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The Music of Islam

Posted By: Bibixy
The Music of Islam

The Music of Islam
Celestial Harmonies | 1998 | 17 CD | 15 RAR | 1.80 Gb
MP3 192 Kbps | Lame encoded | Tracks | Covers & Booklets | Fserve, Fsonic

From remote areas of Indonesia to southern Spain, this 17-CD box set is comprehensive in its scope of music made by those following the Islamic faith. The discs include Quran recitations, Sufi qawwali, the music of whirling dervishes, the folk music of Egypt, Andalusian sounds of Morocco, and recordings from Yemen, Tunisia, Turkey, Iran, and several other countries, some of which you may not have thought housed Muslim populations. In short, the collection is sublime, recorded and researched lovingly by producer David Parsons, who managed to cover the full range of Islamic music. –Karen K. Hugg

The Project

With 17 CDs in 15 volumes, The Music of Islam boxed set artistically presents nearly 20 hours of diversely rich Islamic music recorded throughout the Islamic Belt with over 800 pages of synoptic scholastic text written by leading scholars and ethnomusicologists from around the world. Creating a class of its own, and perhaps setting a new standard, The Music of Islam is an unequalled sound document destined to live beyond our time and, regrettably, most likely surpass the very existence of some of the people and cultures featured.

The Artists

The Music of Islam is the result of a vision going back over a decade to Michelle Zackheim's visual art project The Tent of Meeting (see Harmonic Meetings 14013) which inspired Eckart Rahn to record 200 musicians in 9 countries on 3 continents over 10 years; the finished project can surely be regarded as recorded music history.
New Zealander David Parsons, an accomplished musician and acclaimed producer and Prof. Margaret Kartomi of Australia, the leading expert of Indonesia's music cultures, have captured the very essence of each area; the people, culture and music.
The musicians and reciters recorded in the series are masters of their chosen art, regionally and worldwide, with numerous years of intense study (or a lifetime devotion to studying) from a long lineage of great composers, reciters, mystics and spiritual leaders. Each is truly a divine gift, not only to their respective cultural history, but to the world at large.
While all volumes feature commonly played Arabic instruments, some volumes include instruments specific to their musical heritage.

Nearly all traditions of Arabic music, including Egyptian, are strongly defined by rhythm. A glance at the history and structure of Arabic music, the most modern of which is based in Egypt, imparts an insight into an unheard of multifaceted aspect of traditions and functions; styles and repertoires, genres and instruments, forms, and structural principles. Arabic music shows a dynamic and changing historical evolution. This first volume in The Music of Islam series clearly reflects this, belonging to both old and new styles—in repertoire and performance the music in this recording reflects the new Egyptic style while the orchestration follows the older Arab practices.

What is unique about this volume is that it incorporates only instrumental recordings. This is highly unusual. But this one sideness is toned down as all other instrumental pieces are determined thematically—except the pure musically bound solo taqsim (instrumental improvisations) and the sama'i (Turkish, aristocratic art music)—be it through renowned texts of the songs performed by the instruments or through programmed indications, which are characteristic for many new Egyptian instrumental compositions.

the artists

This first volume in The Music of Islam series is a studio recording of the classical music of Cairo, or Al-Qahirah as it was called in ancient times. Recorded at the Coronet Digital Studios in the suburb of Mohandesseen, located across the Nile River from the main city, producer David Parsons was surprised to find the studio was in an apartment building. "Upon arriving at the studio I had many misgivings. I thought it must be a 'home studio'", tells Parsons. But, once through the door, he discovered it was actually one of the top, fully digital, studios in Cairo.

The musicians featured in this volume are regarded as some of the most outstanding and sought–after studio musicians in all of Egypt. They play traditional Arabic instruments and are masters of classical, folk and popular music. The ensemble includes Mamdouh El Gbaly playing 'ud (lute), Mostafa Abd El Khalek playing the qanun (zither), Mohammed Foda playing the nay (flute), Khaled Gomaa playing tabalah (goblet drum), Ibrahim Gomaa playing duff (frame-drum), and Hesham El Araby playing riqq (tambourine with small cymbals).

tracklist
1 KHATWET HABIBY (Footsteps of my love) 4'00"
2 EL HELWA DAYER SHEBBAK (The beautiful girl in the window) 6'08"
3 'UD SOLO (An improvisation) 4'14"
4 ANA FI ENTIZARAK KHALET (I got tired of waiting for you) 13'05"
5 NAY SOLO (An improvisation on flute) 2'42"
6 SAMRA YA SAMRA (Oh you brown girl) 5'35"
7 QANUN SOLO (An improvisation on the Egyptian boz zither) 2'50"
8 BINT AL-BALAD (Daughter of the country) 4'26"
9 TABALAH SOLO (An improvised drum solo) 3'45"
10 SAMA'I BAYATI (AL-ARYAN) (Refering to an Egyptian scale) 6'22"
11 RIQQ SOLO (An improvised solo on tambourine) 2'57"
12 HABIBI WA ENAYA (My darling, my dear) 6'46"
Total Time: 63'54""

The Sinai, under the control of Egypt today, is a triangular peninsula bridging North Africa and the Middle East. The unique and varied landscape, resources, demands and dangers of the South Sinai has allowed the Bedouin there to develop their own lifestyle and culture. The Bedouin music culture also developed against the backdrop of the desert—a place of intense silence. Out of the silence, the desert Bedouin culture has evolved a profound sensitivity and mystical appreciation for sound which permeates every aspect of Bedouin life. The piercing cry of women's ululations express acclaim on festive occasions, the plaintive melody of the shepherdess's flute accompanies her watch over the sheep and goats, and the rhythmic beating of framedrums exorcise evil spirits from holy places and tombs. But for the Bedouin, the most subtle and charged of man-made sounds is the spoken or sung word.

