Anouar Brahem, Tunisian Jazz Oud
By Salma Karim
The music of Tunisian oud virtuoso Anouar Brahem is conceived as a tribute to freedom. Hailing from Halfaouine in the Medina of Tunis, he sought other inspiring musical temptations without forgetting where he came from. Brahem is one of the first artists who radically changed the traditional role of oud by modernizing and mixing it with jazz.
Brahem is a musician and composer. He is widely acclaimed as an innovator in his field. Performing primarily oud for a jazz audience, he fuses Arab classical music, folk music and jazz and has been recording since 1991, after becoming prominent in his own country in the late eighties. Brahem began his studies of the oud at the age of 10 at the Tunis National Conservatory of Music, where his principal teacher was the oud master Ali Sriti. In the early eighties, Brahem spent several years in Paris, returning to Tunisa in the late eighties he was appointed director of the Musical Ensemble of the city of Tunis, he toured in the USA and Canada and then signed with ECM Records with whom he has recorded a series of critically acclaimed albums.
Since the mid-nineties, Brahem has captivated European audiences with the notes of his oud. Over the years he worked with the best musician of the label ECM, Jan Garbarek, Palle Danielsson, Jon Christensen, Richard Galliano, but especially the saxophone clarinetist John Surman and bassist Dave Holland with whom he realized the sublime Thimar, the critically acclaimed and successful album introduced him to a larger public.
The delicacy, refinement and elegance of Brahem’s music remind us that the Arab world is the proud home of a treasure of cultural wealth. Brahem is devoted to detailing a beautiful melody with precision and contemplation, and the musicians he always collaborates with all use minimal instrumentation to maximum effect.
Brahem’s music is an ode to his roots and a wink to modernity. The perfect balance between old and new. A light wave of change in the sea of oud.
1991 : Barzakh
1992 : Conte de l’incroyable amour
1994 : Madar
1995 : Khomsa
1998 : Thimar
2000: Astrakan Café
2002 : Charmediterranéen
2002 : Le Pas du Chat Noir
2006 : Le Voyage de Sahar
2009 : The Astounding Eyes of Rita