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The Atlas is proud to be partnering with the Hay Festival's Beirut39 contest, celebrating Beirut's year as UNESCO World Book Capital, to find the hottest authors under 40 of Arabic origin. Nominations are open until August 24th, 2009.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

World Routes in Nazareth (and a poem)

BBC Radio's World Routes has a fantastic broadcast from Nazareth, with exclusive recordings of a performance by Dalal Abu Amneh at the Jerusalem International Oud Festival. Presenter Moshe Morad travels to the predominantly Arab-Israeli city to speak with innovative oud players Wisam Gibran, Khaled Joubran and Nazir Raduan, and singer Dalal Abu Amneh, about "tradition and the individual talent," as they blend modernity and classical heritage in their music. Gibran describes his oud playing as "cosmopolitan," connecting back through flamenco to the sounds of al-Andalus, Joubran -- whose father is an oud-maker -- talks about the Persian origins of the oud. Abu Amneh gives voice to the differing singing accents of Lebanon, Egypt and the Galilee, and describes how performing internationally allows her at once to make visible in Europe the rich Arab culture that is suppressed in Israel, and to claim her Arab identity in the Arab world, where she feels she has been rendered invisible by staying in her homeland. The organiser of the Jerusalem festival suggests that the oud offers a familiar sound and a rallying point for the commonalities in Palestinian and Mizrahi (North African/Mediterranean) Jewish culture, and that the festival has drawn together the communities. You can listen again to a dazzling and seductive range of music from Nazareth until December 27th.

Speaking of dazzling and seductive, Marci Newman has posted a spine-tingling poem by Palestinian-American writer Suheir Hammad at Body on the Line. Like the Nazarene musicians in conversation with Morad, Hammad balances and interweaves her artistic integrity and heritage with her observation of, and anger at, the political situation in Palestine, asking the reader to
please excuse my state of disappearance
. But the central line of the poem is the single word: heart.

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