Thursday, February 7, 2013

Alif Ensemble Spices Up Arabic Music

Good bands start out by being the fruit of the labor of many friends who think they are good enough to entertain. Hence, comes Alef Ensemble, a band that emerged from a broad spectrum of talent from all around the Arab world. The namesake draws inspiration from the Arabic Alphabet and team up talents from from Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt and Iraq.

Oud-centered music by Khyam Allami, in partnership with two of the most resourceful and independent Arabic musicians of today, Palestinian composer and vocalist Tamer Abu Ghazaleh and Egyptian electronica musician Maurice Louca, the Alif Ensemble is a pan-Arabic collaboration. Many are the bands that take credit for brining varying musical styles. But in the core of Alif Ensemble one finds both traditional and contemporary Arabic music disciplines, including percussionist Khaled Yassine (Lebanon) and bassist Khaled Omran (Syria).

Their strong suits include contemporary Arabic poetry by writers including the late Iraqi-Assyrian poet Sargon Boulus (the first time his words have been set to music in Arabic) and late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. Young people appreciate poetry, but they love it if music accompanied it.

Their efforts have already caught the eyes of the global press, the UK's The Wire magazine witnessed their first ever performance and came to described the Alif Ensemble as: "a vehicle for original composition, attuned to the traditions of Arabic music, but applying a rock dynamic to their delivery."

Something that allowed the band to perform in the  summer 2012 at many UK based music festivals. The Wire went on, “The dominant Alif character is one of a collective sound, each member working at the service of the compositions, rarely stepping forward to solo, and usually sounding equally balanced,"

Few things can motivate musicians like good press, but a great audience always helps. This is a band that offers two different things, the Western listener can appreciate the dealing musical instruments and Arabic twists. The Arab listener will enjoy the poetry and the the throwback music

Alif Ensemble - Intadhirha (Wait for Her) Live / فرقة الألف - إنتظرها


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