Souad Abdullah: Yumma, al Hilou

Unique and rare sounds from the Middle East in a look at the creative publication's current music issue

Full of nostalgia, handclaps (and hand drums) and a decidedly warm feeling permeating the entire track, “Habibi Taal” (off the debut album Silt) is the perfect introduction to Brooklyn-based, Sudanese-born singer Alsarah and her band the Nubatones. Named “The New Star Of Nubian Pop” by the Guardian, Alsarah is a singer, songwriter and ethnomusicologist who describes her style as “East-African retro-pop.” Whether familiar with the …

Noura Mint Seymali: Tzenni

Unique and rare sounds from the Middle East in a look at the creative publication's current music issue

Discovered by Sublime Frequencies and then released o”n the label’s compilation Choubi Choubi! Folk and Pop Sounds from Iraq, Yumma, al Hilou” is a track that we don’t know much about, other than the fact that it might translate to “Mother, Here’s My Beauty.” Having little background information on the song makes listeners soak up its complex, fast-paced rhythms, sliding fiddles and the chanting girls. …

Zeid Hamdan: Balekeh (Acoustic)

Unique and rare sounds from the Middle East in a look at the creative publication's current music issue

Hailing from Mauritania, Noura Mint Seymali’s “Tzenni” (the Hassaniya Arabic word meaning “to turn” or “to spin”) is immediately intriguing and alluring. The song quickly morphs into fusion of traditional Moorish griot music, Western pop, blues, even psych-rock—aided by the guitar stylings of her husband, Jeiche Ould Chighaly. Seymali (who began her career at the tender age of 13, as a back-up singer for her …