The Crusades from the Oriental View Point
Homage to Osama Ibn al-Mounqidh
Omar Sarmini and the Ensemble Al-Kindi

Contrary to the Western medieval music, the Arab music changed little in its form since the golden age of its civilization which ranges between the XIth and XIIth century, in particular it remained very monodic, and faithful to its oral tradition. This is why in spite of the absence of musical notation, it is paradoxically easier to restore the essence of a so ancient music.

Three poets of XIth century are celebrated in this program, Ousama Ibn Al-Mounqidh, Ibn Al-Qaysarani, both Syrians and Abou Al-Mouzaffar Al-Abiouardi from Baghdad.
These three poets were also historians and chroniclers of their time; Ousama is the most famous by far of them, and probably the most attractive too. Nephew of a prince of Syria, he spent part of his life in the fortress of Chayzar on the banks of the Oronte river. He was born at the time of the first Crusade and died a few months after the resumption of Jerusalem. His life was devoted to the hunting, the war, the pray and the writing. He is the author of Diwân, collection of poetry as of an autobiographical work which he completed before his death, about the age of 93.



Omar Sarmini and the Ensemble Al-Kindî at the
" Crac - Knights Castle " (Syrie)
Concerning this ancient repertory, Julien Jâlal Eddine Weiss in his search of authenticity, accomplish finally the ideal instrumental formation in his eyes, the one of the traditional takht such as it existed in XVIIIth century. With the instrumentalists virtuosos and usual members of Al-Kindi ensemble, he integrates the Joza, vielle with spade, with the Iraqi Master Mohammed Gomar. This rubbed string instrument unfortunately disappeared from the Syrian and Egyptian classical music since XIXth century, driven out to be replaced by the Western violin with its too enveloping sound.

Omar Sarmini with Al-Kindi ensemble interpret several vocal and instrumental suite(Wasla) having as unit a particular Mâqâm (tone). Within each one of these suites an instrumentalist interprets a taqsim (improvisation) in order to plunge the audience as well as the singer in the psychic state corresponding to Mâqâm then the ensemble plays a rythmed instrumental prelude. The singer improvises then on traditional poems (Qâsidâ monorym poems) with an ancestral vocal technique always in use in the Aleppian tradition, and which nourishes the intemporality of musical esthetics and melisms of the hymn.
The random singing exercises are accompanied by one or more instruments either without rhythmic support, or with a rhythmic cycle and a repetitive melody line of trebble (ostinato).
Then the singer and the chorus-singers interpret the Muwashshaat and Qoudoud anonymous and very ancient (measured songs) but necessarily somewhat anachronistic, which are used to represent the sumptuous singing exercises of Omar Sarmini.

Frankish whose perfume is exalting seduced me,
Her body resembles a tender branch
Her diadem shines like the moon.
And if her eyes are blue, my mortal lance is too

Ibn Al-Qaysarani




Formation :
Omar Sarmini - Singer
Julien Jâlal Eddine Weiss - Arabic zither (Qânun), artistic direction
Ziyâd Kâdî Amin -
Reed flute (Ney)
Qadri Dalal Luth - Lute (luth)
Mohamed Gomar - Vielle with peak (Joza)
Adel Shams el-Din -
Percussion (riqq)
Hicham Al-Khatib - Drum on framework (Douff)
Maher Moudalal, Qadri Daal - Choir (Munshiddin)