17 thoughts on “Marcel Khalife, Master of Lebanese Oud, Banned by Salvation Army, Performs in Seattle – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. You love spouting off your condescending ‘open mindedness’ when it comes Walt Mearsheimer, or Al Bana’s grandson etc…. but when it comes to someone who is by your definition a “right wing zionist” or “fascist” as you love to throw out that word… overused and trite at this point… suddenly you huff and puff and throw out names like a demagogue from his perch…

    Do you not even get tired of your own hypocrisy and self congratulatory ‘moral superiority’ game?

  2. when it comes to someone who is by your definition a “right wing zionist” or “fascist” as you love to throw out that word… overused and trite at this point… suddenly you huff and puff and throw out names like a demagogue from his perch…

    Since you’ve posted completely off topic in a post having nothing to do with whatever you’re “on” about I haven’t a clue what or who you’re talking about. The only time I’ve used the term ‘fascist’ here is in talking about David Yerushalmi, who IS a Jewish fascist. So, no, I don’t “throw” out that word. Though I do use the term “right-wing” when speaking about Kahanists, Steven Plaut, Masada2000, Rachel Neuwirth, Alan Dershowitz, Daniel Pipes, Aussie Dave & other Jewish reprobates. What would you have me call them, “Jewish moderates” as you no doubt believe them to be?

    Do you not even get tired of your own hypocrisy and self congratulatory ‘moral superiority’ game?

    I never get tired of getting a rise out of people like you.

  3. “A rise out of me”…..

    It’s funny when it suits you you admit to playing your arrogant name calling game…
    but when it doesn’t suit you – ie.. when you are embarrassed or don’t like the “free speech” of others… well then Big Brother Richard huffs and puffs and deletes comments…. while making up some “moral high ground” as to justify his poor bruised ego…

    Again, that’s called hypocrisy, something you may be able to get away with on your blog, but not in person… As I said you wouldn’t speak in this way to me man to man. Which is why I find it laughable when you act like the spoiled baby on your weblog.
    How’s that for bluntness.

  4. when you are embarrassed

    “Embarrassed?” By you? That’s a laugh.

    you wouldn’t speak in this way to me man to man.

    Are you challenging me to fisticuffs? Or a duel? How quaint.


    I’d prefer calling it “obtuseness” but you can call it whatever you wish.

  5. Richard,

    What’s this sudden pro-Swiss line you’re taking? Didn’t the Swiss have trouble with the Hapsburgs in the Middle Ages? Don’t you think that the Kroc Theater should insist on equal time for Mozart or another Austrian every time the William Tell Overture is performed? (This is sarcasm about making enjoyable music subject to politics, for the sarcasm impaired.)

  6. I’ll have to check out Marcel Khalife’s music and this oud instrument. I don’t think I’ve heard it before (though maybe I have and I didn’t know it). I’m ignorant of a lot of music from that part of the world, but I’ve enjoyed the small amount of Arab as well as Israeli music that I’ve heard. It also seems like there’s a lot of interesting potential artistic avenues with the intersection of European (Western) and Middle Eastern music. I mostly listen to classical and jazz, but not enough world music.

    It’s sad to see this kind of censorship, especially since it seems that music can be a bridge to bring people together. That’s one of the things I appreciate about Daniel Barenboim’s Eastern/Western workshop thing. Culture should be a meeting point and zone of interaction, among other things.

  7. you wouldn’t speak in this way to me man to man.
    Are you challenging me to fisticuffs? Or a duel? How quaint.

    No, not what I was thinking. You would lose live from an impression stand point and you would never challenge anyone to a fisticuffs… let alone me… which is why you act like a spoiled big mouth on here.
    Perhaps the ‘fisticuffs or duel’ was your dreamworld subconscious coming to the fore.

  8. You are so tiresome. I’m going to send you on forced sabbatical back to whatever right wing pro Israel world you come from. Insulting me is a violation of the comment rules which are linked in the sidebar. You’ll have to find another blogger to insult fr. now on.

