Julien Weiss and Husayn Al-Azami in Baghdad
Husayn Al-Azamî et l'Ensemble
A passion for the Arabian Nights
A strange colouring, close to Persian Radif

The Iraki mâqâm is a style which is peculiar to Irak, and inherited from the Court of the Abasside Califes, of Baghdad (9th Century), one of whom was the universally famous Haroun Al-Rachid, a central character in the Arabian Nights.

It descends from a complex Arab tradition blending a number of influences : Turkish, Persian, Kurd, and even Indian. Each mode, each sigh, has its coloring and mood, calling on synaesthesia, magic and faith, in a charismatic and apocalyptic framework. The harmony thus obtained is called insiâm and can only be reached in a state of internal mystical exaltation.
The artists call this form al-mâqâm al-iraqi (modale composition of Irak) which is also played at festivals and private concerts. There is no clear separation of profane and sacred in this melody mode and it can be found in most religious music of Mesopotamia.

The traditional ensemble (Tshalghi Baghdadi) is made up of a santûr (zither, strings are struck) or a qânûn (zither, strings are plucked), a jôza (rebec or spike fiddle), a clay drum (tabla) or kettle drum (naqarât) and a tambourine with cymbals (duff zinjârî).

This music is also generally characterised by the tragic modulation of the vocal parts, high-pitched voices, strictly coded sobbings, intervals, rhythms, specific instruments, a poetic repertory in classical, median and dialectical Arab, distinct from the legendary Arab-Andalusian heritage.

J.J. Weiss met Munîr Bashîr in 1976, this was the beginning of a series of exchanges with a number of Irakian musicians. J.J Weiss has been invited many times to the Babylon Festival. During the time spent in Baghdad, he was able to study with the zitherist Sâlim Husayn and accompanied the singer Husayn Ismaïl Al-Azami . Together they recorded in 1994 at the famous hotel al-Rashid in Baghdad a CD "Passion of the Arabian Nights".

Formation :
Husayn Al-Azami - Singer
Ensemble Al-Kindi
Julien Jalal Eddine Weiss - Arabic zither (Qânun), artistic direction
Ali Al-Imam - Lute (luth)
Rafour Sana -
Reed flute (Ney)
Mohamed Gomar - Fiddle (Joza)
Abdoul Had Jarjis - tabla
Adel Shams El Din -
Percussion (riqq)