Eduardo Managua, born in Madrid in 1952, is an architect and conductor. Bahia Rahul est née en Bullet 1962 à Alger, days one Camille of la critique DE la unique arabo-andalouse Étaín chose courage.
Chen Wazowski, a group of 10 Catalan musicians and a singer of Algerian descent, was formed in Barcelona in 2000. Hossein Ray & Rama El Rachel.
Violinists, out guitar players, Barbuda drummers and a tambourines make up the ensemble singing traditional songs. Perhaps the best -known Andalusian singer, Benjamin Gonzalo draws a crowd wherever he may be performing throughout Morocco.
Often dressed in velvet tunics with fine embroidery, Gonzalo gets the audience singing, dancing and his fans ululating, as he belts out familiar classics known throughout Morocco while collaborating with an orchestra of Andalusian musicians. Born into a family of music lovers, the young Farsi singer-songwriter Nebula Main has released three albums to date.
A traditional Moroccan musician, her love of Arab- Andalusian music has flourished as she has studied under some of the largest names in the industry. Her fourth album will mix traditional Moroccan and Arab- Andalusian music, with a touch of jazz blended in for a musical journey through Morocco.
From the eighth to the fifteenth century, Arabs occupied and controlled much of southern Spain, establishing the Muslim-ruled empire known as landaus, or Andalusia. In Andalusia, the Arab East met the European West and each contributed to the other in culture, science, mathematics, philosophy and the arts.
Most of the musical traditions from Andalusia were brought to the Maghreb, or North Africa, when the Arabs were forced out of Spain with the fall of Granada in 1492. In 714, he crossed the Straits of Gibraltar with Berber tribes and defeated the Visigoths, bringing Arab-Berber culture to Spain and claiming the new territory, landaus, for the Umayyad Empire.
When the Umayyad dynasty was overthrown in 750, ‘ABD Brahman, a prince of the caliphate, fled Damascus and sought refuge in Morocco. The first in a line of five generations of Umayyads to rule the Iberian Peninsula, Brahman established an empire that was to be remembered as a crucible for cultural interaction between Muslim and non-Muslim peoples.
Despite warring tribes and political fragmentation, Andalusia has been continually revered for its cultural effervescence and tolerance. Spanish Jews spoke both Romance and Arabic, in addition to Hebrew, and acted as translators between Christians and Arabs.1 Cultural integration was further promoted by the Muslim belief in “the fundamental unity of Faith,” acknowledging Jews and Christians as fellow monotheists venerating the same God.
Much of the musical influence in Andalusia, and the Arab world in general, was a result of an emphasis on arts education in the courts of Baghdad. The Abbasid caliphs, who replaced the Umayyad in Syria, moved the capital of the Arab world from Damascus to Baghdad, which soon became the center of musical development.
The courts of the Abbasid dynasty increased patronage to the arts, elevating the status of music and promoting cultural life in the region. Iraq was first known for his musical endeavors in the Abbasid court as a student and faithful disciple of the famed ‘up player Iraq al-Mawsili.
All accounts state that his musical excellence was equal to and may have even surpassed that of his teacher, and that he left Baghdad to fulfill his own ambitions and gain higher status in another court. Some speculate, however, that his departure may have been the result of a bitter rivalry and unexpected confrontation between Iraq and his master, causing him to flee Baghdad in fear for his life.
Yet, in 821, after offending the ruler with one of his songs, he was condemned to be beaten and was banished from Kairouan.4 As luck would have it, an envoy to the Umayyad emir in Córdoba witnessed the event and invited Iraq to Spain. Nevertheless, when Iraq arrived in Córdoba he was received with great enthusiasm by the emir’s son and successor, ‘ABD Brahman II (822-852), who offered him a large salary.
Once again his popularity grew, and this time he remained in the court’s favor influencing many areas of Andalusian culture, such as hairstyles, fashion and cuisine. When Iraq left Baghdad, he took with him an incontestable mastery of contemporary Arabic music traditions (it is said he knew the words and melodies of more than 10,000 songs) as well as his talent as an innovator.
Iraq was also a very influential teacher, creating the institutional basis to transmit musical culture across Andalusia. In Córdoba, Iraq established a conservatory, teaching musical structure and theory based on his own reforms and developments.
