Music of Jordan

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The traditional music of Jordan has a long history. Rural zajal songs, with improvised poetry played with a mijwiz, tablah, arghul, oud, rabab and reed pipe ensemble accompanying is popular. Recently Jordan has seen the rise of several prominent DJs and popstars.

Jordan Arab country in Western Asia

Jordan, officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is an Arab country in Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south and the east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and Israel and Palestine to the west. The Dead Sea is located along its western borders and the country has a short 26-kilometre (16 mi) coastline on the Red Sea in its extreme south-west, but is otherwise landlocked. Jordan is strategically located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe. The capital, Amman, is Jordan's most populous city as well as the country's economic, political and cultural centre.

Zajal form of oral strophic poetry

Zajal is a traditional form of oral strophic poetry declaimed in a colloquial dialect. While there is little evidence of the exact origins of the zajal, the earliest recorded zajal poet was the poet Ibn Quzman of al-Andalus who lived from 1078 to 1160. It is generally conceded that the early ancestors of Levantine dialectical poetry were the Andalusian zajal and muwashshaḥah, brought to Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean by Arabs fleeing Spain in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. An early master of Egyptian zajal was the fourteenth century zajjāl Abu ʿAbd Allāh al-Ghubārī. Zajal's origins may be ancient but it can be traced back to at least the 12th century. It is most alive in Lebanon today, and the Maghreb and particularly Algeria, and in the Levant, especially in Lebanon, Palestine and in Jordan where professional zajal practitioners can attain high levels of recognition and popularity. Zajal is semi-improvised and semi-sung and is often performed in the format of a debate between zajjalin. It is usually accompanied by percussive musical instruments and a chorus of men who sing parts of the verse.

The mijwiz is a traditional Middle East musical instrument popular in Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Its name originated from Cananite/Aramaiic language to Arabic,(because more than 5000 Aramaiic terms are added to Arabic language) in Arabic means "dual," because of its consisting of two, short, bamboo reed pipes put together, making the mijwiz a double-pipe, single-reed woodwind instrument. The mijwiz consists of two pipes of equal length; each pipe has around five or six small holes for fingering. It requires a special playing technique known as "circular breathing," which is tricky but produces a continuous tone, without pausing to take a breath. The mijwiz is played in the Levant as an accompaniment to either belly dancing or dabke, the folkloric line dance of the Levant. The mijwiz is most popular today in the Levant (Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Many popular folk songs either include the mijwiz on recordings, or include the instrument's name in the song's lyrics. One example is the famous Lebanese dabke song "Jeeb el Mijwiz ya Abboud" by the singer Sabah.


Shababa, mijwiz and yarghul Museu de la Mediterrania de Torroella de Montgri (84)- mijwes jordania.jpg
Shababa, mijwiz and yarghul

Traditional Jordanian musical instruments

Flute Musical instrument of the woodwind family

The flute is a family of musical instruments in the woodwind group. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening. According to the instrument classification of Hornbostel–Sachs, flutes are categorized as edge-blown aerophones. A musician who plays the flute can be referred to as a flute player, flautist, flutist or, less commonly, fluter or flutenist.

Reed pipe Type of organ pipe

A reed pipe is an organ pipe that is sounded by a vibrating brass strip known as a reed. Air under pressure is directed towards the reed, which vibrates at a specific pitch. This is in contrast to flue pipes, which contain no moving parts and produce sound solely through the vibration of air molecules. Reed pipes are common components of pipe organs.

The arghul, also spelled argul, arghoul, arghool, argol, or yarghul, is a musical instrument in the reed family. It has been used since Ancient Egyptian times and is still used as a traditional instrument in Egypt and Palestine.

Hani Mitwasi Haniataconcert.jpg
Hani Mitwasi

The musician and composer Sameer Baghdadi, the Bedouin singer Omar Al-Abdallat (known for his patriotic song "Hashemi, Hashemi"), Diana Karazon (winner of the Arab version of Pop Idol), Toni Qattan and singer Hani Mitwasi (the winner of the Jordan Awards 2010) [1] are perhaps Jordan's biggest stars. [2] Other well-known Jordanian musicians are Qamar Badwan, who won the golden prize in the 2000 Cairo Song Festival, percussionist Hani Naser, and the pianist, and composer Khalid Asad.

Omar Al-Abdillat is a Jordanian singer-songwriter credited with popularizing Bedouin music. He has produced and/or performed a number of the most famous Jordanian patriotic standards, including "Hashimi, Hashimi" and "Jeishana" in addition to traditional Jordanian songs. He has also represented Jordan in several multicultural events throughout the world. He is also popular in the various cities of other Arab countries.

National anthem Song that represents a country or sovereign state


Toni Qattan Arab musician

Toni Qattan is a Jordanian-Palestinian singer, Song-writer and producer. A musical prodigy, at the age of eight he began learning to play guitar in addition to piano. He then studied composing and singing. Qattan also holds a bachelor's degree in Business Management from the University of Applied Science in Amman.

