When some friends asked me to recommend some inspiring contemporary Arab music, I immediately thought of Hisham Alhegelan, bypassing the heavyweights and the obvious names that have become much of an overkill.
Hisham is a US-based Arab composer and musician who lived in Venezuela, Denmark, the UK and the US among other places (being the son of a Saudi diplomat). His New Age music has been marked by this cultural baggage, but it remains predominantly Arab in spirit. The exotic desert-inspired tunes are surprisingly fused with occasional electric guitar solos and dreamy synthesizers, all perfectly balanced.
His debut album (released in collaboration with other artists under the name ‘Hisham’) was released in 1993, titled ‘Somewhere in a Dream,’ but it was his second album -released in 1995- that really established his name. This album, titled ‘World of Absence’, has some of the best Arab New Age instrumental music that you can ever come across (Arab in spirit and inspiration).
The track ‘Sarajevo’ from ‘Somewhere in a Dream’ inspired a big benefit concert held in 1993 in Los Angeles, where Hisham shared the stage with such names as Kitaro, Yanni, Jon Anderson (former lead vocalist of YES), Dave Mason and Alan Parsons. Personally, I prefer his second album, and I would like to recommend the following tracks:
Track 2 – Fire From Within:
Track 3 – Pegasus:
Track 6 – Alef:
Track 10 – World of Absence:
Track 11 – The Edge of the Sword:
Track 13 – Call of the Syren: