Lost links & Re-ups

On any post, if the link is no longer good, leave a comment if you want the music re-uploaded. As long as I still have the file, or the record, cd, or cassette to re-rip, I will gladly accommodate in a timely manner all such requests.

Slinging tuneage like some fried or otherwise soused short-order cook

12 July 2013


Rabih Abou-Khalil (ربيع أبو خليل‎) was born on August 17, 1957 in Lebanon. He is a world-class oud player & composer. Since early childhood he has worked at perfecting his skills on the the oud, the fretless stringed instrument, similar to the European lute that is so prominent in much of Arabic music. He studied in the Beirut Music Conservatory under the tutelage of oud virtuoso Georges Farah.

Arabian Waltz is at or near the pinnacle of Rabih Abou-Khalil's achievements as a composer & arranger who has combined traditional Arabic music with many of the tenets of jazz. It is a sublime fusion of jazz, Middle Eastern traditional music, & Western classical. In addition to Abou-Khalil on oud, Michel Godard on the tuba & the serpent (the tuba's antique kinsman), & Nabil Khaiat on frame drums, the album also features the Balanescu String Quartet instead of the usual trumpet or sax. Without surrendering jazziness at all, the presence of the strings makes possible a wondrous atmosphere, almost as if one is listening to the soundtrack of a classy movie set in Beirut or Damascus during the '40s.

Rabih Abou-Khalil –Arabian Waltz, Enja ENJ 90592, 1996.
decryption code in comments

Arabian Waltz
Dreams of a Dying City
Ornette Never Sleeps
No Visa
The Pain After


Marcel Khalife (مرسيل خليفة‎) was born June 10, 1950, in Amchit, Mount Lebanon Governorate, Lebanon, a small coastal village north of Beirut.

He is a Lebanese composer, singer, & oud player. From 1970 to 1975, he taught at the Music conservatory in Beirut. In 1976, he formed Al Mayadeen Ensemble. They became famous for songs like “Ummi” (My Mother), “Rita w'al-Bunduqiya” (Rita & the Rifle), & “Jawaz al-Safar” (Passport), based on Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry.

Three times (1996, 1999, & 2003), he faced criminal prosecution for his song “I am Joseph, O Father”, also written by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. Khalife was accused of insulting religious values by including a two-line verse from a chapter of the Qur'an.

Khalifa recorded the song in his 1995 album The Arabic Coffee Pot that was based on a 1992 poem of the prominent Palestinian poet. The poem adapted this verse from the story of Yousef (Joseph) in the Qur'an: "O my father, I saw eleven stars and the sun and the moon bowing before me in homage." It tells the story of how Joseph's brothers were jealous of him because he was handsome & kind. His brothers then sold him into slavery. The story was a reflection of the suffering of the Palestinian people.

In 1999, the case was brought to a court by the newly appointed investigating judge, Abdel Rahman Shihab, who reproached Marcel of "insulting religious values by using a verse from the chapter of Joseph from the Qur'an in a song." Marcel faced six months to three years imprisonment for publicly insulting religion (article 474 of the Lebanon's penal code, six months to three years in prison) & blasphemy (article 473 of the penal code, one month to one year in prison). That same year, Marcel was awarded the Palestine Award for Music. In turn, he contributed the financial portion of the award to the National Conservatory of Music at Birzeit University in Palestine.

Senior Sunni Muslim clerics in Lebanon ruled that singing verses from the Qur'an was "absolutely banned & not accepted." The highest Sunni Muslim religious authority in Lebanon, Grand Mufti Sheikh Muhamed Rashid Qabbani, has maintained repeatedly that Khalifa is guilty of blasphemy for singing a verse from the Qur'an. Sheikh Qabbani said : "There is a limit to freedom of expression. One limit is that it should not infringe on people's religious beliefs."

Demonstrations of solidarity came from many sides: intellectuals; human rights organizations; & everyday people. A meeting was held in Beirut where 2000 people sang altogether the song in trial. Marcel Khalife even received the support of Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, a Shi'ite theologist. The famous Lebanese writer Elias Khoury harshly criticized the trial, as did Mahmoud Darwish, who said “Fundamentalism is in the process of stifling culture and creation in the Arab world, I say it is shameful. I am ashamed. We should all be ashamed. If Marcel Khalife is found guilty, it will be an insult to culture.”

In 2003, Ghada Abu Karrum, the judge for the case, rejected the demand of the prosecutor, & found Marcel innocent of the charge of degrading Islam. As stated in the judgment :

“Although, in the first place, it is not for this court in any circumstance to indulge in discussing whether the action of the defendant mentioned above constitutes a deviation from Islamic tradition and its prohibitions, it is necessary to note that human societies have always known – since the advent of religions until this day – forms of behavior that touched the various aspects of life while not always observing all religious rules or abiding by them without that necessarily forming a desecration of the religious sanctity of the texts from which these rules have emerged.”

“Hence, it is clear from listening to the tape and CD at hand that the defendant has chanted the poem in gravity and composure that reveal a deep perception of the humanism expressed in the poem ornamented with the holy phrase. [He is] committed in his expression – in form and content – to a performance that bears no infringement on the holiness of the Qur'anic text, or offense to it or its content, nor reveal any intent to incite disparagement of it explicitly or implicitly, neither by words, meaning, nor music.”

In 2005, Khalife was named UNESCO Artist for Peace.

On Jadal Oud Duo, the musicians are: oud duo Marcel Khalife & Charbel Rouhana; Abboud El Saadi – bass; & Ali El Khatib – tambourine.

 Marcel Khalife – Jadal Oud Duo, Nagam Records NR 1009 2xCD, 1995. 
decryption code in comments

Tracklist –

CD 1 –
1st Movement
2nd Movement

CD 2 –
3rd Movement
4th Movement



  1. Arabian Waltz
    Jadal Oud Duo

  2. hi, erm, is the Marcel Kahalife link missing?

    1. Once again, a magically disappearing link. Not the first time, probably won't be the last. Thanks for letting me know. I don't always have the time to go back & check everything so totally depend on the kindness of others, such as yourself.

  3. thanks, it seems ok now.
    great blog btw, i'm so impressed. as for Polish music, your choice was perfect. cheers

    1. You're most welcome. Glad you like NNS. Anything else you might need, just let me know. As for Poland, BK are a band I really never get tired of hearing. I especially like Cosmopolis. Cheers.

  4. Thanks for this -- much appreciated. Would you happen by any chance to have a copy of the album 'Tarab' by Abu Khalil? It has the original version of 'Arabian Waltz' but I have only heard the astounding opening track, which is available on Youtube. Thanks and keep up the sterling work. Music blogs have taken a heavy toll since the golden era when sites like Holywarbles (it seems like ages!) opened many people's ears to worlds they never knew existed (to paraphrase Sun Ra) much like what you are doing now. I wonder however if you've considered migrating your site to your own domain? It's fairly easy to get a server who will host you for free and if, like me, you manage to find a free domain name too you've totally secured yourself against the risk of disappearing due to the arbitrary and irreversible decisions of corporations... Just a thought. Best wishes X

    1. Thanks for the comments here & elsewhere. I'm sorry that I don't have Tarab. I posted you're other request in Kazakhstan.

      I have wanted to free myself from the whims of Google's corporate mandates for some time. I don't know if I have the computer savvy to move to another server. I will check it out. Perhaps you can leave me a comment (not necessarily for publishing here) giving me you insight & expertise. Thanks again. I have been reading your Love Letter Journal & am very impressed.