Maloum


Searching for new world music online leads down an infinite rabbit hole of undiscovered wonders. It’s overwhelming and confusing, but always yields something interesting. On my latest foray I discovered the Lebanese pop singer Nawal al Zoghbi. Zoghbi has recorded over a dozen albums since the early nineties. In the Arab world, she is a huge star. She is known for being an early adopter of  Western trends  such as the music video. Music videos have been the widespread norm in the West at least since the 80’s, but the Middle East has been a little behind on global pop culture, and Western-inflected pop music is a fairly recent cultural development. Today the entertainment industry in the Middle East is booming, and stars like Zoghbi take full advantage of the latest media and technology. Zoghbi’s videos are extremely corny and low-concept, but not much different from their Western counterparts (except in the conspicuous absence of gratuitous naked flesh, which is actually kind of nice.)

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