For as many years as I’ve been a traveling man, I have gravitated toward certain types of music. I especially am drawn to Arabic music, that enchanting pulsing beat that comes with lyrics I can’t understand, adding to the mystique. I discovered an artist named Nasrat Ali Khan a decade ago, he’s from Pakistan and played music that put me into a trance.
I remember two times during visits to Malaysia where Arab music burst forth from a boombox in a market in a town in the far north Kota Bharu, one of me most religious cities in the muslim nation. I heard that music and wanted to find out who played it, and never was able to.
Then I woke up very early in my hotel room there and on the TV, the picture showed Muslims during the haj, in Mecca circling the al-kaaba, the black stone in the middle of the Holy Mosque. The music was so memorable I tried to find out what it was, but never did.
On Friday, a group of musicians is coming to the Iron Horse playing Arabic music, they’re called Layaali. I listened to their music in a YouTube video from an improv session and it has that same entrancing beat that appealed to me years ago in Malaysia. They have a mission, they want to spread their passion about Arabic music to the world. Michel Moushabeck owns Interlink publishing in Northampton and the bookstore in Thornes Market.
“LAYAALI’s mission is to increase the awareness of Arabic music and culture through concerts, recordings, workshops and lectures. The musicians, who come from four Arab countries – Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Morocco — include: Jamal Sinno (qanun and vocals), Muhammed Mejaour (nay and percussion), Kareem Roustom (oud), Michel Moushabeck (tabla, riqq, daff), and Geena Ghandour (vocals).” Tickets on sale at the door or at the Box Office.