Bedouin music is probably the oldest part of the entire repertoire of folk music in the Arab world. Thus, this recording is a celebration as well as a sound document of their traditional culture and unique identity.

the artists

From the harsh and beautiful land of desert plains and rugged red–brown and black mountains—the South Sinai—this volume features the traditional folk music of the legendary desert nomads. Recorded in a single night, in a dry riverbed under a full moon, the backdrop of the desert offered a priceless doorway into this ancient culture, people and music, capturing their very essence.

The South Sinai Bedouin singers and musicians featured in this recording not only symbolize the survival and legacy of their ancestors, but of future generations to come. With a declining population (about 200,000 as of 1418/1997) and facing inevitable society changes from impending modernization, their preservation is critical.

The group consists of musical director, lead singer, 'ud (fretless lute) and simsimiyya (five-string lyre) player Selim Seliman; poet-singer and rabab (one-stringed fiddle) player Haj-Mohamed Ouda; singers Ghaneb Mohamed, Awad Gomaa, Mosallam Soliman, Aly Hemeid, Mohamed Abdallah, Ayed Hamdan, Hussein Awad, Hemeid Abdallah, Mohamed Hemeid and Meneify Hamdan; and percussionist (oil-can drum) Soliman Hussein.
tracklist
1 BA'AD AL- 'ASAHA (After Dinner) 5'56"
2 FI SOLAM AL TAEIRA (On the Aircraft Steps) 2'56"
3 LALA TODAYWQOUIN AL-TARFI (Do Not Bother al-Tarif) 4'30"
4 EL BANAT METALEMAT (The Girls are Educated) 3'18"
5 IBNATTAN 'ARABIYATTAN (Arab Girl) 3'18"
6 MILI 'ALLAYA MILI (Lean on Me, Lean) 5'29"
7 QASIDAH (Poem) 4'07"
8 YA RIM (Oh Gazelle) 4'07"
9 ALLAH ANI TALABTAK, MA TALABT AL-BAKHIL (God I Asked You) 3'44"
10 YA WARID AL- MA, ASQINI SHARABAN (You Who are Going to the Water Hole) 4'24"
11 SID EL 'ARAB (Master of the Arabs) 3'07"
12 NARTIJI WA AL- RAJA FI ALLAH (We hope in God) 2'47"
13 KHELLI YA KHELLI (Beloved Oh Beloved) 4'22"
14 GAL AL WADA' (She Said Farewell) 3'34"
15 BARHUM YA BARHUM (Abraham, oh Abraham) 4'56"
16 AHLAN WA SAHLAN (Welcome, Welcome) 3'38
Total Time: 75'23"

From ancient times, Nubian peoples have flourished in the land along the Nile River. But Egyptian projects to dam the river at Aswan have, over time, submerged the Nubian territories along the Nile under water. And with the completion of the Aswan High Dam and Lake Nasser came the inundation of the entire Nubian valley in southern Egypt. As a result, the Egyptian Nubians irrevocably lost what remained of their ancestral lands along the Nile and were forcibly relocated. The resettlement has given rise to a range of social problems, and many aspects of Nubian culture and social organization that previously existed have now changed or disappeared.

Despite efforts to survive or revive their culture, at this present point in the epic history of the Nubians, when their ancestral land is lost, and when their language is no longer the medium of either their religion or their government, music may in fact prove to be the best means for preserving something of the ethos of Nubian culture, and for adapting it to further changes in the future.

the artists

Recorded at the Aswan Palace of Culture in Aswan, Egypt, this third volume in The Music of Islam series is performed by the highly acclaimed Aswan Troupe for Folkloric Arts, under the musical direction of Dr. Fawzy Fawzy. Originally formed of amateurs to participate in weddings and celebrations in the homes of friends and relatives, the troupe quickly evolved into a professional organization. With the support of the Palace of Culture's director and Aswan's governor, the troupe made its first public performance in 1395/1975, featuring a number of folk dances and representing various customs and traditions of the region. The troupe is co-directed by Dr. Modather Saleem Ahmed and Dr. Fawzy Fawzy.

The traditional instruments featured, which are used to accompany Nubian song and dance, include the 'ud (fretless, short-necked lute), tabla (or tabalah, single–headed tapered drum) and tar (or duff, round framedrum). The typical song style is based on alternation of a solo singer with a chorus. Both song and dance are often accompanied by intricate patterns of hand–clapping and foot-stomping. Wedding celebrations, which can last up to a week, are the main social setting for performing traditional Nubian music and dance.
tracklist
1 AL-KARTCH 6'31"
2 FOLK SONG 6'16"
3 NUBIAN RHYTHMS 5'49"
4 ZAFA (The groom's wedding procession) 3'22"
5 POPULAR GAMES 4'45"
6 AL-NAJIMSHAD 10'03"
7 AL-SOUKH (At the market) 6'17"
8 SALAAM YA 4'58"
9 AL-SAYADDIN (Fishermen) 6'22"
10 AL-TATHA 7'55"
11 ALLAH MUSAU 6'15"
Total Time: 69'32"

During the early phase of conceptualizing what would become The Music of Islam, at least one volume was planned to be recorded in Iraq, in the ancient city of Basra. However, the tempest of world politics prevented us from accomplishing this goal.

