Ahlam Babiliyya & Gast
The moment itself, a musical meditation, the art of improvisation is what stands at the heart of this project. Collected on this CD are traditional Iraqi maqam melodies, compositions of Classical masters, and original pieces. On the one hand, the aim of this recording is to preserve Iraqi traditional music, and, on the other, to simultaneously make audible a gentle renewal and further development. Maqam is a musical style that is fundamental to Middle Eastern music and an umbrella term for this music?s tone scales. The task of the interpreter of the maqam is to give exceptional expression to a maqam?s emotional impact and to move the audience with his or her empathy and virtuosity.
Saif Al-Khayyat & Nora Thiele met in Leipzig in 2002, which marked the beginning of an intense musical collaboration and friendship. This musical duo manage to bring together tradition and innovation in a breathtaking manner, impressing with their virtuosic collaboration and creating an intimate and mesmerising concert atmosphere with their artful playing. Like a stream flowing into boundlessness, the rhythm of the drum carries with it the oud?s sighs, laments and wildly gyrating cries of ecstasy.
?Many are the illustrious artists who have taken it upon themselves to modernise and expand classical Arab music: Marcel Khalifé, the Joubran siblings, Mahmoud Turkmani and Dhafer Youssef, Rabih Abou-Khalil (?) ?Ahlam Babiliyya? can hold its own amongst such company. It is sure not only to delight enthusiasts and connoisseurs of Arab music, but to help to introduce this music to new listeners too. The album issues a convincing riposte composed of music and poetry to counter the savagery that is sadly widespread in today?s Mesopotamia.?
?zenith? Zeitschrift für den Orient, Sept/Okt 2014, Veit Rasshofer
?Nimble, warm and clear as crystal ? that?s how to describe the sound of the CD ?Ahlam Babiliyya?. Music as ornate as the Arabic calligraphy that adorns the cover.? Grit Friedrich MDR Figaro, 8.10.2014
?A thoroughly successful undertaking. Hats off!? Folker 5/14
?A true delight. No European oud player?s collection would be complete without this CD! Saif Al-Khayyat and Nora Thiele manage to bring together the Orient and the Occident with a distinct and unmistakable touch of the medieval by means of a diverse array of European and global musical traditions. It is also a real pleasure to hear that there still exist musicians who are veritable masters of a softer sound. On occasion one discerns the influence of great forebears such as Mounir Bashir and Anwar Brahem, but even completely new compositions quickly lodge themselves firmly in the listener?s head, giving rise to visions of Babylonian dreams.?http://kunst-und-kultur.al-maqam.de, Ulrike Askari