« Program: African Slaves in Islamic Lands

The Arabization of North Africa

This program vividly evokes the Arab conquest of much of North Africa between the 7th and 11th century. The story begins in the early days of Islam when Romans and Berbers held sway in the region. The initial Arab forays were relatively superficial, but lasting transformation came with the sweep of the Bani Hilal clan starting in the 10th century. Of course, we cannot know what music sounded like so long ago, but music helps evoke these dramatic times. Many modern Arabic musical pieces preserve accounts and memories of the Bani Hilal’s advance, and the Sufi sects of North and West Africa have rich musical traditions associated with them. Our guide in this historical journey will be Dwight Reynolds, professor of Religious Studies at the University of California in Santa Barbara. Produced by Banning Eyre.