With no legal means to enter Iraq our approach changed to a global search for Iraqi musicians. And to our surprise, in the beautiful port city of Doha in the small Emirate of Qatar on the east coast of the Arabian peninsula (not too far south of the Iraqi border), we discovered an expatriate community of Iraqi musicians, all born in Baghdad and graduates of Baghdad University.

The Music of Islam, Volume Four embraces some of the most beautiful Islamic music from Iraq, featuring the 'ud and various percussion instruments, performed by Iraqi master musicians who keep their music traditions alive in Qatar.

the artists

Producer David Parsons eloquently captures the traditional classical and art music of Iraq in this volume of The Music of Islam series featuring two expatriate musicians from Iraq.

Born in Iraq in 1389/1969, Mohammed Saleh Abd Al-Saheb Lelo, holds a degree in music from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Baghdad University, with a major focus on the 'ud (oud, a short-necked fretless lute) and qanun (a type of plucked board zither). He worked as a session musician for Iraqi broadcasting from 1409/1988-1416/1995 and has worked with most of the leading Iraqi vocalists. In addition to his recordings and numerous performances at major festivals in Iraq, Mohammed Saleh taught music courses at Baghdad University and Babel University and has published articles in local newspapers. Currently, Mohammed Saleh is the 'ud and qanun player for the Qatar Vision Advertising and Media Production Agency.

Haitham Hasan, born in 1389/1969, began playing percussion instruments at the age of nine. His training includes the study of all the Arabic percussion instruments. He has performed in major international music festivals and has recorded with many well–known Arabic singers. In this recording, Haitham is featured on the tabalah (a goblet drum), kasur (a small single–headed drum), riqq (tambourine), tar (a single–headed frame drum), sajat (copper finger cymbals), drenga (like the tabalah but more metallic in sound) and the tabl (a double–headed cylindrical drum).
tracklist
1 QUAM NA DIMI 7'27"
2 ISH LONAK INI 5'55"
3 TAQSIM I 3'40"
4 YA GARIYA KHABIRINI 6'05"
5 AL HAJR 7'12"
6 MAROU ALYAA EL-HELWEN 4'24"
7 TAQSIM 2 6'21"
8 BEAD KONTO 6'40"
9 LAMA BADA YATASANA 3'45"
10 TAQSIM 3 5'50"
11 YA HELO YA ABU EL-SEDARA 5'52"
Total Time: 64'49"

'Aissaoua Sufi Ceremony, the first of three volumes in this series recorded in Morocco, captures the public performance of 'Aissaoua rituals, called hadra. 'Aissaoua is the brotherhood comprised of followers of one of Morocco's most well–known and highly regarded spiritual leaders, Shaykh 'Abd Allah Sidi Muhammad Ben 'Aisa as-Sufiani al-Mukhtari (870/1465-933/1526). 'Aissaoua performances work on several levels: for members of the brotherhood, they form part of their spiritual training; for ceremony sponsors they serve to bless the event; and for the individual pilgrim or participant, the ritual provides access to the tangible baraka (blessing) of the Shaykh (Arabic Sheikh), which can be activated for purposes of healing and guidance. The trance possession which occurs during the hadra is the most dramatic manifestation of this therapeutic function of the performance. The baraka which effects these transformations is activated and brought into the hadra by means of recitations, singing and music, all of which is traditionally featured on this double length recording. Perhaps Parsons has captured even more than the Islamic music represented here, like, the transcendence of baraka from Shaykh ben 'Aisa for all who listen.

the artists

Produced and recorded by David Parsons, this volume presents the hadra of an 'Aissaoua team held at a house deep in the medina—the old section of Marrakesh, Morocco.

Recording conditions for this volume in The Music of Islam series were unique and challenging. For instance, the microphone had to be taped to an orange tree and oftentimes covered with a white cloth as its black color was not allowed to be seen during the ceremony. The production team was also restricted from wearing any black clothing.

While listening to this recording, shifts in the stereo imaging and balance can be detected as the participants moved around the courtyard. Rather than record the musicians in an artificial setting, Parsons wanted to catch the music live with an audience, including people going into trances. This setting was much more conducive to the spirit of the music, which is played to serve the dual purpose of devotion for members of the brotherhood and healing for members of the assembly.
tracklist
Disk 1:
1 DIKR (PART 1) 11'21"
2 DIKR (PART 2) 9'07"
3 FATHA 0'31"
4 DIKR (PART 3) 8'50"
5 INVOCATION 0'35"
6 'ADA (PART 1) 17'49"
7 'ADA (PART 2) 7'31"
Total Time: 56'14"
Disk 2:
1 SCENE INAUGURATION 14'47"
2 DIKRA REBBANIA 40'26"
3 CLOSING MUSIC 11'02"
Total Time: 66'28"

This volume features songs from various sections of the lila (music ritual) repertoire of the Gnawa. The Gnawa inhabit the same religious world as Arab Muslim Moroccans, yet find their entry into it via a different path. Instead of reciting prayers in preparation of trance ceremonies, the Gnawa's authority is invoked by recounting their people's experience as in Ulad Bambara (track 1). A long suite of songs, it opens with praise to God and the Prophet Muhammad and his daughter Lalla Fatima, but also refers to the Gnawa centers, including Marrakesh, as well as entreat the assembly to make pilgrimage to the local awliya' saints. Thus establishing the present location in Muslim Morocco, the song moves south and recalls the Gnawa's lands and people of origin as well as some spirits of West African origin and the abduction and transporting of slaves from the Sudan. The singing ends with the proclamation of faith and gives way to a series of dances. Singing in a call/response style—the lead singer being answered by other members of the group in chorus—the lead singer determines the length of sung portions, while the sintir signals changes in tempos or meter, announces new songs by switching the melody, and signals the ends of songs with cadential cues. The songs are flexible in length, allowing the leader to shorten or lengthen a song to accommodate the needs of dancers in trance.

the artists

Recorded in one of the most important artistic and cultural centers in the Islamic world, this volume features the music of the Gnawa, a distinct ethnic group of black Africans in Morocco, descendants of slaves from the western Sudan. With a distinct cultural heritage in the realms of music and religious ritual it is passed on by the religious brotherhood by the same name, Gnawa.

