporary music from the Middle East, from the mid-60s to the present. We'll hear some of the earliest examples of keyboard music and work our way up to the gritty amplified modern shaabi instrumentals of today.

Recorded in Beirut, host J. Namy works through the history of the synthesizer from its origins up through comtemporary folk and pop.

With tracks by Abdallah Chahine, Abdel Halim Hafez, Kakino de Paz, Baligh Hamdi, Omar Korshid, Damascus Musical Group, Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Ahmed Fakhroun, Les Freres Megri, and a Shaabi M'shekal



Indigenous Worlds


From homegrown grassroots movements, tradition, and musical experimentation comes a wide and international array of musicians who put their own spin on national and indigenous music. Sometimes rupturing the traditions of the past and sometimes affirming them, the songs of these shows spring from the porches of the world.

Electric Kahraba


Searching for unique sounds of independent Middle Eastern Music, J. Namy aka Electric Kahraba, brings together contemporary and traditional music from the region.