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Is Arab Music Moving West Again?


by Jubran Haddad, Chartmetric.com, March 8, 2023


Arabic artists from the MENA region are gaining global traction, exporting Arab music to the West and redefining the Arabic music scene with unique sounds and cultural diversity.


(...) Hailing from the region or the diaspora, some artists became viral sensations, several had their faces emblazoned on a billboard in Times Square, and others were signed to major labels. While these achievements were not possible just a few years ago, they could have been attainable twenty years ago.


(...) The collaboration between Sting and Cheb Mami on the hit song Desert Rose garnered substantial success in both the US and the UK. Two of world pop's brightest stars, Algerian artist Khaled and Egyptian artist Hakim, were set to embark on their first extensive U.S. tour.


Mainstream artists like Jay-Z incorporated Arabic music into their songs. His track "Big Pimpin" contains a sample of "Khosara Khosara," performed by Egyptian Abdel Halim Hafez, and Aaliyah’s "Don’t Know What to Tell Ya" is sampled from "Batwanes Beek" by Algerian Warda. An explosion of Arab music was bound to happen, right?


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