Monday, October 4, 2010
Saadoun Al-Bayati- Songs of Iraq (Samar Industries, 1973)
"Saadoun Al-Bayati, born in Baghdad, Iraq, is the son of an ardhahalchi or paralegal fluent in Arabic, Turkish and Kurdish and a Sufi woman of the Na'imiyya order. As a child, while attending Sufi rituals and ceremonies with his mother and maternal uncle, Shaykh Jasim Abd al-Sittar, Saadoun was exposed to the meditative states produced through sustained percussion and vocalizing.
His voice training took place through Qur'anic recitation in which fine precision in achieving correct tones and articulation of words in required. As a young man, Saadoun often substituted for the muezzin at his neighborhood mosque in the Al-Fadhl section of Old Baghdad, calling Muslims to prayer. Having internalized the spiritual essence of a Middle Eastern/Islamic aesthetic, Saadoun has performed the music of Iraq and other parts of the Arab Middle East since childhood.
In the United States Saadoun pursued studies in acting and graduated from the Goodman Theatre at the Art Institute of Chicago. His many accomplishments as an actor included playing Dr. Aziz to Lillian Gish's Mrs. Moore in "A Passage to India" and working with such theatrical talents as Morris Carnovsky in "Mother Courage" and "King Lear "and Sam Wanamaker in "MacBeth."
But throughout his life and studies, music has been a focal point for his intense musical energies. Saadoun thus decided to learn the oud or unfretted version of the lute, initially to better understand the musical structures of Middle Eastern music - specifically the maqamat or modal structures, with their distinct ascending and descending scales - and eventually to provide a reliable support for his singing voice (not easy, when one has perfect pitch). Saadoun was fortunate to be able to learn from close personal friends such as the pre-eminent Nubian musician Hamza El-Din, the Lebanese musician George Khayyat, and the Syrian oud-player Hussny El-Zaim.
He has performed at concerts and night clubs in many parts of the United States. Saadoun's unique musical expression emanates from the depth of his soul and transcends all geographical boundaries. A voice that stirs profound emotions and a technique that is at once powerful and sensuous represent the highest level of artistic expression." (From his website)
Songs of Iraq was arranged and performed entirely by Saadoun Al-Bayati in 1973.
This is one I have been deeply torn about posting. Its a masterful record, deeply underappreciated outside of the Iraqi community. More people should know it. Its also currently available on CD (with different artwork) from Al-Bayati's website and as a download via iTunes. That said, it goes against the stated ethic of this blog to post it for download. But...I've decided to flub it here and offer you a vinyl rip of this magnificent record quite literally in an effort to promote it...for two weeks only. I'll hope that this choice communicates nothing but the deepest respect for Mr. Al-Bayati's work. I will be removing the download link to Saadoun Al-Bayati's Songs of Iraq prior to midnight on Monday Oct. 18th. Enjoy.
Mediafire Download Link: Removed.
A1 Gypsy I
Night Train (Marrayna Bikum Hamid)
A2a Night Train (Marrayna Bikum Hamid)
A2b Everybody Blames Me (Faugi Al-Malama)
A3 Brown Skinned Girl (Samra)
B1 Iraqi 6
Love Poem (Lamma Anakhu)
B1a Love Poem (Lamma Anakhu)
B1b Doing Fine (Faug An-Nakhl Faug)
B3 Gypsy II