With colleagues from North Africa and the Middle East, and building on the success of last year's offer, Euroradio is again making available to EBU Radio organizations music on the celebration of cultural aspects of Ramadan in various countries.
Working with the support of the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) and their Head of Radio, Yasser Garrana, Euroradio has compiled songs from artists in Algeria, Egypt, France, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and Tunisia.
The world’s cultures have closely mixed spiritual and cultural aspects in marking the highlights of their calendar, and the songs show this clearly. Rather than the reluctant acceptance of a period of fasting, many of the pieces speak of how eagerly people await the appearance of Ramadan each year.
For instance, contributions from Algeria remark on the great opportunity that the season affords Muslims for repentance and prayer, and helping those less fortunate. Two pieces from Egypt reflect all the musical diversity of Africa's third most populous country, with such traditional instruments as the ney (flute), ud (lute) and qanun (zither), but also electronic, lounge and dance remixes. Tunisian Radio offers a version of the famous poem "Al Burda", singing the qualities of the prophet Mohammed.
Of particular interest this year are contributions by Radio France Internationale, featuring the jazz and electro-lounge group After in Paris, and Swedish Radio's two songs performed by the crossover musicians of Tarabband, led by Nadin Al Khlalidi, an Egyptian/Iraqi singer who fled to Sweden in 2008. "Tarab" is the Arabic word for the intense contact that can arise between performers and their audience, and Tarabband's pieces, a mix of Arab, Latin and Balkan music with a touch of Nordic folk, speak of the suffering of refugees, but also of the new hope that can arise.
EBU Head of Radio Graham Dixon remarked: "Sharing our cultural expressions lies at the heart of EBU activity in programme exchange. We aim to grow this project from year to year, providing a focal point for the appreciation of the cultures of Islamic world, both in its traditional countries and the wider diaspora."
The collection of Ramadan music, available to EBU Members and Associates via MUS, may be broadcast as a whole, or as individual songs to be inserted into programmes.