Radio Baghdad

Fawzy Al-Aiedy

Fawzy Al-Aiedy has been living in France for 30 years and has always striven to transport lovers of multicultural music to innovative musical worlds where rigour and the aesthetics of music play important roles, leaving plenty of room for the sensual, emotional, poetic, and festive aspects of the new compositions, without losing sight of the authenticity of an inspiration rooted in the traditional culture of Iraq and the Middle East. Radio Bagdad evokes a passionate and suave Orient at the crossroads of Eastern and Western influences.


1 – Djaria – 3’23
2Leyla – 4’00
3 – Oriental Blues – 3’30
4Matar/The Rain – 4’02
5 – Casablanca – 5’03
6Ya Habibi/My Beloved – 4’00
7Malikati/My Queen – 2’56
8Fragui/The Separation – 5’08
9Nassam aleyna al hawa/Carry-me back – 6’59
10Inta/You- 3’44
11Darawich/Dervishes – 5’22
12 – Arabia – 5’46
13 – Dana Dina – 4’14
14 – The Gazelle – 5’33

Interpreters and instruments

Fawzy Al-Aiedy (singing, oud, oboe, english horn)
Jasser Haj Youssef (violin, viola d’amore)
Romuald Ballet Baz (guitar)
Gilles Coquard (bass)
Adel Shams El Din (percussions)
Edouard Coquard (drums)
Nenad Gajin (guitar)
David Venitucci (accordeon)
Paul Mindy (percussions)
François Lazarevitch (flute, bagpipes)
Mariam Gegechlori (choir)


I dedicate this album to the youth of the Arab Spring.” Fawzy Al-Aiedy

The story is a familiar one, we all know the general outlines—the so-called ‘traditional’ musician who spends his time meeting all sorts of people and playing music with them. This way of life has necessarily become a little routine. But, curiously enough, this is a good thing, as it means that the final musical pieces have become more important than opinions and the ‘cosmopolitan banners’ that are brandished each time one crosses a border.

Fawzy Al-Aiedy seems to be surrounded by an aura of silence—the same aura that probably surrounded the great Iraqi musicians of Baghdad’s golden age. When his fingers caress the strings the music sends tingles down your spine, and all connoisseurs of Arab music are familiar with the special emotions generated by the ʿūd (the Arab lute).

This ‘world citizen’, who settled in Paris in 1971 and moved to Strasbourg in 2009, recalls his early attraction to the instrument. However, in his music school, it was decided that he was best suited to playing the oboe, but he decided to learn both instruments.

At Baghdad’s Academy of Fine Arts, from which he graduated in 1968, he met the virtuoso musicians of classical Iraqi music. However, he was not content to continue the secular tradition. As Fawzy explains: ‘I quickly started to write my own compositions. From the outset, my approach was that of a contemporary musician. Instead of interpreting the classic repertoire of Arab music, I have always composed original works based on traditional music’. Clouds of incense and meringue palaces are not for Fawzy.

Fawzy Al-Aiedy was born in Basra, in the south of Iraq, circa 1950, ‘between two rain storms’. In 1971, the musician fled from his country’s dictatorship and settled in France. He attended courses and studied at the École Nationale de Musique in Boulogne-Billancourt, won prizes, discovered the work of Leonard Cohen and Georges Brassens, was encouraged to become open minded, and developed his own musical style.

He has never turned his back on his origins―that formidable matrix of the Oriental repertoire, with its serenity and popular music with its entrancing dance rhythms. Although he rejects the notion of ‘fusion’, he has synthesized this Oriental repertoire with more Western influences to create his unique style: an ingenious combination of composition and improvisation, modes and melodies, and arabesques and straight lines.

Fawzy Al-Aiedy is also something of an ‘alchemist’, and he has managed to forge a new model of musician with traditional roots. And as a consummate leader in his field, he has resolutely taken his career into his own hands. He has constructed an arborescent body of work, which began with his first record, Silence, which appeared in 1976, and has branched out to include his most recent records. His music is always agreeable and accessible, no matter where it is played, and while some of the musical themes are familiar he always introduces novel elements―a world in which the pluperfect is reinterpreted in the subjective future; Fawzy has spent the last thirty years manoeuvring somewhere between the recent past and the near future.