The Gnawa use three main instruments, which are particular to them: the sintir or hajhaj, a long–necked lute of the guinbri family; the qraqeb or qraqesh, a pair of hand held metal clappers; and the tbel, a barrel drum with two heads struck with sticks.

The featured musicians are associated with the Gnawa brotherhood in Marrakesh and perform at private ritual ceremonies as well as public functions of the brotherhood. Ahmed Baqbou, the sintir player, comes from a distinguished Gnawa family. His father was a Gnawa mcallem (a Gnawa master of yore). He is joined by Marchane Abdelkbir Lechhab the lead vocalist, and Kharmouss Mahdjoub and Hamzaoui Ahmed on percussion and vocals.
tracklist
1 ULAD BAMBARA (The Sons of Bambara) 10'39"
2 YOBATI/KALKANI BULILA 6'36"
3 'ADA 9'25"
4 BUDERBALA/BUHALA 8'50"
5 ITCHALABA TITARA 12'52"
6 YOMALA 5'58"
7 MIMUNA 6'31"
Total Time: 61'26"

North Africa became the stronghold of Arab–Andalusian music after the fall of Granada in 897/1492, yet the existence of the nubah (plural nubat, literally rotation or succession) system in Morocco can be traced back earlier, to at least the XI/12th century. Much of the repertoire has been lost over the years, and different areas preserve different nubat. In Morocco today, there are at least two distinct styles of Arab-Andalusian music, al-Ala, which is the most prevalent one across the country, and Gharnati, specific to Oujda in eastern Morocco and to Tlemcen in Algeria. These traditions are considered to be Morocco's classical musical heritage.

The repertoire of the al-Ala today is highlighted in this volume. It consists of eleven nubat which were standardized in the late XII/18th century. A nubah is divided into five sections, each corresponding to a particular mizan—rhythmic pattern. Within each of these rhythmic phases, there is a slow and a fast version of each mizan. A nubah is actually never performed in its entirety, for this could take over six hours. Each Moroccan nubah contains between 95 and 153 songs and instrumental pieces. The layout of the nubah functions more as a matrix of possible performance choices than as a plan that must be adhered to. A typical nubah performance will consist of several pieces from a few different rhythmic phases.

the artists

Morocco, home to some of the richest Islamic music, became the recording site of three volumes in The Music of Islam series: Volume 5: 'Aissaoua Sufi Ceremony (14144), Volume Six: Gnawa Music (13146) and this volume. Recorded at the Palace Bouhlal, deep in the Medina—old city—of Tetouan, which is, with Fes, one of the two centers of al-Ala music in Morocco, shows the living tradition that is the musical heritage of al-Andalus.

The musicians of the featured ensemble are ambassadors of this living tradition. Led by El Kacimi Mohamed, the ensemble uses traditional Arabic instruments. El Kacimi Mohamed plays the kamanja (violin), Ahmed El Kamas plays the 'ud (lute), Abdelkarim Doukhou plays the nay (flute), and percussionists Abdelilah Azlas and Mohamed El Rhouni play the darabukka (clay goblet drum) and tar (tambourine).
tracklist
1 ESHBEHAYN 8'49"
2 MKDAM SHARKI 9'08"
3 RASHDAYL 4'06"
4 ESTHLAL 13'33"
5 TIMES MKDAM SHARKI 10'36"
6 RASHDFA 7'22"
7 HIJASOUL (CHAHSHAHACHHI) 11'04"
8 ELHIJAZ 10'36"
Total Time: 76'04"

According to producer David Parsons this volume was the most difficult in the series, both technically and information–wise. "It was a classic case of trying to record, with one stereo microphone, a group of singers who also played drums", exclaims Parsons. Yet, however technically challenging it may have been, the end result is nonetheless superb. Two of the most beautiful songs (tracks 2 and 7) on the recording feature the mawwal—a vocal form which usually follows the performance of the layali—vocal improvisations. The form was known as early as the III/9th century where it was described in connection with the working class. Also featured is a modern composition (a rarity in this series) by group leader and vocalist, Lotfi Jormana. As in traditional music, the melodic component of this song is shaped by the concept of maqam—or mode—which governs the construction of melodic phrases, standard melodic formulae, cadential patterns, and vocal range.

the artists

Recorded in a house in the medina, the old quarter of the city of Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, this volume features the traditional instruments and songs of the folkloric music of Tunisia which thrive as a living testament to the wide spectrum of cultures and practices across the World of Islam.

Performed by the Lotfi Jormana Group, this volume features the melodic mizwid—Tunisian bagpipe played in the central regions of Tunisia accompanied by percussion. The mizwid has two melody pipes and no drone pipes. In instrumental music the long flowing melodies of the mizwid seem to soar above the pulse of the percussion group. In vocal music, the mizwid echoes, punctuates, and connects individual vocal phrases.

