Anouar Brahem

Article Bio Works Video www
crossroads:
modernity, tradition
genre(subgenre):
Music (classical Arabic music, film-music, jazz)
region:
Africa, Northern
country/territory:
Tunisia
city:
Tunis
created on:
May 15, 2003
last changed on:
Please note: This page has not been updated since August 22, 2008. We decided to keep it online because we think the information is still valuable.
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Anouar Brahem
Anouar

Article

Anouar Brahem - a musician traditional and progressive

Born in 1957 in Tunis, Anouar Brahaem is both a traditionalist and a progressive musician. He is thought, not only in his homeland Tunisia, to be an outstanding virtuoso on the _d, which he has reinstated as a solo instrument of classical Arab music. Brahem is known, too, for his open-minded co-operation with musicians like Jan Gabarek or the choreographer Maurice Béjart. According to the newspaper ´Frankfurter Allgemeine´: ´In his search for new musical forms, Anouar Brahem has gone further than many other jazz musicians.´
The _d-player and composer Anouar Brahem spoke about his musical development in an interview given in 1999 with the magazine ´folkroots´:

´The _d or Arab lute is a symbolic and mythical instrument in our classical music. When I started to play, I was ten years old and I was attracted by the classical Arab music of the Twenties and Thirties, a music that even my grandmother did not listen to any more. It was not at all the music of the day, but all the same, studying and listening to this music has always fascinated me. During my studies at the musical academy of Tunis and for a very long time after that, I was exclusively interested in this kind of traditional music or musique savante. I was very lucky, because one of my professors was Ali Sriti, a great lute player who is totally familiar with the modal tradition, especially that of the Middle East, that is Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. He was known as the greatest player of the _d in Tunisia, and today he is, in my opinion, the last representative of the great tradition of this instrument in our country.´

After studying at the musical academy of Tunis, Brahem took private lessons with Ali Sriti, gave solo concerts and founded a takht-ensemble. He was determined to reinstate the _d as a solo instrument in its own right, though in popular Arab music it was used mostly for accompaniments:

´With my very particular interest, I actually lived in a kind of time warp in relation to the general taste of the time. And the more I steeped myself in the tradition, the more I reacted against the conservatory, its way of teaching music and against the popular taste for the big orchestras. So, in a kind of rebellion, I left this musical scene to be a real interpreter of the tradition: a tradition that people were not even aware of any more!´ (folkroots)

In 1981 Brahem went to Paris, where he met musicians with quite different cultural backgrounds and interests. He sought co-operation with musicians who played jazz or other styles of classical Arab music, and he worked also with musicians like Maurice Béjart and gave solo concerts.

In Carthage a few years later, he founded - together with jazz-musicians from Tunisia, Turkey and France - the ensemble ´Liqua 85´. Its members were Abdelwaheb Berbeche, Barabaros Erköse, François Jeanneau and Jean-Paul Céléa. ´Liqua 85´ won the great French national prize.

Back in Tunis, Brahem became the leader of the music-ensemble of Tunis in 1987 and composed for it various works. At the same time he carried on working with players of classical Arab music as also from the international jazz scene. For instance he played with Barabaros Erköse, Kudsi Erguner and Lassad Hosni for the CD ´Conte de l´incroyable amour´ produced by Manfred Eicher. In 1994 there followed the CD ´Madar´ with Jan Gabarek and Ustad Shaukat Madar. As regards his work with the saxophonist and bass-clarinettist John Surman and the bass-player Dave Holland, with whom he toured Europe in 1998 and recorded the CD ´Thimar´, Anouar Brahem says: ´Musicians from different cultures often come only superficially into contact, but John and Dave reach to the essence of the music.´

Anouar Brahem is also known through his many compositions for films and the stage: Nouri Bouzid´s ´Sabots en Or´ (Clogs of Gold) and ´Bezness´, Ferid Bhougedir´s ´Halfaouine´ and Moufida Tlati´s ´Les Silences du Palais´ (The Silences of the Palace). ´Ritek Ma Naaref Ouin´, sung by the Tunisian singer and _d-player Lotfi Bouchnak to great popular acclaim, is also one of his compositions.


Events at the HKW
Saturday, October 10, 1998
Anouar Brahem - John Surman - Dave Holland

Anouar Brahem - Ud
John Surman - Sopran saxophon, Bass clarinet
Dave Holland - Bass

Organiser: Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Bio

1957: born in Tunis in Tunisia
1967: start of studies at the national conservatory of Tunis
(He is taught the _d by musicians including Ali Sriti, one of Tunisia´s foremost players. After studying at the conservatory, Brahem studies with Ali Sriti privately, gives solo concerts and founds the Takht-ensemble. He is determined to reinstate the _d as a solo instrument in its own right, though in popular Arab music it is used mostly for accompaniments.)
1981: a stay of four years in Paris
1985: founding of the ensemble ´Liqua 85´ with the musicians Abdelwaheb Berbeche, Barabaros Erköse, François Jeanneau and Jean-Paul Céléa, followed by a return to Tunis
1987: becoming leader of the music ensemble of Tunis
1990: recording with Béchir Selmi on the violin, and Lassad Hosni on the percussion, of the CD ´Barzakh´ produced by Manfred Eicher
1991: recording with Jan Gabarek on the saxophone, and Ustad Shaukat Hossein on the tabla, of the CD ´Madar´ likewise produced by Manfred Eicher
1994: production of the CD ´Khomsa´ with Brahem´s film-music
recording with Dave Holland on the bass, and John Surman on the saxophone and clarinet, of the CD ´Thimar´ likewise produced by Manfred Eicher

Works

Le Voyage de Sahar

Published Audio,
2006
With François Couturier, Jean-Louis Matinier. ECM 1915.

Le pas du chat noir

Published Audio,
2002
With François Couturier, Jean-Louis Matinier. ECM 1792

Charmediterranéen

Published Audio,
2002
With the Orchestre National de Jazz und Gianluigi Trovesi. ECM 1828

Astrakan café

Published Audio,
2000
With Barbaros Erköse, Lassad Hosni. ECM 1718

Thimar

Published Audio,
1998
with Dave Holland on the bass, and John Surman on the saxophone and clarinet

Khomsa

Published Audio,
1995

Madar

Published Audio,
1994
with Jan Gabarek on the saxophone, and Ustad Shaukat Hossein on the tabla

Conte de l´incroyable amour

Published Audio,
1991
with Barabaros Erköse on the clarinet, Kudsi Erguner, Nay and Lassad Hosni on the percussion

Barzakh

Published Audio,
1990
with Béchir Selmi on the violin, and Lassad Hosni on the percussion

Www

Official homepage of the artist

video

"Astrakan café (1)"

taken from the CD "Astrakan Café"
play video