Liqaa, ‘meeting’ in Arabic, is the fruit of a musical friendship that started ten years ago between Naïssam Jalal and Hazem Shaheen. Music that reaches all those who want peace, justice and freedom. That’s all. Using just two instruments, an Arabic lute and a flute. In six pieces that also clearly express an almost mystical reverence. Music that reaches the soul, caresses and then awakens the plenitude that lies dormant in each being, whatever his or her land and origins.
01 – Zaal | Anger – 04’12
02 – First Autumn in Beirut – 11’10
03 – Painful Resignation – 08’45
04 – Gaza Blockade – 10’35
05 – Nesma | Breeze – 11’02
06 – Mojat sahara | Desert Wave – 08’49
Interpreters and instruments
Naïssam Jalal (western concert flute) ; Hazem Shaheen (oud)
Liqaa, ‘meeting’ in Arabic, is the fruit of a musical friendship that started ten years ago between Naïssam Jalal and Hazem Shaheen. The first is a flautist and the second plays the oud. They are both as famous as each other in their respective music and each has a group: hers is called Rhythms of Resistance and his is Eskenderalla. They are two particularly talented musicians often called upon by other famous artistes in other musical fields. Naïssam Jalal and Hazem Shaheen combined their virtuosity one evening in May 2011 at the Institut du monde arabe in Paris at a memorable concert that dazzled the audience by the spellbinding combination of their styles.After the success of the live concert, Liqaa was then recorded in a studio straight away.
A brilliant demonstration for both today and the future. A recording lasting for nearly an hour with a repertoire suspended outside time with impromptu compositions and meditative improvisations while evoking a very contemporary cruel history—that of the Middle East. The achievement of the Naïssam and Hazem’s uncluttered melodies full of distinction is the ‘narration’ of a contemporary Arab drama, but with universal application in terms of history and geography. They express the tragedy and oppression rife in these so-called modern times in the Arabic east and experienced at other moments in other places. This means—without having to explain—that yesterday’s victims can turn into today’s oppressors. It is enough to listen to the 10 minutes of Gaza sous blocus (Gaza Blockade), a composition by Naïssam Jalal, setting to music the catastrophe—kâritha in Arabic—suffered by the Palestinians for 70 years, since 1948, the date of the founding of Israel. The flute sounds like a muffled sob while the oud gains speed. Its rhythms become darker like an oppressive encirclement in spite of the serenity of the flute. The two instruments then blend into a single vehement, vindictive movement, a rain of angry, rebellious notes, a furious uprising— intifada in Arabic. This is probably the most emblematic piece.
Naïssam and Hazem’s music reaches all those who want peace, justice and freedom. That’s all. Using just two instruments, an Arabic lute and a flute. In six pieces that also clearly express an almost mystical reverence. Music that reaches the soul, caresses and then awakens the plenitude that lies dormant in each being, whatever his or her land and origins.
Naïssam Jalal and Hazem Shaheen met in 2008. They played in Egypt, Lebanon and Malta and at the Institut du monde arabe in Paris. Their album Liqaa is not only an instrumental suite of politically engaged pieces but also meditation centred on life and the vicissitudes of fate recounted in half a dozen compositions.
It begins with Zaal (Anger), a few gentle measures—in which the oud is joined by the initially discreet flute—punctuated with tiny silences. The flute comes in and the oud follows. A dialogue becomes established as a chorus—tender jazz.
It is followed by Premier automne à Beyrouth (First Autumn in Beirut). Leaves fall from the trees in romanticism imprinted by the round notes of the oud and calling light flute playing set between western classical and oriental maqam and the gentleness of a lullaby.
Résignation douloureuse (Painful Resignation) is first the flute accompanied by gentle chords played on the oud. Music that weeps gently. Swaying that accelerates before stopping and then returns while the flute weaves a fabric in pastel shades.
In Gaza sous blocus (Gaza Blockade) the poignant vibrations of the flute that turns into a contemplative nay, a typical Bedouin instrument, that of the lone shepherd. Naïssam then sets her instrument in a raging fury and Hazem’s oud accompanies in this seditious fever with compressed, tumultuous tempos.
Nesma (Breeze), more than 11 minutes of pain with longer silences leaves time for the oud to have its effect and for the audience to draw full enjoyment. Then the rhythm is faster with notes as quick as heavy rain—a brief deluge before the sky clears. Rays of sunshine finally filter through gently.
Mojat sahara (Desert Wave) starts with plaintive flute playing and a sympathising oud in an exalted combination. Then the duo gains excitement with sharp intensity—a boundary-breaking and rebellious hypnotic trance.
Translated by Bouziane Daoudi
- Reference : 321.096
- Ean : 5 051 093 129 824
- Main artist : Naïssam Jalal & Hazam Shaheen
- Year of recording : 2011
- Year of publishing : 2018
- Music style: Classical instrumental
- Countries : Egypt, France
- City of recording : Paris
- Main language :
- Composers : Naïssam Jalal ; Hazam Shaheen
- Lyricists :
- Copyright : Institut du Monde Arabe