Arab Today, arab today pianist looks to syrias musical past
Last Updated : GMT 16:54:32
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

To spread peace

Pianist looks to Syria's musical past

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Pianist looks to Syria's musical past

Syrian-American pianist Malek Jandali
Dubai - Arab Today

Malek Jandali may only have been alive for four decades but the award-winning composer insists he feels ancient, having revived some of the oldest melodies from his war-torn Syrian homeland.

"I'm 8,000 years old," said the pianist, in the middle of a world tour he hopes will spread "peace and freedom" three years after leaving Syria just as war was tearing it apart.

A winner of the 2014 Global Music Awards gold medal, Jandali has for years sought to uncover ancient melodies for modern audiences but says he is now focused on the future, both in terms of composition and for the land of his upbringing.

Born in Germany, Jandali grew up in the central Syrian city of Homs, once dubbed the "capital of the revolution" by activists, before winning a scholarship to study in the US.

Soon after Syria's uprising started in March 2011, the 42-year-old pianist and composer performed at a demonstration in front of the White House.

His initiative prompted pro-regime armed groups to attack his elderly parents in their home in Homs. They later fled to the United States.

Jandali said it was this attack that helped him discover "the soft power of music".

"The Syrian people are paying a very heavy price," he told AFP in Dubai during a tour stopover.

Jandali is aware that music alone can do little to alter the situation on the ground, but "it's raising much-needed humanitarian aid and much-needed awareness".

His latest album "Syrian Symphony", released in January, contains melodies "inspired by the chants of the Syrian people" during their protests against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

"I was always trying to... involve my own Syrian identity which is now being targeted... destroyed," he said.

"My duty as an artist is to preserve and present it in the most elegant way.

"I don't comprehend politics or religion," said the pianist, a twinkle in his intense brown eyes. "My message is of peace, unity, humanity and justice."

Although he is accompanied by Syrian oud player Abdulrahim Alsiadi and US cellist Laura Metcalf, Jandali still complains about restrictions imposed due to the political climate at some venues.

"During my world tour, I faced many disturbing incidents of censorship, such as deleting the word 'free' from my (tour) title: 'Voice of the Free Syrian Children' in some countries," he said.

The tour itself was inspired by children Jandali met after he crossed illegally into his country in 2012 -- his last time in Syria.

- 'Real' message of Islam -

Before the war, Jandali's career often drew on historical compositions of his homeland.

His 2008 album "Echoes from Ugarit" includes melodies based on "the oldest musical notation in the world," discovered on a clay tablet in that ancient Syrian city.

"We wouldn't have had Lady Gaga or Michael Jackson or even Beethoven without the musical notations of Ugarit," he said.

His award-winning work Enessa was played at the funeral of American war reporter Marie Colvin, who was killed in Syrian army shelling on Homs in 2012.

"I went to the church and I heard my music, the music of Homs" played at the funeral. "I still get goosebumps."

When asked about extremist organisations that have emerged from Syria's war, such as the Islamic State jihadist group, Jandali insisted that "the Syrian people have throughout history, and even today, embraced all religions and all cultures.

"We have synagogues, we have the oldest churches on Earth where you can still hear the prayer in Aramaic (the language thought to have been spoken by Jesus Christ)."

Among the tracks in his latest album is Samai al-Nahawand, written by 19th century Muslim scholar Sheikh Ali al-Darwish.

"This is the true Syrian sheikh, who was a composer spreading music and documenting and preserving his rich Syrian identity through music," he said.

For Jandali, Darwish represents the "real" message of Islam -- "peace."

- 'More beautiful' Syria -

Despite the war that has cost more than 220,000 lives, Jandali still sees "a much more beautiful Syria" in the future.

"What we are seeing today is the rebirth of the Syrian identity," said Jandali. "People are dancing, funerals are becoming weddings, people are celebrating heroes rather than mourning them."

While he "loves" his US citizenship and the freedoms that come with it, he remains rooted -- both emotionally and through his work -- in Syria.

"My memories, my grandfather's grave, my home. I live in Homs," said Jandali.

"I know they kicked us out, I know they destroyed my home. I know they are trying to eradicate my true cultural identity, but we are becoming a much more beautiful Syrian symphony today."
Source: AFP

 

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today pianist looks to syrias musical past Arab Today, arab today pianist looks to syrias musical past

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Mohamed Bahari prepares new collection for spring 2017

GMT 06:15 2017 Monday ,27 February

Mohamed Bahari prepares new collection for spring 2017
Arab Today, arab today As Olympics loom,China plunges into biz

GMT 10:08 2017 Tuesday ,28 February

As Olympics loom,China plunges into biz
Arab Today, arab today Sheds light on major steps in 12-year career

GMT 06:07 2017 Monday ,27 February

Sheds light on major steps in 12-year career
Arab Today, arab today UN envoy sets out framework

GMT 07:25 2017 Monday ,27 February

UN envoy sets out framework
Arab Today, arab today Kalam Nawaem made a difference in social issues

GMT 06:43 2017 Tuesday ,28 February

Kalam Nawaem made a difference in social issues

GMT 20:09 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Releases his new novel 'Three Nights'

GMT 14:25 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Reveals secrets of painting on pottery

GMT 13:09 2017 Monday ,20 February

Refuses to convert his novel to unethical one

GMT 06:33 2017 Monday ,20 February

Participates in a workshop on Babylon

GMT 21:44 2017 Sunday ,19 February

To present 40 paintings in special exhibition

GMT 08:31 2017 Sunday ,19 February

Rabat to Be Africa’s Cultural Capital in April

GMT 17:53 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Mohammed Bin Talha: My prize for all Moroccan poets
View News in Arabic - Culture: أخبار ثقافة
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Parliament considers solutions to overpopulation

GMT 20:27 2017 Monday ,27 February

Parliament considers solutions to overpopulation
Arab Today, arab today Humans spark most US wildfires

GMT 14:58 2017 Tuesday ,28 February

Humans spark most US wildfires
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Final Phantom VII signals end of an era

GMT 14:31 2017 Tuesday ,28 February

Final Phantom VII signals end of an era
Arab Today, arab today 'Constructive' Vauxhall talk with union

GMT 08:54 2017 Saturday ,25 February

'Constructive' Vauxhall talk with union
Arab Today, arab today Aspires present the story of Egypt’s first president

GMT 06:18 2017 Sunday ,26 February

Aspires present the story of Egypt’s first president
Arab Today, arab today Penguins in the age of dinos

GMT 11:44 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Penguins in the age of dinos

GMT 06:42 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Reasons for the delay 'On the Stairs of Servants'

GMT 05:14 2017 Thursday ,23 February

UK appoints 1st Scotland Yard chief in 188 years

GMT 18:23 2017 Friday ,24 February

Fadi explains secrets of  Nancy Ajram's newlook

GMT 12:16 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage

GMT 19:45 2017 Monday ,20 February

Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"

GMT 10:51 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Pigs with edited genes show resistance

GMT 18:28 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Tourist guide explains types of tourism

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 06:28 2017 Tuesday ,28 February

Dumbphones survive rise of the smartphone

GMT 22:42 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Nasima Gamei revives heritage in jewelries
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday