Middle Eastern and West Asian Music

This is a thread for discussion of “Middle Eastern and West Asian Music” which is open-ended.

Do you play it?

Do you listen to it?

Share your loves and tips, and let’s see where this goes.

I am a very slow-learning student of the oud, and I am very interested in the intersection between Middle Eastern Music and electronics.

If that sounds fun, check out the great oud player and singer Kamilya Jubran http://www.kamilyajubran.com. Her work with Werner Hasler is really nice, as is her solo work.

Other favorites include Hossein Behroozinia http://www.behroozinia.com and Dhafer Youssef http://www.dhaferyoussef.com

I look forward to learning from you!


I listen to it about 1/3 of the time I’m listening to music, especially “Persian classical.” I’ve been listening to a streaming persian classical station called Radio Darvish for 15 or so years, though the stream barely works anymore. There is also Radio Golha, an archive of performances that aired on Iranian radio between 1956 & 1979.

Other stuff that’s more or less “Middle Eastern”:
Aşiq Edalet of Azerbaijan
El Remsh El Tawil by Mohammed Abdu from Saudi
Abdallah Chahine of Lebanon and his 1/4 tone piano
Neşet Ertaş of Turkey
Dariush Dolat-Shahi from Iran – Persian instruments and electronics

And an amazing performance from Turkey, Özgür Baba, complete with far away gunshots, chickens, and a curious/apathetic cat.

Some day I’ll get around to getting a Santoor and Setar, maybe a Saz as well.


In the context of Iranian music, it’s hard to overestimate the importance of the singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian. He passed away just over two weeks ago, sadly, at the age of 80. He is 73 in this one, but… well, listen to it.


Thanks for this thread. I am now listening to Ghareeba by Kamilya Jubran. Perfect late evening music. Great tip.

1 Like

I’ve just started reading Inside Arabic Music, written by the maker of the very useful www.maqamworld.com website.


I admire Jordi Savall and was lucky to see him a few times. For his album and concert series ‘Ibn Battuta, The Traveller of Islam’ he traced the footsteps of Ibn Battuta (1304 – 1369), a Muslim Berber-Moroccan scholar and explorer. Jordi Savall captured his travels in beautiful music and narratives.


+1 for maquam world - lots of interesting info and music

planning to support 24-tet as the defacto on my future monome things since any western scale can be expressed in 24-tet anyway


Fantastic idea!

I hope you will share!

I’ve had the great pleasure of attending two concerts in Boston by Jordi Savall. He is a giant!

We are blessed to have an amazing organization here called Boston Early Music Festival. Each year, well each year without a pandemic, they put on a significant summer festival, and every other year the festival includes a large vendor section with instrument makers and others showing their beautiful and obscure wares… There are actually some interesting analogs between the early music scene and the modular scene, small worlds driven by intense devotion to craftsmanship and very non-mainstream aesthetics…

Before I discovered Middle Eastern music, I was enchanted by medieval European music, having been turned onto David Munrow and the Early Music Consort. Eventually I realized that there was a deep connection between the European and Arabic music running through Al Andalus…

Anyway, there is so much to learn and explore in this area…


For a short while, decades ago, I was one of the drummers in a tribal dance troupe, and we played middle eastern rhythms on the darbuka, while folks bellydanced. So much fun!


This is insanely great…

I’m reminded of the similarities between Celtic and Middle Eastern music, particularly in the “fiddle tunes”…

What a voice!

I’ve heard his name but can’t say that I’ve heard him sing, as I tend to gravitate towards instrumentals…

1 Like

One of my favorite albums, absolutely incredible (if nothing else, listen to the drum/percussion interplay from 11:00 to around 20:00):

His solo oud works are equally deep and searching


I was gonna share this info with those who are unfamiliar

A shame the knowledge about his pivotal music is not as common as it should be


I must admit I don’t know much about this topic but I picked up this LP years back on a whim and it’s one of my faves:

edit: @pleurodesis already mentioned it earlier so I’ll link a different track :blush:


A broad topic for a diverse region! I’d vote for “West Asian Music” rather than “middle east”, but would defer to someone with more direct ties to this part of the world.


Interesting point. Is it possible to rename topics?

1 Like

I mean, North Africa isn’t West Asia, but here we are


Love love love Hamza El Din!!!

The Grateful Dead played with him at the Great Pyramid :pray:t2:

1 Like

Yes! Great oud player and drummer but it’s that voice that gets me. His records are just beautifully made too, especially Escalay and Eclipse.

1 Like