: Somalian oud players

10-03-2006, 00:51
I just found an interesting quote on schools of oud playing:

There are two schools or conceptions of performance. The first, or Ottoman, takes as its principle the ornamentation of the sound, produced by delicate glissandos of the fingers and slight vibratos. The touch of the plectrum on the string sets off a vibration which, in turn, gives rise to an effect of resonance, volume and controlled intensity. The plectrum does not interfere with the resulting sound. This produces an intimate style of playing, making the interiorized ud a path to meditation. This approach was first promoted in Istanbul by Ali Rifat Çagatay (18671935) and Nevres Bey (18731937), then by Refik Talat Alpman (18941947) and Cinuen Tanrikorur (b 1938). It spread to Aleppo (Nashat Bey, d c1930, and Abd al-Rahman Jabaqji, b 1931), then was developed in Baghdad by salman Shukur (b 1921), jamil Bashir (192177) and munir Bashir (19301997).
The second aesthetic approach is Egyptian. The volume is amplified by firm strokes of the plectrum, which makes the strings resonate. This calls for virtuosity in performance, which is conceived of as an exteriorizing factor. The finest proponents of this school have been Safar Ali (18841962), Muhammad al-Qasbji (18981966) and farid Al-Atrash (191574), who, despite his melodramatic style, breathed a new vitality into the instrument. A synthesis of these two styles is taking place in Somalia, where the manner of performance combines extensive glissandos with the sonorous impact of the plectrum; the outstanding proponents of this style are Abdullahi Qarshe and Umar Dhule. (http://www.cacac.org/arabic_music_instruments.htm)

I wonder if anyone around here has any music of the above mentioned Abdullahi Qarshe and Umar Dhule.

10-03-2006, 08:44
Thank you so much, Paul for this excellent synthesis. I must confess I wasn't at all aware of this theoretical background. In fact, my ear is so accustomed to the second school (the Egyptian one) I find it hard to correctly appreciate the representatives of the first one. I have to add that I naturally tend to prefer a rich melody to technical prowdess. That's why, even among the representatives of the Egyptian school, I don't like Farid Al-'atrash at all and hardly see the difference between him and Munir Bashir. This said, I think you forgot the name of Riyadh As-sunbati who is, by strict musical standards, more important than Farid. I know I'm promising to do so many things after my return from Yemen and I might forget part of it, but I do hope to upload an important piece of improvisation (taqsim) by a less known Egyptian lute player: Jum'ah Muhammad 'ali. I don't know at all about the Somali school.

10-03-2006, 09:33
Of course many names are missing in this short text - it's just a quote I found on the net.

I myself had the opposite approach to oud music: Starting with Salman Shukur's vitruosic, strongly embellished play and then listening a lot to Munir Bashir, I remember very well when only quite recently I heard Egyptian oud players for the first time. It was a beautiful piece by Mohamed Abdul Wahab, just oud and singing (I might upload it here one day), and I thought, oh, what a powerful, but rough kind of using this instrument. I was rather astonished to hear it played that way.

As for Jum'ah Muhammad 'ali, I have one taqsim in Bayati of his playing - not in good quality though (I found it somewhere on the internet). Still to bridge the time until your return, I'll upload it here.

10-03-2006, 09:46
I can't check it right now, but if it is a bayati taqsim, it's probably the one I'm talking about (duration: 13 min) picked up fro; a CD also featuring 'ibrahim Al-hajjar.

10-03-2006, 17:22
Judging from the length it is the same piece. If your's is of better sound quality we should delete my file.

But who is 'ibrahim Al-hajjar? Can you tell me something about him?

10-03-2006, 18:36
Sure. He was a good singer with an nice voice and we know from some recordings we could get of him (most of them from 'abu 'ali), even though they were made in his latest years, he was an excellent interpreter of the classical repertoire. Unfortunately, he was never given the chance to distinguish himself as soloist singer and spent most of his career as a member of the choral in 'abdi-l-halim Nuwaira's Firqatu-l-msuiqa Al-'arabiyah ensemble. It seems that several of his sons dedicated themselves to music too and one of them ('al Al-hajjar) has become a well known singer during the last two decades. I'll upload a couple of recordings by 'ibrahim Al-hajjar, including the one on the same CD featuring Jum'a Muhammad 'ali's taqsim, when I come back.