Music to Write of Arabia

I’ve held various career plans over the years, beginning with my ambition to be a double-nought spy, a starship captain, or another Beatle. I also wanted to be a writer from an early age, a goal that seemed just about as superheroically awesome as the others.

By the time I was in college I was still gigging around in local rock bands and writing, and I had it in my head I might be able to make a go of it as a composer. There’s only so much time in every day, and every life, though, and eventually writing won out over music, just as getting a film degree won out over a degree in music theory. These days I only sit down at the piano occasionally to amuse myself, but I do keep my hand in composing by drafting themes for my characters.Sometimes I sit down and play a character theme song before I start my writing day.

I’ve thought about subjecting the wider world to a recording of the Dabir and Asim theme song, but I think it would sound a lot better with all the orchestration I hear in my head rather than just having me pound it out on the piano, and besides, I’m busy, so it’s never been recorded.

But enough about me! Today I wanted to share the CD I listen to while driving around town and thinking about the ancient Middle-East.

A couple of years back I heard a review of a CD titled Eastern Wind, by Eliyahu and the Qadim Ensemble. Not only was it evocative and stirring, it was performed with passion and artistry. Usually I’m a pretty curious guy — it helps to be curious when you’re researching– but for some reason, much as I loved this CD, I never looked up the group to find out more about them or to see whether they had more recordings.

It turns out that they have a number of additional CDs, and, wonder of wonders, they’re still touring live. Usually if I discover a group I like, they’ve been broken up for a few years, because I’m often oblivious about new things.

Don’t take my word for it — here’s what the press said about them:

“Visionary . . . achingly beautiful . . .”
San Francisco Chronicle

“The Jewish and Arabic musicians who comprise this eclectic world-music ensemble show the power of unity.”
The Boston Globe

To find out more about these talented musicians, you can check out their web site, here. And if you want to hear the song that gets me thinking about heroic adventures, it’s track 6, “Maghrebi,” from the CD Eastern Wind. For some reason the online song sample of this tune starts at the bridging section, so you don’t hear much of the driving momentum and melody. Trust me, though. It’s grand stuff. I sincerely hope that you’ll purchase some of their CDs. I know I plan on buying more of their music. Wish I lived a little closer to one of the coasts so that I could see a live performance!


4 Comments on “Music to Write of Arabia

  1. (This album is on Spotify! I am listening to it right now 🙂 Well worth subscribing, since it’s the cost of a CD every 2-3 months.)

    I have several playlists for writing to. For Space Opera, I like the Halo soundtrack. Fantasy is generally either Viking Metal (mostly Turisas) or the Age of Conan soundtrack – sounds like an odd choice, but if you google you find that the composer went away and read REH and essentially wrote a soundtrack for that, rather than the computer game.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for the further suggestions! I’d definitely be interested in trying out the Age of Conan soundtrack if you praise it so highly.

    I usually don’t listen to music WHILE I write — I’m too easily distracted — just while I’m THINKING about writing.

  3. Now we’re talking.

    I can highly recommend turkish musician ‘Mercan Dede’ who has many eastern influenced tracks throughout his albums. Video game music is also on my regular playlist, the ‘Stronghold Crusader’ soundtrack has some great arabian themed tracks, Robert Euvino the composer made the tracks available for download through one of the fansites, There are a couple of very cool tracks on the Brian Tyler ‘Children of Dune’ Miniseries soundtrack, particularly ‘Fremen Qizarate’, before the soundtrack heads in the direction of orchestral stuff. On the female vocal side Azam Ali, has good stuff scattered throughout her albums. A few years ago, wanting to evoke the atmosphere of an arabian port city, I used Audacity to mix a bunch of arabian tracks across an ‘Ocean Sounds’ CD that I own, the result turned out pretty well.

    • A lot of great sounding suggestions here!

      I am still pretty new to Audacity and digital music. I am probably a decade behind the rest of the world, actually. I still tend to want to pick out a CD rather than a download. I was honestly shocked when I walked in to Best Buy the other day and realized there wasn’t a CD selection anymore. But what do you expect of a guy who spends most of his time in ancient Arabia?

      Anyway, I will look into your leads. They sound very interesting. Thanks!

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