Hometown: Cologne/ Germany
Web site: http://www.lagash.de
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Lagash – the four-piece ensemble around the two Iraqi musicians Saad Thamir and Bassem Hawar creates a new dimension in oriental worlds of sound. The chamber music instrumentation with soloistic djoze (Iraqi viola da gamba), percussion, clarinet and piano produces a contemporary form of classic Arabic music. On the basis of traditional Iraqi maqam music, the formation is fascinating with captivating sounds, alluring melodies and surprising harmonies.
Based on musical scales and modal structures (fixed tetrachords), classic maqam music consists of fixed successions of individual musical sequences which express certain feelings. Saad Thamir connects individual maqam parts in a new style in his compositions, expanding the musical scales of the maqamat (pl.) and thus enhancing forms which have been firmly established for centuries. The principle of harmonisation is also included in classic Arabic music. The instrumental accompanying voices are thus on an equal footing with the melodic, rhythmic virtuosity of the vocals. Comparable with European musical traditions from baroque to jazz, there are also composed and improvised components in the songs of Lagash.
Saad Thamir and Bassem Hawar come from Iraq where they worked as lecturers teaching the subjects of composition, piano and violin at the Baghdad Institute of Fine Arts. In exile they teamed up with two musicians with a European tradition, the clarinettist Christina Fuchs and the German-Indian pianist Jarry Singla to create a contemporary interpretation of the forms of classic Iraqi maqam music. While the name of their ensemble Lagash refers to the South Mesopotamian town of the same name and therefore to more than 5000 years of Sumerian culture, the art of maqam has become almost entirely lost in Iraq today on account of the difficult socio-economic conditions.
Saad Thamir - Vocals, darbouka, daf, riq
Bassem Hawar - Djoze (Iraqi knee violin)
Christina Fuchs - Clarinet, bass clarinet
Jarry Singla - Piano
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