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Anouar Brahem

The role of the Arabic, lute-like, stringed instrument, the oud, has been revolutionized through the playing of Anouar Brahem. While used in the past to accompany vocalists, the oud is used by Brahem as an imaginative solo instrument. In 1988, Tunisian newspaper Tunis-Hebdo wrote, "If we had to elect the musician of the '80s, we would have, without the least hesitation, chosen Anouar Brahem." Brahem has composed numerous pieces for such films and musical theater productions such as Sabots en Or, Bezness, Halfaouine, and Les Silences Du Palais. He collaborated with Maurice Bejart on the ballet Thalassa Mare Nostrum, and with Gabriel Yared on the Costa-Gravas film Hanna K.

Encouraged by his music-loving father, Brahem began studying the oud, at the age of ten, when he enrolled at the National Conservatory of Music. For nearly a decade, he studied with influential oud player Ali Sitri. By the age of 15, he was playing well enough to perform regularly with local orchestras. Although he initially focused on Arabic music, Brahem increasingly incorporated elements of jazz. This was enhanced during the six years that he spent in Paris (1981-1987), performing at festivals and collaborating with choreographer Maurice Bejart on a production of A Return to Carthage that received the prestigious National Award of Excellence In Music.

Returning to Tunis in 1987, Brahem performed at the Carthage Festival in the multi-artist production Ligua 85. Shortly afterwards, he agreed to become director of the Ensemble Musical de la Villa de Tunis. During the two years that he oversaw the ensemble, Brahem divided the group into smaller sets of various sizes. Among the productions that he directed were Leilatou Tayu and El Hizam El Dhahbi.

In 1990, Brahem resigned to focus on his own career. After touring in the United States and Canada, he met and was signed by Manfred Eicher, producer and founder of German record label ECM. His debut album, Barzakh, released in 1991, was recorded with Turkish musicians Bechir Selmi and Lassad Hosni. In a review of the album, German music magazine Stereo wrote, "(Brahem) is an exceptional musician and improviser." Brahem's second album, Conte de L'incroyable Amour, released in 1992, was recorded with clarinet player Barbaros Erköse. In 1994, Brahem recorded Madar with Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek and Pakistani tabla player Shaukat Hussain. His fourth album, Khomsa, released in 1995, featured improvised interpretations of his compositions for Tunisian film and theater productions, and was recorded with accordion player Richard Galliano and violinist Bechir Selmi. With his fifth effort, Thimar, released in 1998, Brahem collaborated with soprano saxophone and bass clarinet player John Surman and double bass player Dave Holland.

Astrakan Cafe was issued three years later, and followed in 2003 by Les Pas Du Chat Noir. That same year, his 2001 collaboration with Ochestre National de Jazz was released as Charmediterranéen.

Brahem took time off to tour and to write. His next offering, 2007's Le Voyage de Sahar, was a trio date with pianist François Couturier and accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier.

It would be three years before he released The Astounding Eyes of Rita played in a quartet setting with bass clarinetist Klaus Gesing, double bassist Björn Meyer, and

Khaled Yassine on darbouka and bendir. The composer and oudist toured several festivals and select European cities with assorted groups before taking an extended break.

Affected deeply by the continually unfolding events of the 2011 Jasmine Revolution in his native Tunisia and the political tumult that followed, Brahem began composing along thematic lines. When he finally entered a studio in Lugano with Eicher in 2014, he enlisted Gesing, Meyer, and Couturier, as well as the string section from Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana conducted by Pietro Mianiti. Over the course of a month, they recorded enough material for the double album Souvenance, which was issued in the spring of 2015. ~ Craig Harris & Thom Jurek
full bio

Comments

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saukkomies
I discovered Brahem from listening to a snippet of his music that was played on National Public Radio (in the USA) during their news program as segue music between stories. I was so taken with it, that I went to the trouble of looking it up, and I bought a CD and have been hooked ever since. I've played Brahem to high school students during their study halls, and I get favorable comments from them - which is really saying something, since teenagers are a very discriminati n g musical audience!
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okworker33
one of my favorites
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the Astounding eyes...just the album title alone is enough to hook me in...
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Very soothing and calming music, Great to listen to while thinking and planning my next move in life. Mahalo Pandora
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Hey Pandora, you've really got to add La Pas Du Chat Noir and Souvenance to this station
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It's wonderful! Great music from great musician.
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wonderful stuff..
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I would love to hear Le Trio Joubran
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ionasilver
Ah, what bliss - the haunting sounds of the oud played by a master, but Le Pas du Chat Noir should also be part of this collection!
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I could fall in love over and over with this music. What an amazing player. never heard the Oud played like this. Thank you Mr. Brahem
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Awsome music !! Great job Mr Brahem. You made us all proud as tunisian living in the U.S
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carudder
Bass Clarinet Awesome!!!!!
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sacredfun6
Las teterias de Granada
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Great music:)
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ode to oud!
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so soothing.
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jose.cotto9
Great music! I have his last 3 cd's and he is awsome.
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jocelyn856
Yes..where is le pas du chat noir? My favorite also!
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رائع.
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I was in a Souk in Doha, Qatar a few months ago. I went into a shop where a middle aged man was making ouds for years. He showed me an electric oud he recently built, sounded so awesome
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nice ,,,
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lineaweaver
What about "le pas du chat noir" in the selected discography? That's the one that got me hooked on this guy, and (perhaps for that reason) still my favorite of his.
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A friend and massage therapist was playing this music, and it was so restful that I bought the CD to play during an artists studio tour to my studio...
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mbreeden4
Beautiful music!
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When I'm writing, this is what I listen to.
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kristigogo
If Beethoven had traveled to Africa...
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Al oud is like the guitar they look different a little bit, but its Arabic and its has 8 strings
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What a lovely sound this piece has "Le Voyage de Sahar" - which is the title track to this album! I had heard the word "oud" before, but never really know what it was. If you all like this music, check out Rolf Lislevand. A similar flavor although distinctly more Western (at least, that's my sense of Mr. Liselvand's music).

Mr. Brahem's album Le Voyage De Sahar is tempting to buy......lov e to hear what others think.
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Very interesting sound. That's what I LOVE about this site/station it always introduces me to NEW,at least to me,and exciting music.
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eve33three
Grrrrreat!

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