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Ilham al-Madfai, Farida Mohammad Ali

Mary Ann Kennedy presents a programme of Iraqi music, including a specially recorded concert performance by Farida Mohammad Ali.

Ahead of Monday night's late night Prom, Mary Ann Kennedy introduces a programme devoted to Iraqi music, with some of the latest releases chosen by World Routes Academy Mentee, Khyam Allami, and specially recorded concert performances by Ilham al-Madfai, and the mother of Maqam, Farida Mohammad Ali.

Iraqi guitarist, singer and composer Ilham al-Madfai pioneered Arabic-world music cross-over, modernizing traditional and folkloric Arabic songs, and blending "modern" instruments with more traditional counterparts to create new arrangements of classical Arabic songs. Ilham al-Madfai has worked as mentor to Khyam Allami throughout the inaugural year of the World Routes Academy scheme.

Born in the southern Iraqi town of Karbala, Farida Mohammad Ali is unique in having mastered what is still essentially a musical genre dominated by male voices. Known affectionately as "Mother Maqam", and now living in exile in the Netherlands, Farida is one of only a handful of artists who have mastered the complex melodies, scales, scriptures and the entire philosophy behind the discipline of Maqam. She specialises in Maqam al-Baghdadi, where emphasis is placed upon a musician's ability to improvise within an established framework, and the capacity to deliver settings of ancient Sufi of sadness and exile across an immense vocal and tonal range.

Now resident in Utrecht, Farida works other modern masters, Hussein al-A'dhami and Hamid al-Saadi, on the Iraqi Maqam Foundation, a project which she initiated in 1997 with husband Mohammad Gomar, whose mission is to ensure that the Maqam repertoire, which now exists only in exile, survives for future generations.

1 hour, 15 minutes

Last on

Fri 6 Aug 2010 23:45

Music Played

  • صلاح عبد الغفور

    Walla (By God)

    • Choubi Choubi! Folk & Pop sounds from Iraq.
    • Sublime Frequencies SF025.
  • Kathem Al Saher

    Illa Antee

    • Ana Wa Laila.
    • Virgin Arabia 724358191622.
  • منير بشير

    Law Annani Khuyirtou

    Performer: Nouna el Hana

    • Munir Bashir Quartet.
    • Voix de L’orient CD 676.
  • Ilham al-Madfai

    Ashagar Be Shameh

    Performers: Khyam Allami (oud); Quasi Abdul Jabbar (violin); Qasim Tashtoosh (drums); Hasan Mihahri (ney); Safaa Ghareeb (percussion); Munther Jabir (bass)

    • BBC Recording by sound engineer James Birtwistle, Amman, June 2010.
  • Naseer Shamma

    Ishraq

    • Ishraq.
    • Musica Immagine 10019.
  • Concert Recording

    • Farida

      Performance at the Linbury Theatre

      Performers: Mohammad Al-Bawi (djooza/violin/vocals); Wesam Ayoub Ibrahim Alazzawy (kanun/vocals); Adnan Schanan Abdul Amir (ney); Karim Darwish (tabla); Ehab Alazzawy (riqq)

      • BBC Recording at the Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House, by sound engineers James Birtwistle and Paul Wones.
  • Filfel Gourgy

    Al Dunia Farhana

    • The World is Happy.
    • Magda Records 6008241.
  • Concert Recording

    • Farida

      Performance at the Linbury Theatre

      Performers: Mohammad Al-Bawi (djooza/violin/vocals); Wesam Ayoub Ibrahim Alazzawy (kanun/vocals); Adnan Schanan Abdul Amir (ney); Karim Darwish (tabla); Ehab Alazzawy (riqq)

      • BBC Recording at the Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House, by sound engineers James Birtwistle and Paul Wones.

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