The members of the group include: Lotfi Jormana, the group leader and vocalist; Abdessalem Zarga, mizwid player; Fathi Bouguera, tabal (double-headed cylindrical drum); Fathi Dahleb, bendir (circular framedrum); Hichem Sallemi, darabukkah (drum); and Khaled Bekir, tar (tambourine).
tracklist
1 MEDLEY 7'15"
2 MAWWAL I 4'27"
3 BABA SALEM 9'50"
4 LELIRI YA MANA LOFTI JORMANA 4'06"
5 HAY LELI LELI & ALA BAB SOUIKA 10'44"
6 EL GUELB ELY 6'56"
7 MAWWAL 2 3'41"
8 DHAOUIT AYEMEK & MA INDICH ZAHAR 10'13"
9 NEMDAH LAKTAB 6'55"
Total Time: 64'49"

Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam, has long had a tradition of art music, and one of the most celebrated mystical traditions in the world, that of the Mevlevi dervishes, evolved in Turkey. Mevlevi or Mawlawiyah music, developed in the VII/13th century and nurtured by several centuries of sultans, poets, and musicians, remains arguably the greatest Turkish contribution to the music of Islam. Although this music is the focus of this volume its influence is also strongly felt in volume 14.

Tracks 1-6 in this volume represent a complete sema ritual, and other rituals of mystic Mevlevi music are included as well. As a branch of Sufism, the Mevlevis practice the ritual called zikr (Arabic dhikr)—an ecstatic ceremony of invocation and remembrance of God through, among other things, the repeated chanting of his many names. The zikr is practiced by Sufis throughout the Islamic world, and it has been noted that even the Turkish sema is a specific subdivision of this genre of ritual. The Mevlevis also present their mystical music in what might be viewed as a kind of concert suite (tracks 7 and 9). Track 8 is a prelude of sorts that introduces the mode used in the final suite. Each suite is united by a different mode. In every case, the music draws its inspiration from the text, and its structure from a sophisticated set of modes, rhythms, and traditional forms.

the artists

Very few have actually had the unforgettable experience of seeing the world–famous Whirling Dervishes. The musicians in Turkey were so receptive to contributing to The Music of Islam series that they held a special performance for producer David Parsons to witness and record. Originally recorded in an annex of the Great Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, the ensemble tracks were re–recorded in an Istanbul recording studio for better sound quality.

The ensemble performing here is the Galata Mevlevi Music and Sema Ensemble, based in Istanbul. Most of these musicians can also be heard on Volume Fourteen: Mystic Music Through the Ages (13154).
tracklist
1 NA 'T-I SHERIF 5'45"
2 NAY TAKSIM (Nay improvisation) * 3'35"
3 PESHREV (Prelude) 2'54"
4 SUZIDILARA AYIN 25'19"
5 KAMANCHE TAKSIM (Kamanche improvisation) 1'35"
6 FEEYNEMA TUVELLU 3'45"
FESEMME VECHULLAH (Wherever you turn you see God's Presence)
7 SUITE IN SEGAH 12'45"
PART I, PESHREV (Prelude)
PART 2, SOL CENNETIN IRMAKLARI AKAR ALLAH DEYU DEYU
(The river's of paradise flow saying "Allah Allah".)
PART 3, EY ALLAHIM BENI SENDEN AYIRMA
(O My God, do not separate me from you)
PART 4, CANIM KURBAN OLSUN SENIN YOLUNA
(Let my soul be sacrificed to your way)
8 TANBOUR TAKSIM (Bowed tanbour improvisation) 1'53"
9 SUITE IN RAST 14'07"
PART I, KA'BENIN YOLLARI (The ways of Ka'be)
PART 2, EY ASIK-I DILDADE (Oh, beloved lover)
PART 3, ERLER DEMINE DESTUR ALALIM (Prayer for permission for whirling)
PART 4, ALLAHUMME SALLI ALEL MUSTAFA (God's benediction for the Prophet)
Total Time: 72'22"

Many orthodox Muslims have traditionally held that music is generally detrimental to the listener's religious life, and as a result there is relatively little sacred music in Islam. But there is some. Central to Islamic life is the chanting of the holy scripture, the Qur'an. Two associated works, the call to prayer known as ezan (adhon) and the tekbir, are known throughout the Islamic world, and are also performed in a highly stylized, richly embroidered style of chant. These prayers are the subject of this volume. A further prayer, the mevlud (mawlid) and regional prayers for the month of Ramadan are reserved for special occasions. All of these sacred works are sung/recited (the distinction becomes almost a semantic one in these performances in Arabic, of course); but difference in pronunciation and inflection have led to distinctly regional styles of performance. The five reciters recorded in this volume are all based in Istanbul, Turkey, where the tradition of Qur'anic chant is particularly strong.

The sound of the Qur'an recitation can be a striking one for Western ears. The modes can range from the slightly piquant to the startlingly exotic. But it bears repeating that, for all the musical interest in these performances, this is basically not music at all. It is prayer; and like the chanting of the Buddhist monks of Tibet, has as its ultimate aim not a musical goal but a spiritual one.

the artists

Featuring five of the best reciters in Turkey, this volume in The Music of Islam series focuses on the recitation of the Qur'an, as the title implies. Producer David Parsons has remarkably captured the spiritual essence of this ancient and time–honored tradition.

Hafiz Kani Karaca is one of Turkey's greatest Qur'an reciters and has represented Turkey in recitation competitions in other Islamic countries.

Hafiz Huseyin Erek is the leader of the Sisli Mosque Foundation of Istanbul.

Hafiz Kadir Konya is a famous reciter who also represents religious business interests on the Istanbul City Council.

