|Lute and Oud players|
First of all. Happy Holi to all revelers in India and Indian communities across the world. May you, your clothes and your hair quickly recover!
Secondly, to all women who check in with the Dog from time to time, happy International Women’s Day! May you receive lots of flowers and good wishes from the other half of the human race. We couldn’t do it without you!
In third position, lets turn to tonight’s piece of musical bliss.
The oud or Arabic lute is one of my favorite instruments. It’s voice is lush and mellow. And in the hands of a good player the oud makes a very melodious companion.
Marcel Khalife is a Lebanese composer and oud ist (or is it oud er?) whose musical expression explores jazz, traditional maqam and classical music. Many of his compositions have given musical life to the lyrics of Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish. Their association and collaboration has endured for many years and goes to the political as well as the artistic. Khalife has never shied away from speaking his mind which has gotten him into hot water at home and abroad.
In one famous case, he inserted a line or two from the Quran into one of his compositions which brought the condemnation of most of the Sunni clergy in Lebanon. He was taken to court and faced a severe sentence but in the end the judge ruled that artistic expression cannot by definition ignore religious subjects and found in Khalife’s favor.
In 2005 the government of Tunisia banned Khalife’s music from being played on national radio and TV. The composer had, in a concert in Carthage, publicly criticised certain Arab governments for imprisoning their own citizens. The Tunisian rulers felt that cut a bit too close to the bone and declared his music haram (forbidden).
Over the years Khalife has performed with orchestras all around the world, including Australia, the US, UK and throughout the Middle East. His list of awards, including recognition by UNESCO in 2005 as an Artist for Peace, is long. On this record he plays oud in his own Concerto Al Andalus. The arrangements and pacing of the concert are beautifully conceived and his playing is ultra discrete and tasteful.
In addition to the Concerto the final 5 cuts explore a more jazzy and traditional performance style. All in all a wonderful album. I’ll have to go out and find more of Mr Khalife’s music as soon as possible.
01 Al Zagareed
03 Bint El Shalabeyya
04 Ya Banat Eskendereyah
05 Kadouka Al Mayas
06 Sirto Nakriz
08 Waltz Zangeran
09 Waltz Tazanween
10 Taqsim Hejaz Kar
11 Logna Nahawand
13 I pass by Your name
14 Passing Train
16 Night traveler
17 They Say