“I think we’re about ready for a new feeling to enter music,” declared Brian Eno back in 2005 interview, “[and] I think that will come from the Arabic world.” He predicted that the influence of Arabic music would parallel how “the blues completely suffused the music of the early 1960s, woke it up and got it out of Cliff Richard… and made it kind of dirtier and rougher and more lively and sexy.” It’s been ten years since Eno gave that interview, but most people in the United States have still not added Amr Diab to their playlists. Or Samira Said. Or Sherine. Or any of the other superstars of Arabic music who sell millions upon millions of records each year.
This handy list of 15 legends of Arabic pop music is here to change that and get you started. The next time that you roll up to a party, you’ll be blasting “Gamalo” after “Bitch Better Have My Money.”
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