Anouar Brahem


Anouar Brahem was born on October 1957, in Halfaouine, in the center of Tunis' Medina. Positively supported by his father, he starts introduction to music and especially to lute at the age of 10. He studies then in the Tunis National Music Conservatory. In the meantime, he is tought during 10 years by the great Master Ali Sitri, and gets through him a deep knowledge of traditional arabian music. Step by step, his curiosity pushes him to listen to other musical expressions: mediteranean musics, Iran, India, and Jazz. His musical surroudings are basically and widely dominated by popular songs in which lute has only a side instrument place. Thus, Anouar Brahem's name is tightly attached to instrumental music more than popular songs: from the beginning, he considers that lute is a quite important instrument within arabian music, and he wants to give lute his nobel place within the musical context. For this reason and because he feels passionated by his instrument, he started performing solo concerts very soon.

In 1981, he decides to go to Paris, cosmopolitan city above all. He meets there plenty of musicians coming from very different horizons, and different countries and cultures. He remained there for several years, playing lute solo concerts in festivals, and collaborating with many artits such as choreographer Maurice Be'jart.

Back to Carthage, he creates Liqua 85. For this, he brings together some tunisian, turkish and french jazz essentiel musicians: Abdelwaheb Berbeche, Erko"se brothers, Franc,ois Jeanneau, Jean-Paul Ce'le'a... Liqua 85, received the Great National Award of Music in France.

In 1987, he goes back to Tunis, and accepts the leadership of the Musical Ensemble of the City of Tunis, for which he will compose several pieces among them Ennaouara el Achiqua, born from a meeting between him and the poet Ali Louati. Those compositions bring him to the step of uncontested great national composer in Tunisia.

Then follow rich and positive collaborations, very important to his carreer: - Manfred Eicher, german producer ECM Records, for whom he records 4 albums: Barzach, Conte de l'Incroyable Amour, Madar, Khomsa. Those albums receive an incredible welcome by the audience, and the international press. - musicians Jan Garbarek, Richard Galliano, Manu Katche'...

He is now mentionned among the greatest musicians on the international scene, and plays concerts all over the world, on the most prestigious places: Washington Square Chruch in New-York, New-Orleans Jazz Festival (USA), Frankfurt International Jazz Festival (Germany), Lumine Hall in Tokyo (Japan), Royal Academy of Music in London (GB), Zu"rich International Jazz Festival (Switzerland), Ume'a Jazz Festival (Sweden), Theater of Beyrouth (Liban)... On January 1995, he is invited for an inaugural conert of the quite new Cite' de la Musique in Paris.

Anouar Brahem composed lots of original musics for movies and theater pieces: Nouri Bouzid's Sabots en Or and Bezness, Ferid Boughedir's "Halfaouine", and Moufida Tlati's Les Silences du Palais. The hudge success of Ritek Ma Naaref Ouin, interpreted by the tunisian singer Lotfi Bouchnak, makes us discover an unexpected talent of Anouar Brahem as a popular songs composer.

" He is the best lute player in Tunisia" his Master Ali Sriti says about him, " his fingering and playing the strings are unique and his own secret."

ТЕКСТ: | 14.11.2005

Born: Oct 20, 1957

Genres: Jazz

Styles: Traditional Middle Eastern Folk, Modal Music, Tunisia, Middle East, Arabic, Ethnic Fusion, World Fusion

Instruments: Oud

The role of the Arabic, lute-like, stringed instrument, the oud, has been revolutionalized 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". The British daily newspaper, "The Guardian", that Brahem was "at the forefront of jazz because he is far beyond it".

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 fifteen, 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, "A Return To Carthage" that received the prestigous "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, Braham agreed to become director of the Ensemble Musical De In Ville De Tunis. During the two years that he oversaw the ensemble, Brahem divided the group into smaller 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 Erkose. In 1994, Brahem recorded "Madar", with Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek and Pakistani tabla player Shaukat Hussain. Brahem's fourth album, "Khomas", 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 Jo n Surman and double bass player Dave Holland. Astrakan Cafe was issued three years later.

Brahem has composed numerous pieces for such films and musical theater productions as "Sabots En Or", "Bezness", "Halfaouine", "Les Silences Du Palais", "Lachou Shakespeare", "Wannas El Kloub", El Amel", "Borj El Hammam" and "Bosten Jamalek". He collaborated with Maurice Bejart on the ballet, "Thalassa Mare Nostrum" and with Gabriel Yared on the Costa Gravas film, "Hanna K".

— Craig Harris

ТЕКСТ: | 14.11.2005

Anouar Brahem's links:
  • Аноар Брахем, биография (на англ.)
  • Аноуар Брахем, биография (на англ.)
  • Альбомы Ануара Брахема выпущенные на ECM.


    Anouar Brahem:
    1. Barzakh (1991)
    2. Conte de l'incroyable amour (1992)
    3. Thimar (1998)
    4. Le pas du chat noir (2001)

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