  9. I was preparing a more detailed response, but your system blew it out. Suffice it to say that, while the Salvation Army’s policy was most unfortunate, it made me chuckle just a little to hear that an over-politicized and (IMHO) boring performer had some sh—ty politics come back to bite him on the rear (remember Khalife’s 2001 withdrawal from WOMAD due to the participation of an Israeli [principled Leftist Chava Alberstein]). There are so many talented, underappreciated Palestinian performers who deserve at least a little bit of the attention that Lebanese Khalife receives as a “representative” of Palestine.


  10. I read that Khalife wouldn’t perform with Chava Albertstein which was most unfortunate though this happened during an intifada when tempers were very high over Israeli violence against Palestinians.

    The Salvation Army didn’t eject Khalife because of what happened with Chava Alberstein. They didn’t know anything about him other than that he was Arab & Middle Eastern. They rejected him because they feared a backlash fr. the local Jewish community. If anything they feared the sponsor & not the performer.

    Oh do tell us how much you know about Palestinian performers & who you would recommend. I’d really like to hear whether you know a whit about anything you’re talking about.

    Khalife is not a “representative” of Palestine as he is not Palestinian. He is Lebanese. Considering how little you know about Khalife I wonder whether you know anything at all about Palestinian music or are just blowing steam.

  11. Richard,

    Reading your comments, it’s hard to be sure that you actually read my post. It seems as if you only perused it and assumed that I am an ignorant right-wing Zionist. As I said, I had prepared a more complete response, but your system blew it out.

    Show me where I said that the Salvation Army rejected Khalife BECAUSE of the Alberstein incident. You can’t, because I didn’t. I merely said that I had a chuckle, because an overpoliticized bore of a performer got 86’ed because of politics. What goes around comes around. Note again that I said that it was “most unfortunate” and that the politics behind SA’s decision were “sh—ty.” BTW, Khalife was not scheduled to perform “with” Alberstein at WOMAD; he refused to participate in that same festival as an Israeli and because presence was subsidized by the Israeli government (which is not unusual behavior for a social democracy). (I also find Chava Alberstein’s music rather uninteresting, though I appreciate her political courage. It’s just that she doesn’t have the audience base, i.e., 20+ Arabic speaking nations, that Khalife does. Hence perhaps the need for a subsidy…)

    As far as Lebanese Khalife not being treated/packaged as a “representative” of the Palestinians (to the detriment of actual Palestinian performers), see, for example:
    Category:Palestinian music
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search
    Palestinian music.

    Pages in category “Palestinian music”
    There are 3 pages in this section of this category.

    Checkpoint 303
    The Hawk of Lebanon
    Marcel Khalife
    Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Palestinian_music

    My original post included the names and web pages of Palestinian performers, for example:

    1) Marwan Abado – http://marwan-abado.net/
    2) Samer Totah – http://www.samertotah.com/
    3) Moniem Adwan – http://www.moneimadwan.com/
    4) Joubran brothers: – http://www.letriojoubran.com/
    5) Kamilya Jubran – http://www.kamilyajubran.com/
    6) Sameer Makhoul – http://www.olamale.com/htmls/sameer.htm
    7) Adel Salameh – http://www.adelsalameh.com/
    8) Issa Boulos – http://www.issaboulos.com/index.html
    9) Amal Murkus – http://www.dirtylinen.com/linen/83/amal.html
    10) Sabreen – http://www.sabreen.org/
    11) Haytham Safia – http://www.haythamsafia.com/
    12) Taiseer Elias – http://www.oud.eclipse.co.uk/elias.html
    13) Kamil Shajrawi: – http://www.kamilshajrawi.com/html/main.html

    In my original (destroyed) post, I noted that I am a professional ‘ud player (though I don’t claim to be an “ustad” – I have a day job) and that Marcel Khalife’s music lacks “tarab,” an Arabic term which you are no doubt familiar with, if you know a whit about traditional Arabic music and culture. The seven Marcel Khalife recordings (including cassettes I bought in Israel, where his music was sold openly) I own all live in my basement, not in the living room, since I never listen to them. Personally, “Ana Yousif Ya Abi,” (the song for which Khalife was tried in Lebanon for “blasphemy”) is the only cut on the “Arabic Cofeepot” album that I like, the rest sounding to me like kitchy Stalinist agitprop. Musical taste is of course totally subjective…

    I’m not in the habit of posting without knowing something about the topic and doing some fact-checking.


  12. Hi Richard,

    You made a couple of accusations/insinuations in your 2/25 post. I responded and included substantive information in my (admittedly long) 2/27 reply. Are you going to allow my 2/27 reply to be posted?


  13. John: Did it ever occur to you that perhaps I misunderstood what you meant because YOU weren’t clear? You wrote that “shitty politics” came back to bite him in the read end. I had no idea what shitty politics you were talking about–whether it was Khalife’s prior political decision not the appear at WOMAD; or Khalife’s own personal politics; or the politics of those who rejected his performance in San Diego. I assumed you meant Khalife’s own political views when it appears you were referring to the Salvation Army’s decision.

    I don’t know as much about Middle Eastern music as you do. But I like Khalife very much. I just heard Simon Shaheen perform here a few weeks ago & found his work less compelling & even more crossover than Khalife’s. As for the Palestinian performers you mention I’d heard of only a few of them. This site features a song co-written by David Broza & Murad of Sabreen. I’m very interested in Palestinian music & if you’re willing to share any of it with me or point me to places where I can hear it I’d be grateful.

    And pls also don’t assume that because your comment wasn’t immediately published it was because I refused to do so. My spam filter captured it because of the multiple URLs & I had no idea you’d submitted it & it’d been caught.

  14. Hi Richard,

    My post was less clear than it would have been had my original post not been blown out. I was probably writing in a bit of a snit. (There was something wrong with the email address I inputed, and your system wouldn’t let me correct it without hitting the “back” button…).

    I knew that you would have discretion to post the message that was caught by the filter (there was an “error” message, so I knew it was caught by the filter), I just posted the other message just in case you were considering not allowing the post.

    I didn’t mention Simon Shaheen because I feel he gets a fair amount of attention. Also, I am not really into the fusion-oriented music he has recorded with Qantara. However, there are a couple of videos of him on YouTube performing traditional taqasim (improvised solos). His level of technical skill is very high.

    Almost all of the web links I provided have sound samples. I have tried unsuccessfully to get the two major Arab-American music distributors (Rashid Sales and Maqam.com) to carry Samer Totah’s CDs. I highly recommend Marwan Abado’s CD “Marakeb,” which should be available in the US.

    I would be happy to discuss Palestinian music and musicians (and Marcel Khalife, whom I met once) further via email.


  15. Richard,

    Forgive me for beating a dead horse or engaging in a “Parthian shot” here, but one point has been swimming around in my head: Knowing what I know about Marcel Khalife and his politics, I strongly doubt that the situation on the ground in Israel and Palestine had much to do with his decision to boycott the WOMAD festival. I would bet that Khalife is enough of a categorical anti-Zionist that he would refuse to share a program with an Israeli under pretty much any circumstances. (I did troll a few of years worth of concert listings on his web page, to see if he may have shared a program with an Israeli—certainly doesn’t look like it.) In this he is more insistent than most Palestinian performers I know of (including almost all those I listed above), who regularly perform with pro-peace Israelis. If I had more time and energy, I would try to organize a concert tour for Adel Salameh, who has expressed interest to me in doing a “peace concert” tour (his Algerian wife is a talented singer, and he has some top-notch Israeli musicians on tap). A good project?


  16. I’ve very interested in helping organize such a concert here in Seattle if a performer would be interested in coming. I’m not a producer but I could help introduce a performer to some local presenters.

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