I just finished watching a fairly recent interview with Jordanian singer Ruba Saqr, during which she talks about the censorship of musical expression in the Middle East. I enjoyed the interview a great deal, as some points she raised were spot on. I also enjoyed hearing her perform her song I’m a lantern, which is, as I understand it, dedicated to the city of Amman. Ruba’s voice is still just as beautiful as I remember from back in the days when I used to hear her perform in Amman.
Here is a blurb about her and her views.
Having worked as a reporter for several years, Ruba Saqr has written several articles to different Jordanian publications about the need to support underground musicians, and the need to change perceptions of musicians, in particular Arab female musicians in her part of the world. Ruba Saqr believes that female musicians are often reduced to being performers or singers and are seldom acknowledged by producers as full-fledged musicians who can write their own lyrics and music. She has experienced that some female musicians are pushed away from the music scene by society because it is not viewed as a "respectable" vocation, especially in traditional circles.
You can read more here. And you can hear more of her songs along with singer Ramzi Rais here. I love the improvisations on the song Gulli walla tahbaeeh ya 3ein. You can listen to it here. According to the website, Ruba is working on her debut album, which she expects to finish by the end of 2007. I wish her the best of luck.