nilufer yanya's radical love for arabic and islamic ballads

For Valentine's Day, female artists from across the globe shared work inspired by ancient Arabic poems of love and lust. Here, London musician Nilufer Yanya shares the songs that pluck at her heart strings.

by i-D Staff and Frankie Dunn
15 February 2017, 5:08pm

Tired of a long history of hidden female voices, Radical Love is a collective of female artists from across the world finding inspiration in Arabic poems of love and lust from thousands of years ago. The group's new exhibition, Female Lustshares its members art alongside the poems that inspired them. The show is free and artwork available to buy; all profits will direct benefit The Global Fund for Women Refugees.

London musician Nilufer Yanya — featured in i-D's Class of 2017 — performed at last night's launch event in London. Together with her sister, Nilufer runs Artists in Transit, an art project for refugees in Athens. Their first zine, My Friend, launched last night, and will help fund the initiative. Let her introduce you to her favorite Arabic and Islamic love songs, for that post-Valentine's Day blues.

Maryam Saleh, "Nouh Al Hamam" 
"Egyptian singer songwriter with trip-hop and psych rock influences. Vibes."

Yasmine Hamdan, "Beirut"
"This song really makes me want to visit Beirut."

Mazi kalbimde Bir Yaradır, "Incesaz"
"Turkish group combining classical Turkish music and influences of tango."

Soapkills, "Tango"
"Soapkills were an influential Lebanese group that emerged in the late 90s, combining classical Arabic music with electronic music."

Mustafa Said, "Let Every Heart"
"Mustafa is a famous Egyptian singer, composer, and virtuoso Oud player."

Fadoul, "Sid Redad"
"This is a cover of James Brown's 'Papa's Got A New Bag' by 70s Moroccan funk musician, Fadoul. It was re-discovered by Jakarta Records & Habibi Funk in an electronics shop in Casablanca."

Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, "Namla"
"This is from Palestinian artist Abu Ghazaleh's third album called Thulth. The lyrics are taken from famous Arabic poems."


Text Frankie Dunn

Class of 2017
Radical Love
music interviews
artists in transit