5 Must-See Music Documentaries from the Middle East
The region is popular for its culture and heritage, and this includes its music. Whether it's traditional or contemporary, Middle Eastern music has been quite influential on listeners across various demographics. If you want to learn more about music in the Middle East, and the musicians behind the tunes, then you're in luck! We've gathered a list of 5 must-see documentaries you ought to watch, so let's have a look at each!
We Loved Each Other So Much (2003)
Renowned singer Fairouz, whose real name is Nouhad Wadie’ Haddad, is an icon in the region and arguably the most beloved diva in Lebanon, with her songs resonating with fans of various demographics. "We Loved Each Other So Much" takes a look at the life of the iconic singer, her fans, and narrates the tragic, stirring history of the Lebanese capital during the 15-year-long civil war.
El Gusto (2011)
"El Gusto" is an award-winning documentary that looks at coexistence amongst musicians during Algeria's golden age. It the story of an orchestra of Jewish and Muslim Chaabi musicians torn apart by a civil war that ravaged for decades, and also features their surprising reunion after 50 years of hiatus.
Electro Chaabi (2013)
"Electro Chaabi" takes a look at the populist dance music during Egypt's revolution, its roots in the Chaabi neighborhood, and how it took the world by storm. Essentially, the documentary presents a local dance that combines music genres such as folk music, electro, and freestyle, and also serves as a healthy outlet for Egypt's youths prior to the revolution.
Yallah! Underground (2015)
"Yalla! Underground" follows key and progressive underground artists from Cairo, Beirut, Amman and Ramallah. Filmed between 2009 and 2014, the documentary highlights the works by young artists hoping to express their liberal views prior to the Arab Spring, and the old and new challenges facing them while holding onto hope for a brighter future.
Heavy Metal in Baghdad (2007)
The Middle East is no stranger to experimenting with music genres outside the classic Arabic and folk tunes, and the Iraqi metal band "Acrassicauda" is definitely no exception. This 2007 documentary by Vice follows two filmmakers, Suroosh Alvi and Eddy Morreti, as they track down the band members and learn how they had been coping in war-torn Baghdad.