A new age group called Rum has gained regional and international popularity since its inception in 1998. Rum is considered the most successful Jordanian musical group, and has gained a wide range of fans from all over the world. Rum has performed in Tunisia, Morocco, Syria, Palestine, Turkey, Kazakhstan, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and the United States. A very important factor that contributed to Rum group's huge success is the fact that the group performs original compositions by Tareq al Nasser (the composer, founder and leader of the group), many of which were composed for Arabic TV drama series that gained wide popularity in the Arab world, including the TV drama series Nihayat Rajol Shuja, Al Jawareh and Al Kawaser, Al Malek Farouq, Yawmeyyat Mudeer Amm, and many others. The group performs instrumentals, songs, and rearranged Jordanian folklore. Rum group has represented Jordan in many international events, including at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in March 2009 as part of the "Arabesque .. Arts of the Arab world" festival in the United States.

New-age music is a genre of music intended to create artistic inspiration, relaxation, and optimism. It is used by listeners for yoga, massage, meditation, reading as a method of stress management to bring about a state of ecstasy rather than trance, or to create a peaceful atmosphere in their home or other environments, and is associated with environmentalism and New Age spirituality.

Tunisia Country in Northern Africa

Tunisia, officially the Tunisian Republic, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa, covering 163,610 square kilometres. Its northernmost point, Cape Angela, is the northernmost point on the African continent. It is bordered by Algeria to the west and southwest, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Tunisia's population was 11.435 million in 2017. Tunisia's name is derived from its capital city, Tunis, which is located on its northeast coast.

Morocco Country in North Africa

Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a sovereign state located in the Maghreb region of North Africa. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Morocco claims the areas of Ceuta, Melilla and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, all of them under Spanish jurisdiction. The capital is Rabat and the largest city Casablanca. Morocco spans an area of 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi) and has a population of over 35 million.

In Amman, the capital of Jordan, there has been a movement of alternative music in the last two decades. Rock bands that mix western and eastern influences are becoming more popular. Rock and underground bands in the late 90's and early 2000 such as Ethereal, sign of thyme and others were known for mixing oriental with rock or jazz music.

Amman City in Amman Governorate, Jordan

Amman is the capital and most populous city of Jordan, and the country's economic, political and cultural centre. Situated in north-central Jordan, Amman is the administrative centre of the Amman Governorate. The city has a population of 4,007,526 and a land area of 1,680 square kilometres. Today, Amman is considered to be among the most modernized Arab cities. It is a major tourist destination in the region, particularly among Arab and European tourists.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily from the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly from a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

The alternative Jordanian music scene flourished with bands such as JadaL (2003), Autostrad (band) (2007), Akher Zapheer (2007), El Morabba3(2008), Aziz Maraka, Yazan Haifawi and others reaching regional success and international recognition.


Jadal is a Jordanian Arabic Rock band and music project from Amman, Jordan, formed in 2003 by Composer/Music Producer/Guitarist Mahmoud Radaideh, which has held various members over the years.

ِAutostrad is a Jordanian indie band from Amman, Jordan, formed in 2007.

Akher Zapheer Jordanian rock band

Akher Zapheer is a Jordanian Grunge Punk, Arabic Rock band from Amman, Jordan, formed in late 2007.

Arabic hip hop and Arabic rap artists in Jordan have added to the musical scene. These artists includes names like El Far3i, Amer Al Taher, U-Seff Qasrawi, Khotta Ba, Torabyeh, Arab Mc's and Al Hevy.

Jordan also has an underground heavy metal scene with bands such as Tyrant Throne (death metal), Relics of Martyrs (thrash/death metal), Chalice of Doom (doom/death metal), Bilocate (doom/death metal), Esodic (thrash/death metal), Eternal Insomnia (melodic death metal), and Ajdath, who currently reside in Poland. Other bands, like Augury (black metal) and Darkcide (doom/death metal) had to stop due to lack of support or to band members leaving the country.

Some of the most important musicians in Jordan are the Faqir family, which extends back for more than 100 years. Jordan's western radio station, Play 99.6, works towards exposing new local artists, including many western pop singers such as Humam Ammari, Al'a Ayyoub, and Walid Karadsheh. And of various industries and music genres, the number of female musicians and composers of Jordanian nationality is growing. Some to mention are: Ghiya Rushidat, Hana Malhas, Ruba Saqr, Sahar Khalifeh, Suad Lakišić Bushnaq, and Zeina Azouqah.

The thriving indie rock scene was achieved thanks to artists such as Kais Khoury, Ibrahim Baggili, Hani Mitwasi and Yousef Kawar, as well as the Cowboys from Jordan, a band managed by Yousef Kawar. Other notable genres in Jordan are hip hop; which was popularized through DJ Shadia (Shadia Bseiso) through her regional radio show The 5th Element, the only show in the Middle East to broadcast in three different countries every week (Jordan, Lebanon and Syria) from 2005 to 2008. DJ Shadia had previously opened for global stars such as Akon, 50 Cent, Sean Paul and Massari. Other popular hip hop artists include Last Standing Poet and MC Niz-r.

As of recent times, Jordan's electronic music scene is rising rapidly among the Jordanian youth, and house music has become a staple in the musical tastes in Jordan. Many raves and underground techno gatherings occur, and electronic music is currently reaching number one status among music genres in Jordan.

