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Andy hears Sufi trance music in Baghdad's most famous mosque, visits Baghdad's Voice of Youth FM station, and meets one of Iraq's top performers, Ilham Al-Madfai, who now lives in Jordan.

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.

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1 hour

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Music and featured items

  • A song about the Tigris

    An Iraqi folklore band singing a song about the Tigris river

    Duration: 03:34

  • Music Played

    • 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

    Duration: 06:08

  • Music Played

    • Al Haj Hashem Al Rajab

      Maqam - excerpt

    • 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

    Duration: 04:00

  • Music Played

    • 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

    Duration: 07:55

  • Music Played

    • 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.

    Duration: 08:18

  • Music Played

    • 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.

    Duration: 05:28

  • Music Played

    • Ilham al-Madfai

      Unknown

    • Ilham al-Madfai

      Unknown

  • Memories of Bagdad

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

    Duration: 08:17

  • Music Played

    • Ilham al-Madfai

      Mali Chugul Bil Soug

  • On "Ya Adouli" plagarised by Boney M

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

    Duration: 03:42

  • Losing 2m dollars to piracy

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

    Duration: 08:47

  • Music Played

    • Ilham al-Madfai

      Ya Adoul

    • Ilham al-Madfai

      Khuttar

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