Fawzy Al-Aiedy’s prolific output of records is matched by his passion for finely crafted compositions. Indeed, he is both a musician and craftsman. He observes and comments on everything, but also knows when to remain silent and listen. This patience is the key to the dozen or so albums he has produced, [1] a collection of finely executed works that never resort to stereotyped exoticism. As a whole they form a curious and eclectic mix worthy of one of Prévert’s most exhaustive inventories.

During the French music festival Les Nuits Européennes (2010), he created Radio Baghdad, [2] which blends the influences of his Mesopotamian background with new musical avenues. He also recalls the place where he once met Saddam Hussein, whose rise to power was one of the reasons he decided to go into exile.

  Fawzy Al-Aiedy’s music invents new relationships between genres—which are often segmented—of Arab art and Western music. He is slightly amused by the notion of ‘world music’, with its exclusive vision and touch of exoticism. More seriously, if this term were to have any significance, Fawzy’s music would be an excellent incarnation of it. He is indeed a musician of the world, and has been so for three decades—this Iraqi from France who speaks several languages, collaborates with musicians of every nationality, and plays a variety of instruments. Radio Baghdad includes a cast of ten musicians from six countries. But this goes beyond a question of nationalities—Fawzy’s music provides a visa to and an adventure in unexplored territory.

Radio Baghdad is like an album of dreamlike images, superimposing various levels of interpretation and as many moods―several layers of musical ‘paper’, whose many subtleties are gradually revealed every time the pieces are played. As the musician says: ‘I’m looking for beauty, not complexity.’

Almost figuratively, he imitates an imaginary dialogue between two poems, one of which is medieval and the other modern. His ʿūd playing is characterized by an extraordinary sense of rhythm and vitality, a sort of poetry of mystery. And the sounds convey the serenity of an ancestral music that transports the listeners to Baghdad’s medieval courts, where they can repose nonchalantly; then, quite suddenly, the meandering ends. The ʿūd player has created an exuberant music with bass, guitar, percussion, drums, bagpipes, and accordion, whose more vigorous sequences leave the listener deeply moved. As he smiles he seems to be telling us that beauty is created by the tension between what we know and what we desire. Fawzy Al-Aiedy captivates us with his poetry of snapshots.

Joël Isselé, journalist, translated by JD trad

[1] All of Fawzy Al-Aiedy’s records are listed on
[2] The performance of Radio Bagdad was managed by Musiques en balade with the support of DRAC Alsace and the Ville de Strasbourg.

The recording


Young woman, with her face of pure light              
She has conquered my hardened heart!                    
Her waistis uniquely slender                        
All men who behold her succumb to her charms     
We are drunk with a martyr’s love                           
We can only sigh                                          
As the lute seems to come alive                               
The moment her fingers touch it                              
And she diffuses love when her mouth                    
Begins to sing in unison                                           
She is my torment and my desire                             
O if only she would desire me too!              
She is the sun, her waist is so slender,                     
Those who behold her sigh in agreement                 
An ancient poem by Abou-Nouas

Translated from Arabic into French by: Edouard Tarabay


My day is like that of any other                   
But as soon as night falls    
I cannot wait to smell your perfume again               
My days are filled with words and noise                 
And I know not the chagrin that night brings          

My day is spent like that of any other                      
But as soon as night falls                                          
I cannot wait to smell your perfume again               
Your divine love has embraced my heart                
Like the fingers of intertwined hands

An ancient poem by Imru Al-Qays
Translated from Arabic into French by: Edouard Tarabay

Oriental Blues

I hold this date in my hand,                                                 
The essence of my land,    
When tomorrow you leave for Baghdad                              
Think of me, your friend                                                                  
My heart lies between the Tigris and the Euphrates                        
In the sky of our ancestors                                                   
It continues to beat for my homeland                                  
My heart is divided in two                                                   
I live my life like a tightrope walker                                    
Balancing between two countries                                         

Between Aladdin and Verlaine                     
My nights are illuminated
On the stage                                                  
And I am taken from my exile                                 
To my country
My music takes me home                                        
Where my whim takes me                            
And my emotions are the same                                
Whether I am here or there                                      

