LUTE AND SONG
The Syrian lute player and singer, Waed Bouhassoun has a singing voice of rare quality that brings her close to the famous Arab song voices of the thirties, such as Oum Kalthoum and Asmahan. She soon performed on stage in Paris at the Maison des Cultures du Monde and the Institut du Monde Arabe in 2006 with the greatest success.
Back in Syria, Waed played a series of concerts, in particular at the Opera of Damascus. Still in 2006, she was invited to many festivals and in 2008, she was, along with Curro and Carlos Piñana, the star of the inauguration concert for “Damascus, cultural capital of the Arab world” at the Ambassadors’ Room of the Alhambra in Grenada. While accompanying herself at the oud, she interpreted poems by Wallada and Ibn Zaydoun that she put to music. The concert was broadcast by several Arab television channels. In March 2008, Waed presented singed poems of the great mystic Rabi’a al’Adawiya as a worldwide creation at the Auditorium of the Bastille Opéra in Paris, as part of the Festival de l’Imaginaire (Imaginary Festival)
In the following years, she received many awards and imposed herself in Europe, either on her own or accompanied. She often plays in Jordi Savall’s ensembles with whom she recorded several discs.
Having obtained a diploma from the Higher Institute of Music of Damascus in 2003, Moslem Rahal chose to specialise in the Ney technique. A soloist in the National Symphonic Orchestra of Syria and member of the National Arab Music Group, he became a Ney professor at the Higher Institute of Music of Damascus and at the “Music College” University of Homs. Moslem Rahal is the founder and director of Shams Ensemble Group. He took part in the Arabic scientific of Music in favour of the development of Ney and took part in the International Gatherings of Ney players for the 25th Jerash Festival.
With the Symphonic Orchestra of Syria, he gave many concerts under the direction of Master Misak Bagboderian and in the Arab world under the direction of Master Soulhi al-Wadj, as well as with the National Arab Music Group. As a specialist of his instrument, Moslem Rahal wrote a chapter for Professor Victor Babinco’s Musical Dictionary. In addition to his activity as a musician, he is also a Ney and Kawala conductor. Through his musical research works and many joint projects with European artists, Moslem Rahal is a key figure in interpreting oriental music at the heart of occidental interpretation.
DRISS EL MALOUMI
After travelling the world with Jordi Savall, 3MA (Ballaké Sissoko and Rajery), Paolo Fresu, Debashish Bhattacharya and Montserrat Figueiras, and after having leant his oud to Armand Amar and Laurent Voulzy, Driss El Maloumi is returning to his native land. To places he knows well, in Agadir, between Arab, Amazigh, occidental and Sub-Saharan cultures. His new album “MAKAN”, recorded as a trio with his younger brother Saïd El Maloumi and his lifetime friend Houcine Baqir, was released in October 2013.
The Moroccan Driss El Maloumi gives new life to the Arab lute with unbelievable class and great depth. Anchored in the harmonic and ornamental Oriental tradition, the master of Agadir and travelling companion of Jordi Savall, synthesises its colours, Amazigh, Berber or Andalusian, cultivating the nuance that makes the difference, while also flirting with blues. The variety and modernity of his playing techniques can be appreciated, as well as the subtlety of a musician who reveals himself less in his demonstration of virtuosity than in the elegance of the sound and the volubility of the swing.
His virtuosity, his melodious style, his rich and clear sonority, the tenderness of his mezrab (plectrum) all make Hakan Güngor a unique qanun player. Although he followed his father’s teachings as an oud player, he preferred to turn to European classical music studies, and gained a passion for composition, harmony and counterpoint at the Istanbul conservatory. If to start with, qanun was just a personal passion of his, his playing was soon so much appreciated that the oriental portion of his training, especially Ottoman music, gained the upper hand over European music. Hakan Güngor also worked with Kudsi Erguner from the 90’s, and has since taken part in concerts and CDs made in Europe and Turkey.
The qanun, a trapezoidal zither, has twenty-four tipple cords that are plucked using plectrums fixed to each index finger. A series of metal latches (mandals) make it possible to produce intervals nuanced according to the makams. The great philosopher Al Farabi is considered as the inventor of this instrument in the 10th century.
Considered as one of the best oud players in the world, his style combines ancient traditions with many stylistic innovations, which are also present in his fretless guitar performance. His new compositions combine rich traditional melodies with polyphonic textures performed on classical Turkish instruments. Tokcan obtained a diploma from the State Conservatory of the Technical University of Istanbul where he teaches oud to both Turkish and foreign students. In 1990, he joined the Istanbul State Classical Turkish Music Ensemble under the artistic direction of Tanburi Necdet Yasar. He is a member of the Istanbul Fasil Ensemble and Istanbul Tasavvuf Music Ensemble and a founding member of the Istanbul Sazendeleri, a group dedicated to presenting Turkish musical works. Tokcan took part in many recordings and performed at international level: in the Netherlands with the percussion group of Amsterdam and the Chamber Orchestra in a programme entitled European Music Around Oud, and with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Tekfen in Turkey, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Belgium. Tokcan joined Burhan Ocal (percussion), Goksel Baktagir (qanun), Selim Guler (kemenche) and Arif Erdebil (ney) in concert, the recording of which won the “Best Ethnic Album” award in 1998 in France. He played in Israel with the Baharat Group and the qanun player Goksel Baktagir. Recently, Tokcan recorded and played with the Israeli artist Ladino Hadass Pal Yarden. His work can also be heard on Bende Can, an album of his original compositions. Tokcan represented Turkey in several international festivals: particularly in Dresden, Thessaloniki, Jordan, at the Opera of Cairo and in Japan.
DAUD KHAN SADOZAI
REBAB AND SAROD
Daud Khan, was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. He studied rebab with Ustad Muhammad Umar, the most famous rebab performer. Knowledge of the rebab and its manufacturing has become rare, and Daud Khan is trying to preserve the authentic style of his master’s school. He also studied sarod, an instrument from the North of India, with the great Sarod Maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, also a founder of the Academy of Indian music in Cologne. Daud Khan often performs throughout Europe and takes part in great international music festivals. He presented his style during a USA-Tour in 2005. He took part in concerts with the famous instrumentalist Jordi Savall and his ensemble and took part in many productions of CDs as an instrument player. He has played several times live on German television and on radio programmes. In India, he received twice the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan award (1988/1995)
Born in Greece in 1961, he started his career at age eleven with classical guitar and soon leant several other instruments. At eighteen, he started studying the santur (gr. “santouri”) with his professor, Tasos Diakoyorgis, and composition with the conductor and composer Yannis Ioanidis. He then left for Madrid and Amsterdam and trained in particular in percussions, marimba, vibraphone and musical pedagogy in conservatories.
He composed soundtracks for many films, including The Kite Runner in 2007. The music of the film was nominated for the Oscars. Consecrated as one of the best santur players in the world, he regularly works with Jordi Savall and his ensemble Hespèrion XXI as well as with other ancient music groups.