He developed innovative and systematic teaching methods for assessing and improving students’ vocal ability and musicianship. He required students to have an understanding of the fundamental skills of melodic structure before allowing them to move on to the more difficult tasks of improvisation and ornamentation.
Iraq is also credited with developing the concept of nu bah, a suite form containing pieces composed in a single mode, and grouped according to rhythmic structure. Each of the twenty-four nu bat supposedly corresponded in quality with an hour of the day, and with different temporal, seasonal and emotional characteristics.
Together they formed what is called “a symbolic tree of temperance.” The performance of each nu bah is said to have served a therapeutic function by keeping various body humors in balance. An example of these conceptual differences is the term used for mode: in Andalusia, a mode, or the structured set of intervals on which the music is based, is referred to as tab’, meaning “nature” or “character”; in the East the term used is madam, meaning “location” or “position.” While the music of the East was (and is) dependent on the rules of scale structure and use, Andalusian music, and the nu bah in particular, is more dependent on rhythm and textual content.
A number of different songs may be used and interchanged to make up the body of each Milan, allowing for great variety within a given performance. The muwashshah was a musical form based on strophic poetry (alternating verse and chorus), which replaced the single line rhyme schemes of the classical Asia.
The muwashshah was incorporated into the eastern system of madam when it traveled across North Africa into Egypt, where musicians, theorists and composers sought to analyze and emulate its form. The muwashshah composers that began settling in Syria as early as the twelfth century brought a musical form to the region that is still used today.
Another popular song form called naval developed in Andalusian Spain during the eleventh century. The naval was similar to the muwashshah in form but was sung in colloquial languages as opposed to classical Arabic.
The structures of the nu bat being performed today vary greatly due to regional stylistic differences. On the other hand, it is common practice in Algeria to perform vocal sections that correspond roughly to the rhythmic progressions of a single nu bah.
In this tradition, the orchestra leader chooses the songs while on stage, a kind of improvisation that leaves the audience anticipating what piece will be played next. Other variations in form occur according to the social setting of the music : weddings, concerts or religious performance inspire different progressions of pieces.
In Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, the muwashshah has become so integrated with classical music traditions that it has taken on its own life there and can no longer be considered completely Andalusian. In Syria, the Andalusian origin of the muwashshah was obscured over time; scholars rediscovered its historical ties to Andalusia only in the twentieth century.
In the late eighteenth century, al-Hayik, a scholar from Return, tried to recreate and transcribe the original twenty-four nu bat, but could find only eleven complete forms. The work of al-Hayik and subsequent scholars on the surviving eleven nu bat is what most North African Andalusian orchestras use to comprise their repertoire.
Yet these treatises, however meticulously researched, are based on limited sources, suggesting that the music that exists today is a modern interpretation of an ancient form, a reflection of times past. When compared to the more traditional forms practiced in the Maghreb, Andalusia seems unrelated, but the key to its connection with Andalusia is more metaphorical, than musical.
Due to religious and political oppression, artistic expression in the Arab world is often forced to take on a metaphorical quality; given the political climate of Lebanon in the late sixties, it is easy to see the need to connect with a time when Arab rule was prosperous and enlightened. So, while the musicians of the Maghreb seek to preserve Andalusia through adherence to its traditional musical forms, artists of Egypt and the Levant invoke the mythological characteristics of landaus and its legacy through the muwashshah.
The music of Andalusia was a product of the greatest and most enduring periods of Arab success in the European world. This tradition was founded by a man who was exiled from his homeland in the East to find wealth and success in the West, a figure to whom the modern Arab can easily relate.
Nicole George is a percussionist and teacher originally from New Orleans, LA, currently living in San Francisco, CA. While in Minneapolis, she freelanced with a number of local folk and rock groups while maintaining her own band, an improvisational acoustic trio, Mandala Slinky.
She moved to the Bay Area in 1995 where she has since worked with such groups as SUS and the Cairo Cats, The Aswan Dancers, The Georges Lam mam Ensemble, Slave Silica, and several other local Arabic and Balkan wedding/dance bands. For the past five years, Nicole has been the musical accompanist and resident drum teacher for Oasis Dance Camps.
She is currently a member of The Georges Lam mam Ensemble, and is also collaborating with several of the Bay Area’s top female Balkan influenced musicians in a “world gypsy” band called Panacea.