World art with Arab roots which do not dominate, but give his works a pan-Mediterranean feel. Phrases and colours mixed in with jazz—and other—traditions. Born in Tunisia (Tunis, 1957), Anouar Brahem
studied under the celebrated Ali Sriti, who initiated him into the complexity of Arab music theory.
Speaking through his oud, he tells his tales of journeys and voyages of the heart in a cinematic style. Abstractive, concise and sensitive, he shows us the way into another Sahara... His discography is a paradigm of creative fellow travelling and journeys to familiar places along unfamiliar paths: makams tried and tested down the ages, but placed within a new and innovative framework. His music and musicians (Garbarek, Katché, Galliano, Holland, Sherman, Dibango) put him in a world jazz context, but his range of references makes his sound personal and unclassifiable. His collaborations with Gavras, Béjart and others, and records like the masterful Thimar
, have made him more widely known.
His newest and enigmatically titled work The Astounding Eyes of Rita
(ECM Records, 2009) is rooted in an unprecedented melding of eastern and western instruments. Apart from his masterful oud, we have Klaus Gesing
’s bass clarinet, with its multitude of still-to-be-explored potentials and timbres, the bendir and darbouka of the Lebanese percussion virtuoso Khaled Yassine, and the essential base line provided by Björn Meyer
on double bass. The orchestration and the musicians’ musical roots call Brahem’s older discography to mind, though sources beyond jazz exert a significant pull. A passionate, perhaps dark, sound straight from the soul leavened with overtones which transcend geography to interact convincingly in Brahem’s full yet concise phrases. The record is dedicated to the memory of the Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish