Unterwegs: in the Near East
N. N. Presentation
Saad Thamir Vocals, Frame Drums and Composition
Bassem Hawar Djoze (Iraqui Knee Violin) and Violin
Dietmar Fuhr Double Bass
Christina Fuchs Clarinet and Bass Clarinet
Jarry Singla Piano
Ghada Shbeir Vocals
Ensemble Kamilya Jubran & Sarah Murcia:
Kamilya Jubran Oud, Vocals and Arstitic Direction
Sarah Murcia Double Bass
Régis Huby Violin
Guillaume Roy Viola
Atsushi Sakaï Cello
Part 2: Underway in the Middle East
Tue, 26 Jan 2016 8 p.m.
Chamber Music Hall
“I take an ancient piece of material and sew a new shirt out of it.” What may at first seem like a statement about fashion is actually Iraqi composer Saad Thamir’s artistic credo. He founded the group Lagash, a chamber music ensemble for contemporary Iraqi music, in 2002. The name refers to the Lower Mesopotamian city of Lagash, which was a major centre of Sumerian culture 5,000 years ago. From a musical perspective, however, the group is anything but backward-looking. The members of the ensemble, which, besides the two Iraqi musicians Saad Thamir and Bassem Hawar, includes the German clarinettist Christina Fuchs and Dietmar Fuhr on the double bass as well as German-Indian pianist Jarry Singla, combine the melodies and rhythms of Arabic music with western classical music and jazz. The result: a highly original style in which Arabic scales and modes are mixed with western harmony.
The oud player and singer Kamilya Jubran also considers herself someone who moves between the Orient and the Occident. The daughter of a Palestinian instrument maker and music pedagogue was born into the conflict between her people and Israel. Music helped her first and foremost to deal with the trauma of this war: “I am looking for honest music. I want to depict myself and my life.” The artist now lives and works in Paris and Berne. Rooted in the Palestinian music tradition, she experiments with new, contemporary sounds. Kamilya Jubran, Saad Thamir and their ensembles, as well as the Lebanese singer Ghada Shbeir, a specialist in the popular and religious songs of the Near East, are the guests at this concert in the Unterwegs series. With their compositions and improvisations, they bring home how old, almost extinct musical traditions can be filled with new life.