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Umsiyat 2018: Iraqi Maqaam Singer / Farida Mohammad Ali

Tonight’s performance presents one of Iraq’s leading Maqam singers, Farida Mohammad Ali. Her voice extends over two octaves from a rich contralto to a keening soprano that she enriches with the microtonal inflections and ornamentation that are a major part of the Maqam singer's art.

The two-hour programme includes a variety of Iraqi Maqam and the most beautiful songs by famous Iraqi female singers of the 1940s and 1950s, such as: Sadiqah Al-Malaya, Salima Murad and Zohoor Hussain. In addition, a collection of songs from the legacy of Nazem Al-Ghazali, which are known to all audiences throughout the Arab world, will be performed. Also included are melodies and traditional songs of Basra. The songs will be interspersed with a collection of well-loved Maqam by the great Arab poets, Al-Mutanabbi, Baha' al-din Zuhair and Elia Abu Madi, as well as Iraqi poets such as Jabbori Al-Najjar and Abd Al-Karim Al-Allaf. The programme’s modern musical section is by composer Muḥammad Ḥusayn Kumar, accompanied by traditional Iraqi instruments.

The season is held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, the Emirates Red Crescent President’s Assistant for Women’s Affairs.

Programme

  • Maqam Rust and a collection of songs: “Hatha Mo Insaf Minaak”, lyrics by Ibrahim Wafy, composed by Saleh Al-Kuwaity. Traditional songs: “Dari”, “Lelnassiria” and “Yam El Abaya”.
  • Maqam Dasht and the song “Kul ma amur ala darkum”, lyrics by Filfel Gourji, composed by Yousef Yacoub.
  • Maqam Bayati “Ya Aadal Annas” and other traditional songs; “Baskoot Awen”.
  • “Salma Ya Salama” and  “Temshi W Tesid Ain Ba’ain”.
  • “A'shomalay” from the old traditional songs, by Mohamed Hussein Kamar.
  • “Ya Sayyad El Samak”.
  • “Yal Walad” and “Ma Reedah”, composed by Abbas Jamil, musical distribution by Mohamed Hussein Kamar.
  • “An Darabah Milo” musical distribution Mohamed Hussein Kamar.
  • “Yaba Yaba Shloon Ayoon”.
  • Maqam Ajam (The poem ‘Anything on the Eid’ by Elia Abu Madi) and the songs, “Talaa Min Beit Abouha”, composed by Mulla Othman Musilli and “Marro Alya El Helouin”, lyrics by Dr Zahid Muhammad Zuhdi, composed by Nazem Na'im. From the legacy of Iraq traditional singer Nazem Al-Ghazali. 
  • Marbaat Ehtiat: “Yumma Inbag Rajli”, “Khadri El Chai Khadri” and “Suda Alyh El Makethat Hayawi”.

Farida Mohammad Ali
Farida Mohammad Ali is one of just a handful of artists to have mastered the ancient musical discipline of Maqam. This is a lifetime's pursuit, as the singer must develop not only a command of complex melodies and scales but also the scripture and philosophy behind them. Traditionally, singers muse be men, as the performance of Maqam was a male-based art form throughout the Arab world. Farida Mohammad Ali learned her unique style and mastery with the greatest teachers Munir Bashir, Shaubi Ibrahim and Yousif Omar. She began her endeavour with the Iraqi musical heritage group, which was founded by the legendary Munir Bashir. Since then she has dedicated her life to the importance of continuing and spreading Iraqi folklore throughout the world, from the ancient humanitarian civilisation of Mesopotamia.

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