Sunday, July 13, 2008
The oud in my life
There has been an oud in my life for some time, but just recently there have been three. The Trio Joubran are three Palestinian oud playing brothers, who were all born in Nazareth in Galilee and are now based in Paris. Their fans include composer John Adams who brought them to Carnegie Hall in 2006 after seeing a documentary about them at the Sundance Film Festival. The Joubran brothers are seen above on the cover of their second album Majâz, on which they are joined by percussionist Yousef Hbeisch. This is a wonderful CD which is complemented by refreshingly imaginative artwork, although you do need to know your Beatles Abbey Road to appreciate the imagery.
All the music on Majâz is composed by the Joubran brothers who develop it in extended improvisations around traditional Arab maqâms. In 1948, after the creation of the State of Israel, their family remained in Nazareth, which effectively became an Arab city inside Israel. The Palestinians who live there have passports with Israeli-Arab status and are part of the Arab minority inside Israel. So the Joubran brothers are no strangers to cultural tensions. But, although their music is rooted in Arab traditions, Majâz transcends cultural dogma and proves, once again, that music can build bridges where politicians have failed.
Another story from the oud family here tomorrow.
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