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Ibrahim Maalouf

Ibrahim Maalouf

Ibrahim Maalouf
@ the Barbican Centre
22 November 2010

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Biography

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.

Ibrahim Maalouf


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