@ the Barbican Centre
22 November 2010
Click an image to enlarge.
Ibrahim Maalouf discovered trumpet with his father Nassim Maalouf
- a former student of Maurice André and the first Arabic
trumpeter to play Western classical music. He studied modern, classical,
baroque and contemporary concertos, and at the same time was surrounded
by Arabic classical, ethnic and traditional music. All those types
of music were based on makams (Arabic modes) and Maalouf could reproduce
them thanks to his father’s invention in the late sixties
– the quarter-tone trumpet (with a fourth valve). The monotonous
and insistent music that comes out of this particular trumpet is
the expression of an age-old culture. Nobody before his father had
thought of paying tribute to it by adapting the Arabic musical language
to the trumpet.
Ibrahim Maalouf as a boy used to dream of becoming an architect
in order to rebuild Lebanon. Instead he built his life around that
rich and mixed heritage which he can communicate through his music.
Maalouf has received numerous prestigious diplomas, honorary awards
and international prizes. It is impossible to classify him in a
single genre since he finds as much interest in classical music
as he does in jazz, light music, ethnic music, or even in modern
electronic music. Maalouf doesn’t relate to one specific genre,
but integrates several into his own music. The extremely talented
musicians and singers with whom he collaborates allow him to express
himself freely, but Maalouf is now looking for something more personal.
Maalouf’s meeting with Vincent Ségal, and then with
Lhasa de Sela, was seminal in the conception and development of
this first album. Maalouf lives in a world that looks like his own
career as a musical wanderer. He doesn’t like to pigeonhole
nor to create a hierarchy between the numerous musical influences
that inspired him and listens likewise to Oum Kalsoum and Fairuz;
or Bach, Mahler and Mozart; or Dizzie Gillespie, Miles Davis, pop
music, hip hop, electronic and alternative music, French popular
songs, and contemporary classical music.
Maalouf thought of this album as a place where Eastern hues naturally
mingle with the Western urban sounds in which they were created.
It is a musical mix that is both open to the modern world and profoundly
respectful of age-old traditions. It is the acoustic rendition of
a world in movement, a world that displaces peoples among cries
– sometimes of pain and sometimes of joy – but always
creates new encounters that transform.