Put down the Metallica and the AC/DC. Its time to listen to the Kordz, Oath to Vanquish, Massive Scar Era.
The book Heavy Metal Islam:Rock, Resitance and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam by Mark LeVine highlights the alternative music scenes active in Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Iran and Pakistan. In the Introduction LeVine takes the reader back to the first time he encountered the possibility of Metal in the MENA region. How could Muslims listen to music that is so... western? Then again why not? Most of the countries he visits in the book have all been under foreign rule at some point in the last 50 years, there is diversity in all forms; religious, political, sexual, and social. There is strong angst within the youth movement and thus a growing alternative music scene. These are young people looking for a way to express themselves and music provides that outlet.
LeVine mentions other genres that are also going strong in the region such as punk and hard rock. But Rap and Hip Hop are stronger than ever. MTV Arabia has a show dedicated to the genre called "Hip HopNa" or "Our Hiphop". All in all its a good introduction to the alternative musical trends in the MENA region.
Keeping it on the music side things, the new website for the production and distribution company Incognito, a sister company of La CD-Theque, based in Beirut has officially launched its website. More importantly the shopping cart is now working which means that all the great music available that is coming out of Lebanon just got even easier to access.
Although Mr. LeVine mentions many of the bands that have a working relationship with La CD -Theque (Blend, Soapkills, Scrambled Eggs, The New Government, and Nadine Khoury)he unfortunately failed to mention La CD-Theque and what a valuable institution it has been. Not only are the staff wonderfully music savy (they can't be beat), they continue to bring great music and dvds into the store come what may. More importantly La CD-Theque provides the resources many of the emerging bands on the Lebanese alternative scene have used as a starting point for their musical careers. So click on the link... visit Incognito, listen to the bands, and support alternative music in the Middle East!