Hafiz Dr. Emin Isik is a Professor of Qur'an recitation and commentary on Qur'an (Tefsir) at the Theology Faculty of Marmara University. He is one of Turkey's best-known proponents of Qur'an recitation.

Co–producer Al-Sheikh Nail Kesova is the Leader of the Galata Mevlevi Ensemble (the world famous Whirling Dervishes), a composer in the Turkish mystic music tradition, and a well–known singer and reciter of Turkish mystic and religious music.
tracklist
1 EZAN (Call to Prayer) 1'53"
2 FATIHA (The Opening Chapter) 1'16
3 BAQARA I (The Heifer) 3'00"
4 BAQARA 1 (During Ascension) 3'19"
5 FURQAN (The Distinction) 12'46"
6 YA-SIN 20'22"
7 RAHMAN (Most Gracious) 14'57"
8 HASHR (The Banishment) 2'04"
9 ASR (The Ages) 0'54"
10 IKHLAS (Purity of Faith) 0'43"
11 FALAQ (The Dawn) 0'49"
12 NAS (Mankind) 1'00"
13 TEKBIR (Unification) 1'37"
Total Time: 65'45"

The music culture of Yemen is a domain which has, until this recording and accompanying annotation, been scarcely known or documented. Yet, it has deep historic roots. The music of Yemen is extremely rich in genres, repertoires and configurations, functional relationships, modalities of performance and instruments. Yemenite music in general, and regardless of all the differences between layers of tradition and local and regional styles, has a particular attraction and charm, virtues which have been praised since ancient times.

The traditional music life in Yemenite towns knows no concerts or concert halls. Music performances form part of various functions. In Sana'a there are two main occasions: magyal, a social afternoon gathering and samra, night time entertainment. Recorded at a modern magyal, this volume features the classical traditional style of Yemen.
the artist
Music of Yemen was recorded in the home of well–known Sana'anian physician, musician and musicologist Dr. Nizar Ghanem in Old Sana'a.

Vocalist Iman Ibrahim is an accomplished singer in Yemen. Her presence and participation at the magyal was unusual in the light of tradition. She specializes in folk songs and songs in the Aden–style, in the Egyptian style, and in the highland style.

Vocalist and 'ud (short-necked, fretless lute) player Slaeh Abdul Baqi teaches music. He is attributed to fostering the traditional music of the south.

Vocalist and 'ud player Yahya Arouma is a well–known fannan (the modern designation for a singer and instrumentalist with a revalued social status), specializing in the songs of Sana'a.

Vocalist and 'ud player Omar Ghallab is a fannan and composer specializing in the music of his home region, Hadramaut.

Vocalist Abdelrahman Imri specializes in religious songs and the classical songs of Egypt.

Vocalist and 'ud player Mohamed Salem Shauqi is an aspiring vocalist specializing in the rural folk music of the southern highland region.
Vocalist Khalid Ali, tabla player Omar Salem Ba Jabirah and reqq (Arabic riqq) player Mirwan Al-Haidari are aspiring artists, acquiring their musical skills at magyal sessions.
tracklist
1 YA RABBAT EL-HUSN (Oh Goddess of Beauty) 10'16"
2 TABA ' AN LIQA (It was nice to meet) 6'39"
3 ANA ATARAJJAK (I implore you) 6'39"
4 TABI' 'S-SAMAR (After the nocturnal enjoyment) 13'30"
5 LEH LEH WA-HAJIRI (Why, Oh why are you leaving me) 8'37"
6 YA SHARIKH EL-HAWEL (Oh, young shepherd) 11'09"
7 LI-LLAHI MA YAHWEH HATHA 'L-MAQAM (Indeed, how wonderful is this gathering) 9'38"
Total Time: 67'02"

The instrumental compositions in this recording belong to Persian art music as passed down to the present. The marked preference of the Persians for instrumental music contributed to the dedication of greater attention by the Arabs, orientated more towards vocal music, to the development of instruments and instrumental performance.

Gusheh-ha—designating small dimensioned tonal melodic tone groups—form the foundations of the great complex creations of the classical music of Iran. A gusheh (singular) is comprised of a dastgah—a kind of five–part suite. The connection with classical music is first established by the integration of all recordings in two very popular dastgah-ha (plural), Shur and Homayoun, also found in most regional music traditions.

The instrumental compositions combining the kemenche and santur offer an excellent rendering of the feeling for sound or of the sound ideal of classical Persian music culture. They are accompanied in the rhythmical formation by the zarb or duff.

the artists

Instilled with preconceptions of Islam and Islamic countries as negatively portrayed by the Western news media, David Parsons embarked on The Music of Islam series with many trepidations. One of the biggest was entering Iran and keeping his family safe, especially with the bad press Iran has been subjected to since the Islamic Revolution.

To his surprise, Parsons received generous hospitality and warmth from the Iranian people and the recording of this volume became one of his most satisfying and rewarding experiences out of the entire series. Consequently, Parsons left Iran in love with a country, a culture, and people, and with a yearning to return.

The Iranian musicians featured in this recording; Agha-ye Sadjadifard, Agha-ye Djamshidi and Agha-ye Sahihi, were very enthusiastic about representing Islam and Iran and were passionately devoted in presenting a balanced program offering a broad spectrum of Iranian classical music.