It’s like an oriental blues                              
A dissonant harmony                                    
I’ve left my star behind                                
With all my friends   

Lyrics by Claude Lemesle

Matar/The Rain

You choose exile, I am exile, and we are resisting              
In the light of liberty                                     
Rain, rain, rain  
Baghdad, city of rain and clouds                  
Already I was seeking the sacred sword                  
Baghdad, where pigeons nest in the towers of the squares    
In every garden, yesterday’s blood is still there
In every street, yesterday’s blood is still there
Baghdad, pray on the altar of the martyrs and the revolution
And nourishthe poor   with light       
Baghdad lives on and sings every night       
Rain, rain, rain

Lyrics by Fawzy Al-Aiedy
Translated from Arabic into French by: Edouard Tarabay


You, who are leaving for Casa                                 
Take me, take me with you                                      
You, who are leaving for the White City                 
My heart, how will my heart be patient?                 
Go, and may God be with you      
Casablanca, you are                                                  
You are our sun                                                        
Your eyes, your eyes, O Casa                                  
Are our light and our moon                                      
Your lips are as hot as embers                                  
Your eyes mellow me                                                
A thousand and one nights                                       
When we sang on the riverbank                               
When we sang in the White City                             
When we sang to the Most High                              
When we sang to the beloved                                  
Our love and our hope 

Lyrics by Fawzy Al-Aiedy
Translated from Arabic into French by: Dominique Findakly

Ya Habibi/My Beloved

O my beloved! Apple of my eye!     
I fear you, my beloved                      
O those beautiful eyes!                     
Never will I forget you, nor must you forget me
Your love lights me up, my beautiful one
Your love lights me up
Tears have flowed                            
Have mercy on my heart                   
You, blond housewife                       
For you I would cross the seven seas 
You, dark girl of good family
Your charms are overwhelming       
O my soul, soul of my soul               
Your love is torturing me                  
Your face is like the April moon
Your love drives me crazy                
Layla, my night, my love                  
Layla, my soul, my love                   
Layla, apple of my eyes, my love     
Layla, my life, Layla, my love                     

You, blond housewife                       
For you I would cross the seven seas
You, dark girl of good family
Your charms are overwhelming
Your love makes me happy              
Yaleil, yaleil, yaleil                           

Lyrics by Fawzy Al-Aiedy
Translated from Arabic into French by: Dominique Findakly

Malikati/My Queen

Of all the womenin the world I love only you,                    

I love your perfection, of that there is no doubt      
Is it surprising that I’m passionate about you?
My heart is consumed with sadness when I’m without you
I have only to behold you and my soul is filled with joy
Beauty of the sun and the moon combined  
Your sunshine lights up my heart
Under your moonlight there is no more heat.

You rule over my heart like a queen            
Beloved of the distant oases                         

You often repeat, ad infinitum                     
That for you I am the faith and the city        
If Layla’s Madman had seen you,
He too would have shared our destiny.
And Butayna would undoubtedly have said:
By God, be calm Jamil, be patient!

Lyrics byEdouard Tarabay
Translated from Arabic into French by: Edouard Tarabay

 Fragui/The Separation

You, who are leaving for Baghdad,             
Give the city my regards                                          
Tell my beloved of                                       
All my love mixed with reproach                 
You, who are leaving for Baghdad              
Take all my love and blessings                     

My Iraq, never believe                                 
That I had forsaken you                                
That Fawzy had left you                               
Without wishing to return                            

Being so far from you, if only you knew     
Weighs on my heart so heavily                                
I falter day and night                         
In search of my country     

Lyrics by Fawzy Al-Aiedy
Translated from Arabic into French by: Edouard Tarabay

Nassamaleyna al hawa/‘Carry me Back’

The breeze of love has caressed us
In the meandering valley

Wind, O my wind                                         
Carry me back to my country                       
Wind, fair wind                                            
To those who are borne by the wind
Over there, I remember a young girl, a skylight, a photo…
‘Carry me back’ to them
My heart fears                                   
That you will grow up in an alienland                     
That my country no longer recognizes me   
‘Carry me back’ to my land    