A classical composer Zade Dirani, an internationally known composer and pianist, releasing his newest album named Mediterrani.

See also

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The music of Iraq or Iraqi music,, also known as the Music of Mesopotamia encompasses the music of a number of ethnic groups and musical genres. Ethnically, it includes Arabic music, Assyrian, Kurdish and the music of Turkmen, among others. Apart from the traditional music of these peoples, Iraqi music includes contemporary music styles such as pop, rock, soul and urban contemporary.

The music of Lebanon has a long history. Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon, has long been known, especially in a period immediately following World War II, for its art and intellectualism. Several singers emerged in this period, among the most famous Fairuz, Sabah, Wadih El Safi, Nasri Shamseddine, Melhem Barakat, Salwa Katrib, Majida El Roumi, Ahmad Kaabour, Marcel Khalife,, and Ziad Rahbany, who—in addition to being an engaged singer-songwriter and music composer—was also a popular playwright. Lydia Canaan was hailed by the media as the first rock star of the Middle East.

Bilocate is a Dark Oriental metal band from Amman, Jordan, founded in 2002 by Ramzi Essayed, Waseem Essayed and Hani Al Abbadi. The band's style combines doom metal, death metal and black metal with Oriental elements.

Tawfiq Nimri was a Jordanian singer and composer.


Dabke is a native Levantine folk dance performed by the Lebanese, Jordanians, Syrians, Palestinians and Iraqis Dabke combines circle dance and line dancing and is widely performed at weddings and other joyous occasions. The line forms from right to left and leader of the dabke heads the line, alternating between facing the audience and the other dancers. In English, it can be transcribed as dabka, dabki, dabkeh.

Culture of Jordan culture of an area

The culture of Jordan is based in Arabic and Islamic elements with significant Western influence. Jordan stands at the intersection of the three continents of the ancient world, lending it geographic and population diversity. Notable aspects of the culture include traditional music and clothing of Jordan, and interest in sports. These include football and basketball as well as other imported sports, mainly from western Europe and the United States.

Christianity in Jordan

Jordan contains some of the oldest Christian communities in the world, their presence dating back to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ early in the 1st century AD. Christians today make up about 4% of the population, down from 20% in 1930, but their absolute numbers increased. This is due to high immigration rates of Muslims into Jordan, higher emigration rates of Christians to the west and higher birth rates for Muslims. Jordanian Christians number around 250,000, all of whom are Arabic-speaking, according to a 2014 estimate by the Orthodox Church. The study excluded minority Christian groups and the thousands of western, Iraqi and Syrian Christians residing in Jordan.

Arab Radio and Television Network is an Arabic-language television network characterized by its multitude of channels. It is based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Ilham al-Madfai musician

Ilham al-Madfai is an Iraqi guitarist, singer and composer. al-Madfai's synthesis of Western guitar stylings with traditional Iraqi music has made him a popular performer in his native country and throughout the Middle East. Beginning in 1999, al-Madfai released a string of albums on EMI's label, including his platinum eponymous debut, Ilham al-Madfai (1999), Live at the Hard Rock Cafe (2001), Baghdad (2003) and The Voice of Iraq: The Best of Ilham al-Madfai (2005). In 2009, Al-Madfai released Dishdasha. His Western-inspired compositions led to a nickname; "The Baghdad Beatle".

Khyam Allami is a British-based musician and musicologist of Iraqi descent. He is best known as a contemporary player of the Arabic oud lute and has also written about and lectured on Arabic music.

Rami is a prominent musician in the Jordanian metal scene. He is well known for his distinct guitar work in the band Bilocate.

Fakhri Kawar is a Jordanian writer and parliamentarian. He was born in the Jordanian town of Al-Jafour near the border city of Mafraq in 1945. He was educated in Jerusalem and received the General Secondary Education Certificate (Tawjihi) from the Ibrahimieh College in Jerusalem in 1964. He later enrolled in Beirut Arab University to earn a BA in Arabic Language and Literature in 1971.

El Morabba3 is a Jordanian Arabic rock band from Amman, Jordan, formed in 2009.


Jobedu is a Jordanian lifestyle brand, producing and selling streetwear and accessories blending Arab culture with global popular culture. Founded as a startup in 2007, the company grew through a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign. Jobedu has become the center of a creative movement gathering artists, writers, musicians, and especially the street artists of Amman. It supports and promotes Jordanian alternative music and film industry.

Hani Mitwasi Jordanian singer

Hani Mitwasi is a Jordanian singer-musician who is famous for singing in the ‘Spanish-Levant' music genre. After several years of following his passion of the Spanish and Flamenco music, He got his BA in music science at the 'Jordan Academy of Music in 2005, in addition to his 5 years of studying the flamenco guitar.

Shadia Bseiso is a Jordanian TV presenter, jiu-jitsu practitioner and professional wrestler currently signed to WWE. In October 2017, Bseiso became the first Arab female wrestler from the Middle East to sign a contract with WWE, the world's largest wrestling promotion company.


  1. Jordan Awards 2010
  2. Badley and al Jundi, pg. 392