Ibrahim Maalouf “Diasporas”

17 Feb

Ibrahim Maalouf

Diasporas

Released on 15th November

Live at the Barbican Centre on Thursday 18 November 7.30pm
(with Chucho Valdes & The Afro Cuban Messengers)
Part of the London Jazz Festival in association with BBC Radio 3

“Diasporas” is a multi-faceted offering with finely-matched ingredients. This particular potpourri features the electric cello of special guest Vincent Ségal from the band Bumcello (and “Chamber Music” with Ballaké Sissoko) plus Arabic choirs, oud, ney and subtle electronic flourishes all shaped around Ibrahim Maalouf’s remarkable quarter-tone trumpet sound. Dizzy would surely have approved of Ibrahim’s version of his Night in Tunisia renamed here “Missin’ Ya (Night In Tunisia)”.

Ibrahim Maalouf is a French/Lebanese trumpeter, who uniquely combines jazz and classical Arabic music and is the son of Nassim Maalouf, who invented the quarter-tone trumpet (with a fourth valve) in the 1960s enabling the instrument to reproduce Arabic musical modes.  Born in 1980 in Lebanon under the bombs of the civil war, Ibrahim Maalouf was uprooted from his motherland and was exiled in France. He kept the music of his childhood buried inside for many years, but later his homesickness helped him to develop his own musical world. He studied modern, classical, baroque and contemporary concertos, and at the same time was surrounded by Arabic classical, ethnic and traditional music.

As a boy, Ibrahim dreamt of becoming an architect in order to rebuild Lebanon. Instead, he built his life around that country’s rich and mixed heritage which he now communicates through his music. Ibrahim was recently named Discovery of the Year at the 2010 French Jazz Music Awards and has played with renowned artists such as Amadou and Mariam, Sting, Salif Keita, Toumani Diabate, Matthieu Chédid (aka M), Marcel Khalifé, and more.

In 1980, the majestic columns of the temples of Baalbeck were suffering from the relentless bombing of a civil war that had been going on for many years. The entire world was wondering how it was possible for such wonders to be destroyed by the very hands of those who had erected them. It was not the best time to come into the world in Lebanon, and as soon as he was born, Ibrahim Maalouf was uprooted from his motherland. He kept the music of his childhood buried inside for many years, but later this homesickness helped him to develop his musical world; it urged him to share it and introduce it to other people. Ibrahim grew up and lived his exile in France in a family that had become well-known after several generations in different fields such as music, painting, journalism, poetry, literature and teaching.

Ibrahim 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 Ibrahim could reproduce them thanks to his father’s invention in the 1960s: the quarter-tone trumpet (with a fourth valve). The 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.

As a boy, Ibrahim dreamt of becoming an architect in order to rebuild Lebanon. Instead, he built his life around that country’s rich and mixed heritage which he now communicates through his music.

Ibrahim has received numerous international prizes, included awards for classical music. In addition, he was awarded First Place at the National Superieur Conservatory in Paris (Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris). Maalouf has always been multicultural in his collaborations, and touches on numerous musical genres within each performance. Ibrahim has played with renowned artists such as Amadou and Mariam, Matthieu Chédid (M), Marcel Khalifé, Sting, Salif Keita, Toumani Diabate, and more.

Malouf aims to never pigeonhole his music, nor to create a hierarchy between the numerous musical influences that inspire him, from Oum Kalsoum and Fairuz to Bach, Mahler and Mozart. He draws inspiration from Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, pop music, hip hop, electronic and alternative music, contemporary classical music.

All those influences create Ibrahim’s musical identity and make each performance extremely varied. Ibrahim has performed at Montreux Jazz Festival, le Printemps de Bourges, Nice Jazz festival, Montreal Jazz festival and was recently named Discovery of the Year at the 2010 French Jazz Music Awards

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