After a long absence, prominent Tunisian jazzman and oud player Anouar Brahem is set to again perform on a Tunisian stage.
On March 1, the Anouar Brahem Quartet will perform at the National Center for Dramatic and Theatrical Arts in El Kef, a city in Tunisia's northwest. He will be accompanied by Dutch clarinetist Klaus Gesing, Swedish bassist Bjorn Meyer, and percussionist Khaled Yassine.
He last performed in Tunisia in 2009 at the international summer festival of Hammamet.
I do not really want to return [to Tunisia] with the same project. I already presented my latest disc [The Astounding Eyes of Rita] in Tunis and Hammamet, Brahem told Huffington Post Maghreb.
I have always had the desire to play more in the interior [regions] of the country, Brahem said about performing in El Kef, an inland city 175 kilometers west of Tunis.
Unfortunately, the infrastructure does not help, he said, referring to the lower levels of development away from Tunisia's coastal urban centers. Fortunately, this time it is going to happen in El Kef. I'm happy about it.
Born in 1957 in Halfaouine, a neighborhood in the ancient medina of Tunis, Brahem started playing oud at the age of ten at the Tunis National Conservatory of Music.
“Halfaouine” from 2005:
Considered a master of the oud, Brahem is renowned for merging Arab classical music with western music. He harmonizes the oud with the western beats of jazz instruments.
I know that my music is sold in the jazz aisle but I do not consider myself as a jazzman. I collaborate with jazz musicians, Brahem said.
Throughout his career, Brahem collaborated with several jazzmen, namely Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek, French accordionist Richard Galliano, and English composer Dave Holland.
He so far recorded nine albums and composed music for several Tunisian films and plays. Barzakh (the Barrier), his first album, was released in 1990.
“Parfum de Gitane,” 1990:
His latest album is The Astounding Eyes of Rita, released in 2009 in homage to the award-winning Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, who passed away in 2008. The title of the album itself was inspired by Rita and the Rifle, a poem written by Darwish about Rita, an Israeli woman he fell in love with.
“Astounding eyes of Rita, “2009:
The Iranian capital Tehran is the next stop on Anouar Brahem's international tour, where he is going to perform for the first time. He is also working on a new album to be ready by next fall.