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Hijazi music transcends boundaries
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 23 - 05 - 2011

By merging Western and Hijazi music, the musicians involved in this unique concert, were given the opportunity to create an entirely new form of music, for the benefit of Jeddah's avid music lovers.
Organized by the Al-Makkiyah organization and the German consulate, the event featured performances by professional composer, musician, vocalist and songwriters Olivia Trummer and Bodek Janke, who were here on invitation from Germany. The two maestros performed classical and jazz sets, accompanied by local musicians that included qanun player Bandar Khalid Al-Shareef, flute player Makram Ahmed, ‘Oud (Arabic guitar) instructor and player Sahal Mohammed Junaid and darbuka master Faisal Abdullah Al-Maqboli.
The musicians performed solo, duet and group sets in perfect harmony.
Trummer and Janke performed two classical songs, followed by two traditional Hijazi songs performed by Al-Shareef, Ahmed, Junaid and Al-Maqboli. H.A. Jannah hosted the event and presented the folk song “Alfain Salam”, a seven-instrument composition.
The musicians then played jazz sets together from the album “Karwan”, which offers “inspirational songs from the Hijaz” including the memorable “Raba, wa-kuli”.
Sahal Mohammed Junaid told members of the audience about the history of Hijazi music, which hails from the eastern mountains of Makkah. According to one account, a singer called Waleed Abdul Malik was recorded singing in the Hijazi style in Syria as far back as the year 707. He was noted performing with the help of drums on either side.
At the start of the event, Jannah and German Consul General Dr. Michael Zickerick, welcomed the guests.
“It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this very exciting evening,” Dr. Zickerick remarked. He thanked the Al-Makkiyah organization and Angawi family for their support in organizing this event and proceeded to introduce the two foreign musicians.
“Al-Makkiyah seeks to create an environment for our youth to foster relationships and to present solutions to social problems,” remarked Jannah. “We seek to encourage Saudi youth to work for humanity. Our message is that we have to learn to live together and encourage mutually respectful dialogue. We also have to teach our youth how to work better, build society, contribute more and live with a set of values. Makkiyah is the first cultural organization in the Middle East, that has managed to collaborate and connect in an international atmosphere.”
He added that music is a universal language that can bring societies together and appeal directly to the heart. “It was a great pleasure to have such distinguished guests from Germany perform in front of a local audience,” he said. “Hijazi music is one of the oldest forms in the history of music and a lot of musical styles have come from the Arab world.”
Christian Strob, the Cultural Attaché at the German consulate remarked that the consulate had been looking forward to sharing young new sounds from Germany with the people of Jeddah, as well as introducing an exiting fusion of jazz and classical music with the Hijazi form. “We experienced one of those very rare moments when east and west literally met – in a live musical dialogue,” he stated. “Our concerts proved that cross-cultural dialogue is possible and that it is appreciated and honored by the people here in Jeddah. In the future, we will continue pushing forward in this direction. Not only with concerts, but also with other kinds of cultural events.”
Ahmed Angawi, one of the organizers of this event, said that the initiative was a small effort to bring two different cultures close to each other; to enable artists who don't speak each other's languages to fully understand each other with the language of music.
“It was a successful event. The best thing was that the foreign artists knew the notes of Hijazi music, which was quite interesting!” he remarked. “We wish we could do more of such events. The local musicians are also looking forward to such musical events so they can promote their talents to other countries.”

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