Traditional instruments featured include the santur (a trapezoidal zither), kemenche (Arabic kamanja, a bowed spike-lute), tombak (a large goblet drum) and duff (a large framedrum with cymbals).
tracklist
1 TASNIF-E MAHALLI KURDI 1'24"
2 TASNIF-E DASHTI 1'48"
3 AVAZ SHOOSHTARI 5'10"
4 BEDAH-E NAVZAI SANTUR (impromptu on the santur) 12'38"
5 RENG 3'03"
6 BEDAH-E AVAZ, TASNIF-E KURDI (Avaz improvisation) 19'16"
7 BEDAH-E NAVAZI TOMBAK (Improvisation on the tombak) 3'10"
8 TASNIF-E ESFAHAN (Song to the Esfahan-Tune) 5'07"
9 TANIF VA SO'AL VA JAVAB-E KEMENCHE 7'35"
10 FARHANG-E A'VAM 2'34"
11 GAT-E KURDI 1'55"
Total Time: 64'33"

The classical music of Pakistan has its roots in pre–Islamic times. Hence the names of the majority of ragas have Hindu connections and are from the Sanskirt language. Muslim musicians from Pakistan will generally sing in the Urdu language and the lyrics, if religious, will be in praise of Allah.

Islamic culture, and in particular Persia, has had a profound influence on the evolution of music. Today, Muslim musicians play a major role in the music world. Whether they are from Pakistan or India, names like Ustad Bary Fateh Ali Khan, Vilayat Khan, Amjad Ali Khan, or the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan are among the great musicians of the XIV/20th century.

In this recording, Ustad Bary Fateh Ali Khan presents three ragas for three different periods of the day: early morning, early evening and evening. The concept of set periods of the day to which ragas are attached is based upon how one generally feels at different times. This is further defined by scale and the ascending or descending structure of the raga. Each raga is in the tin-tal rhythmic cycle, the closest to the Western concept of 4/4 time.

the artists

With the exquisite articulation of living legend Ustad Bary Fateh Ali Khan, this volume in The Music of Islam series features the traditional instruments and ragas of the classical music of Pakistan which thrive as a living testament to the wide spectrum of cultures and practices across the World of Islam.

One of the few great masters alive today, Indian born Ustad Bary Fateh Ali Khan began singing at the age of eight. After partition, his family migrated to Lahore in the new state of Pakistan. He is accompanied by sarangi, tabla, tanpuras and svarmandal, and accompanies himself on harmonium (an adapted version of the Western reed organ).

The sarangi (a violin in the shape of a rectangular box) is played by one of the subcontinent's great masters, Ustad Nazim Ali Khan. The tabla (a set of two drums) is played by Ershad Hussain. Today it is the most important percussion instrument in the northern half of the subcontinent. The tanpura (a drone similar in construction to the sitar but without frets and commonly with only four strings) is played by Mustaq Ali and Ghulam Sabir. The svarmandal (a small harp similar to the autoharp but without chord bars) is played by Sultan Fateh Ali.
tracklist
1 RAGA BAIRAGI BHAIRAVI (Early Morning) 21'16"
2 RAGA PURIYA DHANASHRI (Early Evening) 24'55"
3 RAGA YAMAN (Evening) 26'02"
Total Time: 75'23"

This volume focuses on the mystic music of the Islamic world—specifically Turkish mystics. To Westerners, Islamic mysticism is practically synonymous with Sufism. Sufi poetry and music have endured for centuries in various Islamic countries. In the mystical brotherhoods music always had a revered and acknowledged place. Although the term music is never used in mystical writings, but rather listening—voice, gesture and musical instruments are all aids to the devotee in his spiritual exercise, which leads him to ecstasy and to supreme union with God. In every case, the music draws its inspiration from the text, and its structure from a sophisticated set of modes, rhythms, and traditional forms.

The tracks on this recording literally date from the V-XIV/11th-20th centuries featuring many famous compositions such as Tekbir and Salavat-i Serife, known throughout the Islamic world as two of the masterworks of one of Turkey's greatest composers. Also featured are ilahis (hymns), excerpts of the sema ritual and dhikr (zikr in Turkey) ceremonies. Completing the volume is a vocal performance of Surah 19, Ayet 115-117 of the Qur'an.
the artist

The ensemble performing on this volume consists of members of the Galata Mevlevi Music and Sema Ensemble, based in Istanbul, Turkey. Most of these musicians can also be heard on Volume Nine: Mawlawiyah Music of the Whirling Dervishes (13149).
tracklist
1 SEMI-I RUHUNA CISMINI PERVANE DUSURDUM 7'11"
(My body is a moth drawn to the flame of your spirit.)
2 EY KI HEZAR AFERIN, BU NICE SULTAN OLUR 2'17"
(Oh, the Creator of thousands of beings…)
3 BAHRI UMMAN DURRIYEM, YERIM MEKANIN KANDEDIR 2'29"
(I am an ocean pearl, Where is my Home?)
4 UYAN EY GOZLERIM GAFLETTEN UYAN 2'15"
(Wake up! O my eyes, waken from sleep.)
5 YA RABBI ZATIN SIRRIDIR BU GULLERI HANDAN EDEN 4'33"
(Oh my Lord, the secret of your Essence makes these roses smile.)
6 CUN SANA GONLUM MUBTELA OLDU 2'14"
(Because you have consumed my heart…)
7 TEKBIR: ALLAHU EKBER, ALLUHU EKBER, LA ILHANE ILLALLAH 3'49"
(God is the greatest, God is the greatest.)
8 YA HAZRETI MEVLANA, HAKK DOST 8'09"
(Oh, our holy master Mevlana, beloved of God…)
9 SULTAN-I MENI, SULTAN- MENI, ENDER DIL-U CAN IMAN-I MENI 2'48"
(My Sultan, my Sultan, I believe with my heart and soul…)
10 HIZ KI IMRUZ CIHAN AN-I MAST CAN-U CIHAN SAKI-VU MIHMAN-I MAST 2'22"
(The world is ours today; the soul is our cupbearer and the world our guest.)
11 GELIN GIDELIM ALLAH YOLUNA 3'20"
(Come, let us take God's path.)
12 ALLAH EMRIN TUTALIM - RAHMETINE BATALIM 2'06"
(We will carry out God's will and fall back upon his mercy.)
13 ALMA TENDEN CANIMI - GORMEDEN CANANIMI 2'13"
(Do not take my soul from my body, until I see my beloved.)
14 SEVELIM HAZRET-I MEVLANA'YI 3'37"
(Let us revere Saint Mevlana.)
15 EY ALLAHIM BENI SENDEN AYIRMA 2'17"
(Ah, my God, do not separate me from you.)
16 HOR BAKMA SEN TOPRAGA 4'23"
(Don't see the earth as despicable…)
17 GORMEK ISTERSEN SENI - CAN ICRE ARA CANI 2'31"
(If you seek yourself, look for your self in your soul.)
18 VELILLAHIL MESRIKU VEL MAGRIB FEEYNEMA TUVELLU FESEMME VECHULLAH 3'22"
(East or West, it all belongs to God; wherever you turn God is there.)
Total Time: 63'56"

