Culture
400

Prince of Enchantment: The 'Ud

Often regarded as the forerunner and name- sake of the European lute, the ‘ud (oud), is among the world’s oldest continuously played string instruments. In Arab and other musical traditions, its deeply resonant, emotionally evocative tones earned it, over the centuries, the sobriquet amir al-tararb.
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Prince of Enchantment: The 'Ud

400

The Hidden Treasures of Nubia

To the south of ancient Egypt, there was another civilization, at times a rival, at times a vassal, and always a source for coveted gold: Nubia, which rose to its peak of conquest 2,700 years ago when its king, Piye, sailed an army down the Nile.
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The Hidden Treasures of Nubia

400

Gahwa Renaissance

Preparing, serving and sipping gahwa—the Arabic word for coffee—is a ritual steeped in centuries of hospitality. In December in Abu Dhabi, the inaugural Gahwa Championships honored not only tradition but also innovation.

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Gahwa Renaissance

400

Sepak Takraw Takes Flight

Take the Malay word for kick and pair it with the Thai word for a hollow, woven ball and you have sepak takraw, the name of the acrobatic, lightning-fast Southeast Asian sport in which players use feet, legs, chest and head—no hands—to power a ball over a badminton-style net. (Think “kick volleyball.”) It’s been played across the region for more than three centuries, and recent decades have brought international agreements on rules that have led in turn to local and national leagues, tournaments in schools and capitals—all pushing sepak takraw onto an increasingly global sports stage. With more than two dozen countries now fielding national teams, the sport’s leading promoters have set their eyes on the Olympics.
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  • Culture

Sepak Takraw Takes Flight

400

The Middle East on a Plate

His roadside discovery of a discarded Lebanese license plate kindled the author’s 30-year passion for license plates from the Middle East and North Africa. Along the way, he often found pleasant and humorous stories, as well as bright artifacts of the diversity of daily life.
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  • People

The Middle East on a Plate

400

Tinariwen's Sahara Blues

Coming out of the struggles of post colonial desert Africa, Tuareg band Tinariwen adapted blues rock ‘n‘ roll guitars to North African traditions. The result has been nearly four decades of a sound that has inspired an entire genre of “desert blues,” in which themes of loss, home, hope and unity transcend language for audiences around the world.
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Tinariwen's Sahara Blues

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