News / Arts & Entertainment

    Carole King Explores Arabic Music in Multicultural Performance

    Carole King at the MusiCares Person of the Year ceremony in her honor, with Berklee College of Music student Ahmad El Haggar in Los Angeles, Jan. 24, 2013. (Courtesy Musicares)
    Carole King at the MusiCares Person of the Year ceremony in her honor, with Berklee College of Music student Ahmad El Haggar in Los Angeles, Jan. 24, 2013. (Courtesy Musicares)
    Faiza Elmasry
    When four-time Grammy winner Carole King took the stage Jan. 24 in Los Angeles at the MusiCares Person of the Year ceremony in her honor, she was accompanied by Berklee College of Music student Ahmad El Haggar.

    They presented a new arrangement of Home Again, influenced by Middle Eastern melodies. 

    El Haggar, 25, a vocalist and oud player from Egypt, began studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston last year, the same year King received an honorary doctorate from the school for her lifetime achievement in music.

    “In the course of getting that award, I was assigned a student escort for the two days I was there,” King said.

    LISTEN: Carole King Explores Arabic Music
    Carole King Explores Arabic Musici
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    That student was El Haggar.

    “We had been talking about his study of Western music and he explained to me a lot of things about Arabic music, which is so amazing," King said. "Things like we have something like 12 modes, they have 200. I just found it so fascinating.”

    King got excited about the idea of a multicultural collaboration with the young Egyptian musician and even allowed him to choose which song they'd perform together.

    “Home Again is from King’s most famous album called Tapestry," El Haggar said. "The song touched me in the sense of the words and the music. It does speak about a person that wishes they can just return home, and for me I related to that. I left Egypt a year ago."
    Carole King and Ahmad El Haggar rehearse together. (Photo by Elissa Kline)Carole King and Ahmad El Haggar rehearse together. (Photo by Elissa Kline)
    In the new arrangement, El Haggar introduced Eastern rhythm instruments like the “tabla” and “douf.”

    “I think it’s a very eye-opening and mind-opening idea to reach out and include musicians and musical stars from different cultures,” said Christiane Karam, who teaches several groups, including the Middle Eastern Fusion Ensemble and Eastern Vocal Styles Ensemble, at Berklee. 

    She says multicultural music can be incredibly rich and powerful when done well, which is not always easy.

    “I look very much at it as a form of translation," she said. "You need to understand the people, you need to learn the language, you need to go to this country, eat the food, go to people’s houses, understand traditions,dance with the people. You can only really understand the music, if you immerse yourself in those aspects.”

    Karam credits El Haggar’s study of Western music for his successful collaboration with King

    The rising Egyptian artist says he is overwhelmed with the feedback he got from the audience that included some of America’s singing superstars, who gave him a standing ovation.

    The Musicare Person of the Year ceremony is one of the high-profile events held during Grammy Week. Multi-Grammy winners Jakob Dylan, Amy Grant, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Nettles, Pink, Gloria Estefan and Lady Gaga also performed at the event.
     
    El Haggar hopes other crossover artists from the Arab World will have similar opportunities. He believes there'a nothing like music to connect cultures around the world and bring people together.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs