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Unpacking Claims of "International Renown" in Arab Music: Nabil El Khalidi's Perspective

Wednesday 24 January 2024 - 16:22
Unpacking Claims of

Renowned Moroccan composer Nabil El Khalidi has ignited a spirited debate with his contention that neither Samira Said nor Saad Lamjarred can genuinely be considered artists of international renown. Making an appearance on the talk show "Rachid Show" alongside fellow musician Abdelali Anouar, El Khalidi articulated his perspective that the term "international" should be reserved for artists recognized globally, spanning from the United States to Asia, rather than confining acclaim to the Arab world.

Supporting his viewpoint, El Khalidi highlighted that while Samira Said is a celebrated singer in Egypt and other Arab nations, her contributions to the propagation of Moroccan song abroad have been limited. Notably, her most famous tracks are performed in the Egyptian dialect. Meanwhile, El Khalidi acknowledged Lamjarred's efforts to promote Moroccan music but still contested the notion of labeling him as an artist of global stature.

In a particularly contentious statement, El Khalidi asserted unequivocally that no Arab artist, past or present, has truly achieved worldwide renown. He pointed out that even concerts featuring Arab performers in European or American cities predominantly attract ethnic Arab audiences rather than mainstream foreign attendees.

El Khalidi's provocative assertions have reignited insightful discussions surrounding the persistent barriers faced by Arab artists striving for fame beyond their regional borders. Despite the massive popularity enjoyed by Said and Lamjarred at home and in the Middle East, questions arise: Do linguistic and cultural differences continue to hinder the boundary-crossing success achieved by stars from other parts of the world? El Khalidi contends that the conversation surrounding Arab artists and "international renown" warrants a more in-depth exploration.


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