What is wrong, O what is wrong?
What is wrong, my love?
You used to live with us and now we live with you
What separates us?
The sun still weeps                                                   
On the threshold of my door, it is silent       
But it radiates with the love of my country
‘Carry me back’ to my land       

Lyrics by Rahbani
Translated from Arabic into French by: Dominique Findakly


You, you, you … where do you come from?           
Tell me, tell me … where are you from?     
The same question is asked                                      
Upon each new encounter                                        

I am still confused and turn in circles                       
My head is smoking like a fireplace                         
The whole image is blurred                                      
My eyes are moist                                                    
My lips quiver                                                          

I am like you and you are like me                            
It’s our only chance                                                  
Give me your hand and take mine                            
And never ask: ‘where are you from?’  

Lyrics by Fawzy Al-Aiedy
Translated from Arabic into French by: Dominique Findakly


A lyre of love transports me to you, my God
Its strings were plucked from the arteries of my heart

Its fervour makes it soarinto space like a star
Its indefinableecho rings out from one pole to the other

The universe is a musical score, in which percussion, wind, and strings
Harmonize with voice at the centre of the whirlwind where we, the dervishes, dance round in ecstasy.

You deliver the earth from all hatred and war
You area ladder that reaches up to your limitless paradise.

Forgive me, my God, and pardon my sins
Only you can guide me on the right path

Lyrics by Edouard Tarabay
Translated from Arabic into French by: Edouard Tarabay


Tender branch, dark-haired woman
She dances in the squares, like a sea of coral and amber
She dances in the squares of Baghdad and Amman
With her piercing stare, in Egypt and Sudan

Tender branch, dark-haired woman
She dances in the squares, like a sea of coral and amber
Her melodious voice, like the cedars of Lebanon
Like the pearls of Bahrain and Oman

Tender branch, dark-haired woman
She dances in the squares, like a sea of coral and amber
She is crazy about you Tunisia, andMorocco too
Riyadh and the Holy Saints, Damascus and Tlemcen
You are my Basra, my lost land
You have enchanted my melodies, and as such they must remain
If you were to be mine and only mine, I will never know sadness
You are life’s desire, you are the gazelle’s fawn

Lyrics by Fawzy Al-Aiedy
Translated from Arabic into French by: Dominique Findakly

Dana Dina

I am driven between the cliff and the islands
She does not want me, O what woe!
Why do my wings break? Must I pass away?
She despises me, she passes by, taking my happiness away
I remain alone on my island

Dana, dana, dina
Ya dounya ya titina

My eyes watch your small boat
And all the small boats pass by,
But my eyes watch only your small boat
May the Gods protect you from the wind and the waves
May the Gods protect you

Dana, dana, dina
Ya dounyayatitina

You know very well that I have not two hearts
You know that very well
You have taken my heart away with you
What do I have left?

Dana, dana, dina
Ya dounya ya titina

Traditional Iraqi poem
Translated from Arabic into French by: Arab-Consultants

The Gazelle

She went out to see her neighbour    
She passed me by without a greeting! Is my Beauty sad?

I said to the young beautiful woman: ‘I’m thirsty, I need a drink!’
She replied:‘My poor friend, our water does not satiate thirst’

I said to her: ‘Show me your eyes!’
She replied: ‘My poor friend,my eyes are those of the gazelle.’

I said to her: ‘Show me your figure!’
She replied: ‘My poor friend, my figure islike a green branch’

Traditional Iraqi poem
Translated from Arabic into French by: Arab-Consultants

  • Reference : 321.094
  • Ean : 3 149 028 014 525
  • Main artist : Fawzy Al-Aiedy (فوزي العائدي)
  • Year of recording : 2011
  • Year of publishing : 2012
  • Music style: Musique du monde
  • Country : Irak
  • City of recording : Paris
  • Main language : Arabe
  • Composers : Fawzy Al-Aiedy ; Edouard Tarabay
  • Lyricists : Abou Nouas ; Imru al-Qays ; Claude Lemesle ; Fawzy Al-Aiedy ; Traditional
  • Copyright : Institut du Monde Arabe

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