This final volume introduces the world to the Muslim Music of Indonesia. A land of about two hundred million inhabitants, Indonesia is home to the largest Muslim nation in the world. It is extraordinarily rich in musical genres which derived originally from the Arab–Persian world but were transformed by local genius into unique musical styles and genres, generally practiced by all–male or all–female groups.

The great majority of Indonesian Muslims adhere to Sunni beliefs, but a few Shi'a outposts still remain, especially in west–coastal Sumatra. Disk one features many of these rich genres, such as: Sunni prayers; samples of the Shi'a ritual (tabut or tabuik) characterized by passionate vocal music and group drumming; religious or secular songs with body movement accompanied by frame drums (indang); and a musical genre performed by a pair of male singers accompaning themselves with rhythmic beating on round brass trays (salawat).

One of the first provinces to develop Muslim art forms was Aceh, the northernmost province of Sumatra. Aceh has a wealth of Muslim musical genres and body movement or dance forms among its ethnic groups. Disk two features many of the rich genres, such as: music and dance associated with syncretic animist and Hindu–Buddhist beliefs with added Muslim components or prayers (daboih ceremony); the well–known male martial dance called seudati; the female dance–vocal form pho, based on the expression of grief at the death of a child, and very sad songs (ratap or ratep meuseukat); and a form of worship and courage raising via male group vocal and frame drum performance (rapai daboih).

the artists

Produced and recorded by Prof. Margaret J. Kartomi of the Department of Music at Monash University located in Melbourne, Australia, this final volume, in The Music of Islam series, is the first extensive sound documentation of its kind. Over the past thirty years, as Prof. Kartomi and her fieldwork team travelled throughout most of the provinces of Indonesia to record traditional music, it became painfully apparent to her that one of the least known and most neglected categories of music in Indonesia were the Muslim-associated genres.

The music on this double CD are pieces selected from her extensive travels and work during 1392/1972-1406/1985, and feature numerous artists and ensembles, and were recorded in a variety of locations and acoustical environments.

The instruments heard in this volume are both traditional Muslim instruments such as double-headed drums, frame drums, brass trays and the lute, as well as non-Muslim instruments such as bamboo flutes, oboes and bronze ensembles.
tracklist
Disk 1:
1 DENDANG MANANGKOK/MARINDU HARIMAU 1 5'17"
(Muslim prayer preceding a tiger-capturing song.)
2 DENDANG MANANGKOK/MARINDU HARIMAU 2 6'26"
(A tiger-capturing song.)
3 BASOSOH (Warring Rhythm played by tasa and dol drummers 6'51"
at a Takbuik [BM] [Tabut BI] ceremony.)
4 MATAM 4'42"
(Matam [Ali Mahatam] Rhythm played by tasa and dol drummers processing
down the street at a Tabuik ceremony.)
5 MARATAPI JARI-JARI (Mourning the Hands.) 6'27"
6 DOL-TASA 1 (Drumming competition) 8'06"
7 DOL-TASA 2 (Drumming competition) 4'33"
8 DOL-TASA 3 (Drumming competition) 0'28"
9 DOL-TASA 4 (Drumming competition) 0'43"
10 RAPAI 1 (Improvised texts) 1'00"
11 RAPAI 2 (Improvised texts) 0'53"
12 RAPAI 3 (Improvised texts) 0'32"
13 RAPAI 4 (Improvised texts) 0'46"
14 INDANG MAIN TALI (Playing the Rope indang.) 3'04"
15 DABUIH (BM), DABUD (BI) (excerpt from ceremony) 0'28"
16 DABUIH (excerpt from ceremony) 2'42"
17 SALAWEK DULANG: LAGU MERIAM PENANGKIS 12'53"
(Song of the Canon Interceptor)
18 SALAWEK DULANG: LAGU BOLANDO BERANGKEK 8'48"
(The Dutch Leave)
Total Time: 76'12"
Disk 2:
1 RATEP MASEUKAT 4'52"
2 PHO 1'51"
3 SEUDATI INONG 1 (Female Seudati) 6'15"
4 SEUDATI INONG 2 9'19"
5 SEUDATI INONG 3 8'33"
6 RAPAI DABOIH 1 29'21"
7 RAPAI DABOIH 2 3'04"
8 SEUDATI 1 8'06"
9 SEUDATI 2 3'23"
Total Time: 75'28"