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Emotion, Performance, and Temporality in Arab Music: Reflections on Tarab

Essay From Excerpt

"It is a late autumn day in Damascus, and I am back paying a visit to my friend "Adil al-Zaki. owner of the Sham Dan cassette shop. Mr. Zaki's shop has "everything," including nearly half a million recordings in a variety of formats, mostly cassettes, of older Arab music and music from around the world. Zaki is a jocular octogenarian, somewhat round of belly and quick of smile, and a great enthusiast of Arab music—the "good music," as he would put it. and not the modern popular songs, for which he has little regard. Whenever I visited him I would generally sit for an hour or so while we listened to various artists—whomever he happened to be making a tape of at the time or others according to his mood: the great Egyptian artists Umm Kulthum and Muhammad "Abd al-Wahhab, of course, but also Indonesian Qur'an readers. Persian oud players, all-women orchestras from Tunisia, and others, both famous and ob- scure. We'd sip little glasses of coffee, sit back in our chairs, and enjoy the music—as we did that autumn afternoon."

"Emotion, Performance, and Temporality in Arab Music: Reflections on Tarab," Jonathan H. Shannon (72).

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