Sabri MOUDALLAL

Born in Aleppo in 1918, highly esteemed by native Aleppians but scarcely known beyond the city limits, he has almost always lived outside the " star system ". His talent was revealed relatively late on in life, from the seventies on, when he gave a series of concerts in Paris with his group of the time, a vocal quartet known as " The Muezzins of Aleppo ". Ever since then he has received constant requests from abroad, has been appointed principal muezzin of the city and was even decorated in 1996 by Farouk Hosni, the Egyptian Minister of Culture. His lack of interest in promoting his art has actually handicapped him in the past to such an extent that his name is not even to be found amongst those quoted in the two key works on contemporary Syrian music, by Adnn Bin Dhurayl (Damascus 1988) and Samm al-Sharf (Damascus, 1991). Sabri Moudallal is one of Syria's greatest vocal artists, with a prodigious output as a composer. He has taken the art of the flourish to its highest degree, even developing a vocal technique enabling him to take his breath whilst singing. Although he remains a faithful adept of the sacred song, he is equally at home in the secular repertory. In spite of his great age, he is still pursuing his career. He was a pupil of Umar al-Batsch himself, and his great speciality is now the wasla, of which he is a true master in every aspect, down to the most minute detail. Like his master he has also put his hand and skill to composition in the traditional style. There are several very beautiful songs by his hand ; two of these " Ahmad y habibi " and " Ilh " have been recorded for " The Aleppian Music Room ".