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Ilham Al-Madfai

Duration:
1 hour
First broadcast:
Saturday 21 July 2001

In his second encounter with Iraq and its musicians, Andy Kershaw meets one of Iraq's top performers, now a famous name throughout the Arab world. Ilham Al-Madfai was born in Baghdad, became a star singer in the 1970s, but left Iraq when Saddam Hussein came to power in 1979. However, at the start of the Gulf War in 1991, he returned to Iraq to become a national hero. He now lives in Jordan's capital, Amman.

Andy also hears Sufi trance music in Baghdad's most famous mosque and visits Baghdad's Voice of Youth FM station.

Music and featured items

20 items
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
  • A song about the Tigris

    An Iraqi folklore band singing a song about the Tigris river

  • Music Played

    • Image for An Iraqi Folklore Band
      00:00

      An Iraqi Folklore Band A song about the Tigris River

      BBC recording on location

  • Iraqi Maqam music

    The history of Maqam as Baghdad’s main entertainment opportunity

  • Music Played

    • Image for Al Haj Hashem Al Rajab
      00:06

      Al Haj Hashem Al Rajab Maqam - excerpt

    • Image for Al Haj Hashem Al Rajab
      00:08

      Al Haj Hashem Al Rajab Maqam - excerpt

  • The chanting of Sufis

    Andy at a mosque in the centre of Baghdad hearing the chanting of Sufis

  • Music Played

    • Image for Unknown
      00:10

      Unknown Sufis chanting in a Baghdad mosque

      BBC recording on location

  • Andy learns about Sufism

    Andy speaks to a Sufi in a Baghdad mosque and learns about Sufism

  • Music Played

    • Image for Sufis chanting in a Baghdad mosque
      00:16

      Sufis chanting in a Baghdad mosque A song praising the Iraqi army and calling for the liberation of Jerusalem

      BBC recording on location

  • At Baghdad's Voice of Youth FM station

    Andy visits Baghdad's Voice of Youth FM station owned by Saddam Hussein’s son.

  • Music Played

    • Image for Unknown
      00:21

      Unknown Unknown - Various pop tracks being played on the Voice of Youth FM

  • Andy with Ilham Al Madfai

    Andy in Amman, Jordan meeting Ilham Al Madfai, Iraqi musical legend living in exile.

  • Music Played

  • Memories of Bagdad

    Ilham Al Madfai tells Andy Kershaw about the Baghdad he remembers, glamorous and lavish

  • Music Played

  • On "Ya Adouli" plagarised by Boney M

    Ilham Al Madfai on combining the old and new in his music

  • Losing 2m dollars to piracy

    Ilham Al Madfai talks to Andy about music piracy in Iraq and the Middle East

  • Music Played

  • Andy Kershaw in Iraq

    Andy Kershaw in Iraq

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