Anouar Brahem - Souvenance - ECM 2423/24


Born in 1957 in Halfaouine, in the heart of the Medina in Tunis, Anouar Brahem was ten when he began studying the oud at the National Conservatory in Tunis, and later pursued his apprenticeship with the great master Ali Sriti. In an Arab musical environment where popular songs and crowded orchestras dominated – the oud was reserved for accompaniment – Brahem revealed his many facets in undertaking a mission to restore the oud to the status of an emblematic solo instrument in Arab music, and at the same time breaking with tradition in his work as a composer by integrating elements of jazz and other musical traditions from the Orient and the Mediterranean.

In 1981 he moved to Paris for four years, where he collaborated with Maurice Béjart and composed numerous original works, notably in Tunisian films and theatre. On his return to Tunisia in 1985, he spent the next five years composing and giving concerts which established his reputation.

In 1989 he met producer Manfred Eicher, who gave Brahem the opportunity to record his first album for the ECM label. Barzakh marked the beginning of a particularly fruitful association which has seen Brahem in the company of some of the world's most talented musicians, whatever the genre or tradition: Barbaros Erköse, Jan Garbarek, Dave Holland, John Surman and Richard Galliano to name only a few.