Festival Internacional JAZZMADRID
Logo Ayuntamiento de Madrid


Oficial Concerts

W 22 Nov
Fernán Gómez. Centro Cultural de la Villa
Sala Guirau · 20.00 h · How to get there
  • Reduced mobility
  • Magnetic loop

Just over half a century ago, Beirut had such a robust artistic scene that Lebanon’s capital was considered the Paris of the Middle East. Thankfully, not even the war could prevent its musicians from continuing to be an inexhaustible source of talent. It’s been quite some time since the lute player Rabih Abou Khalil raised the flag of freedom for the classical Arabic repertoire. And he did so by turning to jazz, the most respectful musical form that any style can frequent if it is willing to embrace all kinds of interpretations without prejudice.

A gifted child, Rabih began studying the Arabic oud at the age of four. As is well known, where this artist comes from, this instrument enjoys a prestige comparable to the that of the piano or the violin in the West.

The subsequent war in Lebanon forced Rabih to leave his country in 1978 and to settle in Munich, where he received classical training from Walther Theurer at the Munich Conservatory. It was there that he became acquainted with Western musical culture, acquiring knowledge that facilitated his communication and exchange with various musicians in Europe.

Rabih has been building bridges between East and West all this time, but he began doing so when world music was not even a concept, let alone a fashion. He always plays with ensembles of extraordinary quality, in keeping with the demands of a musician who creates melodic calligraphy every time he plucks the strings of his lute. Few artists have given so much thought to their compositions from so many angles of the horizon without turning their backs on their identity, without impoverishing themselves and without becoming something they were never meant to be.

Rabih Abou Khalil never submits to rhythmic inertia when he conceives his compositions, which is why his work is a tree of melodies that never stand still. They are the closest thing to a river of expressive currents that intertwine, swirl and produce tributaries in the form of the dynamic musicians who accompany him in his projects. In this concert, he will lead a trio in which his interventions will have a high energetic content, allowing us to appreciate the unique way in which the lute renders the melody, and the high degree of intelligence in the development of the ensemble.

Rabih Abou Khalil’s work is that of a lute player who has his own way of thinking and has eliminated certain elements that could have restricted his language. He will present all this to our ears with great simplicity. Thank goodness jazz isn’t just about New Orleans, Chicago or Brooklyn.

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