Music Between Cultures

    About Fikrun

    Fikrun wa Fann was a cultural magazine published by the Goethe Institute from 1963 to 2016 that supported and shaped the cultural exchange between Germany and Islamic countries. Together with the publishing of the last issue, “Flight and Displacement” (issue 105), in autumn of 2016 the maintenance and updating of this online portal was ceased.


    The Arab Spring of 2011, which no one would have predicted just twelve months ago, matured into summer and reached its apogee with the fall of Gaddafi. Now it has moved into autumn. By Stefan WeidnerMore ...
    Mohammed El Deeb. Photo: Mohammed El Deeb © Goethe-Institut

    Soundtrack of the Revolution
    Pop Music as Rebellion and Social Protest

    Many musicians in the Arab world have provided a musical accompaniment to the popular uprisings in the region, with events reflected in the lyrics of their songs. Their rebellious and politically loaded sounds serve as a mouthpiece for the disenfranchised and excluded urban youth. By Arian FariborzMore ...
    Mohammed El Deeb. Photo: Mohammed El Deeb © Goethe-Institut

    Interview with Mohammed El Deeb
    ‘I Protest through Songs and Poetry!’

    Mohammed El Deeb is an Egyptian hip-hop artist, poet and reporter who first appeared on the scene in 2005 with the Egyptian hip-hop group Asfalt. Arian Fariborz spoke to him about his music. By Arian FariborzMore ...
    Street Musician, Libanon. Photo: Thomas Burkhalter © Goethe-Institut

    World Music 2.0
    Between Fun and Protest Culture

    Musicians from Africa, Asia and Latin America are working with sounds and sound formations using the principles of avant-garde, pop avant-garde, and Jamaican ‘bass culture’. They are interacting in networks with musicians across the world and formulating confident ‘beyond colonial’ positions. By Thomas BurkhalterMore ...
    Musicians playing music in a traditional house, Marrakesh, Morocco. Photo: Markus Kirchgessner © Goethe-Institut

    Arabic Music and Its Development
    An Overview

    Arabic music can, broadly speaking, be divided into two styles, which can be clearly differentiated from one another: popular music, and so-called classical music. The following article is a simple introduction to the basics of Arabic music. By Suleman TaufiqMore ...
    Abed Azrié. Photo: Mohror © Goethe-Institut

    A Poet among Musicians
    An Interview with Abed Azrié

    The Syrian singer and composer Abed Azrié is blessed with an unforgettable voice. His baritone is expressive and full of emotion and is characterised by an insistent strength. Suleman Taufiq spoke to him about music and poetry. By Suleman TaufiqMore ...
    Marwan Abado. Photo: Bettina Frenzel © Goethe-Institut

    Marwan Abado
    ‘For Me, Exile Is a Place of Encounter and Development’

    Marwan Abado, born in Beirut in 1967, founded the band Abado & Co. The ensemble mixes elements of Oriental and Western music; strange and distinctive sounds form the basis for a type of music that is new and original. By Suleman TaufiqMore ...
    Rabih Abou-Khalil. Photo: Klaus Mümpfer © Goethe-Institut

    The Lebanese Musician Rabih Abou-Khalil
    ‘There Are Always Doors Between Cultures’

    Rabih Abou-Khalil’s music contains a whole spectrum of acoustic colour and music worlds. As a soloist on the oud, as well as in his role as a composer, he has succeeded in creating a music all his own. By Suleman TaufiqMore ...
    The Sarband Ensemble. Photo: Ensemble Sarband © Goethe-Institut

    The Sarband Ensemble
    A Bridge Between Orient and Occident

    The Sarband Ensemble unites musical traditions from Orient and Occident, past and contemporary, and mediates between medieval music and traditions that are still alive today. By Suleman TaufiqMore ...
    Dervish blowing a conch shell horn. Mian Mir, Lahore, Pakistan. Photo: Jürgen Frembgen © Goethe-Institut

    The Music Rooms of Lahore

    My real initiation in the traditional music culture of the Indian subcontinent began on 11th November 1996 in front of a hotel room in Lahore, Pakistan’s cultural metropolis. By Jürgen Wasim FrembgenMore ...
    Timbuktu, city of 333 saints. The fabled city of Timbuktu is not a myth; it does indeed exist, in northern Mali, on the edge of the Sahara. Photo: Horst Friedrichs © Goethe-Institut

    World Music’s New Mecca
    The Discovery of the Music of the Southern Sahara

    The music of the Tuareg, the nomads of the southern Sahara, is an ancient phenomenon, but it is experiencing a new and fascinating development under the auspices of globalisation. By Peter PannkeMore ...
    Scene from the opera Entführung aus dem Serail by Mozart, Staatsoper Munich. Photo: Wilfried Hösl © Goethe-Institut

    Salaam Aleikum Resounding from the Minaret
    Islam in European Classical Music

    Confronted with muezzins, Mecca pilgrims and houris, does anybody think of operas, oratorios and lieder? Yet European classical music is peopled with Arabs, Persians and Turks, and would sound quite different today had it not been influenced by the Orient … By Nadja KayaliMore ...
    Klash. Photo: Klash © Goethe-Institut

    ‘Klash’: King of Saudi Arabian Rap
    The Voice of Rejection, Rebellion, and Curse of Jeddah

    This article is about ‘Saudi rap’ and its development as an art of protest in Jeddah, the immigrant capital. It also examines the characteristics of the new Saudi culture, the art of rap and what sets it apart from the other Saudi forms of singing. By Ahmed Al-WaselMore ...


      Football match: Ludwigsburg v. Muntakhab Al Qahera. Photo: Claudia Wiens © Goethe-Institut

      Opportunities and Risks in the Epoch-Making Year 2011
      What the Revolutions Mean for the Relationship Between the West and the Islamic World

      Three of the longest-ruling Arab despots – Ben Ali in Tunisia, Mubarak in Egypt, and Gaddafi in Libya – have been driven out of office by their own people. How will these changes affect the relationship between the Islamic world and the West? By Stefan WeidnerMore ...
      Josef van Ess. Photo: Christian Meier © Goethe-Institut

      The Origins of Islam
      A Conversation with the German Islamic Scholar Josef van Ess

      Was Islam already a fully-formed religion when Mohammed presented his revelation? What exactly is it possible for us to know about early Islam, the first Islamic sects, and their religious orientation? By Christian MeierMore ...
      TASWIR – Utopia of Text, 2009. Photo: Di Mackey © Goethe-Institut, ha’atelier

      Somewhere Between Self-Assertion and Stereotyping: The Art Scene in the Arab World and Exhibition Policies since 9/11

      Since the Gulf Wars, and in the last decade in particular, there has been a noticeable increase in interest in contemporary artists from the Middle East, North Africa and Iran, and an increase in demand for corresponding exhibitions. By Lotte Fasshauer und Michaela KamburowaMore ...

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