Discover the world in music… PART II, The Middle East


Music, like proverbs, is the mirror of a culture. The aim of this series if to take you around the world in music, to help you discover authentic melodies, foreign cultures and ultimately, to let you in my musical world. 


The Middle East is a broad term but in today’s mix, I have included Armenia, Turkey, Palestine AND Israel and finally, Lebanon.

What to expect? Mostly instrumental sounds, atmospheric and nostalgic. Oriental trills, some a little more modern than others. Melodies that takes you on a journey, from the South Caucasus Mountains all the way to the Mediterranean Bassin with the likes of Lebanon and Palestine (you can guess my political views).

Let’s kick it off with an artist I have featured in several posts before. If you haven’t yet, I’d like you to meet Levon Minassian, French doudouk player of Armenian heritage.

Here’s another taste of Armenia with more of a Turkish influence : Arto Tunçboyaciyan.

Let’s move on to Turkey with film score composer Toygar Isikli. I first discovered Isikli while watching one of the (soap) TV shows he composed for and have love him ever since.

If I had to pick a favourite, it would have to be the score from Dudaktan Kalbe and particularly this melody:

For a broader taste, listen to this playlist.

Travelling further East… I was introduced to Le Trio Joubran by my 3rd year uni flatmate who was Palestinian. An Oud trio playing traditional Palestinian music, the three brothers are quite something. Without further ado…

When it comes to Israli music, I have a particular preference for Yemenite Jewish music and here is an interesting playlist put together on SoundCloud by Sonokinetic.

Last but not least, I want to take you to a country very dear to me –  Lebanon. My best friend is Lebanese and as mentioned in a previous post, she is my pride and joy. I want to introduce you to Mashrou’ Leila, a Lebanese alternative rock band sometimes translated as Leila’s Project. The following song is by far my favourite.

BONUS ROUND goes to Lebanese-born Ibrahim Maalouf, a true revelation in the world of film scores but also oriental music. I noticed his wonderful soundtrack in the biographical drama film Yves Saint Laurent so here it is, a pleasure for the ears.

Before you go, have a wander through Eastern Europe and listen to traditional Bulgarian music or indulge in beautiful Russian balalaikas.

Any favourites this time around?

Which culture would you like to discover next?


Thanks for reading.
Hop on my Facebook and Twitter caravans.



4 responses to “Discover the world in music… PART II, The Middle East

  1. What a great post. I’ve just spent a pleasant hour or more listening to your choices. I think my favourite was Levon Minassian – that lovely doudouk breathiness, but Arto Tuncboyaciyan and Le Trio Joubran came a close second. I like the stillness and lack of the frenetic in these. More music was one of my resolutions for the year and you make it easy. I’m sending a link to this to three friends who love music.

    Now back to your first in this series – I had the family here when you posted it and didn’t get round to it.


Penny for your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.