Research on Libyan Nawba Music | بحوث في النوبة الليبية

Two studies on a type of traditional Libyan music called nawba (النوبة) appeared in 2012. The first is by a Maltese academic who conducted fieldwork in Libya and interviewed many well-known musicians (such as Hassan al-Areibi حسن العريبي).

  • Ciantar, Philip. 2012. The Ma’lūf in Contemporary Libya: An Arab Andalusian Musical Tradition. London: Ashgate.

More information can be found at the publisher’s site, including the table of contents and Preface. The title translates to “المعلوف في ليبيا المعاصرة: تقليد موسيقي عربي اندلسي”. From the publisher’s description:

“The musical tradition of Ma’luf is believed to have come to North Africa with Muslim and Jewish refugees escaping the Christian reconquista of Spain between the tenth and seventeenth centuries. Although this Arab Andalusian music tradition has been studied in other parts of the region, until now, the Libyan version has not received Western scholarly attention.

This book investigates the place of this orally-transmitted music tradition in contemporary Libyan life and culture. It investigates the people that make it and the institutions that nurture it as much as the tradition itself. Patronage, music making, discourse both about life and music, history, and ideology all unite in a music tradition which looks innocent from the outside but appears quite intriguing and intricate the more one explores it.”

nawba-selectionThe second is a PhD thesis by a Libyan student at the Free University, Berlin. Both a summary in English as well as the entire PDF (in German) are available. The thesis provides a wealth of detail and analysis of individual nawba melodies and lyrics (including sheet music), but remains unpublished as far as I can tell.

  • El-Ageli, Muftah Ali. 2012. Die Andalusische Nauba in Libyen: Struktur und Aufführungspraxis. Ph.D. Thesis, Freie Universität Berlin.

The title translates to “The Andalusian Nawba in Libya: structure and performance practice” and “النوبة الاندلسية في ليبيا: هيكلها و ممارسة اداءها”.

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