Nhaoul' (2013)





Their first meeting dates back to 1998, when Sarah Murcia joined Sabreen – an innovative Palestinian group whose lead singer was Kamilya Jubran – for an album and concert tour of Europe and the Middle East. This adventure turned out to be the foundation for a regular human and artistic exchange. Between Kamilya Jubran, a Palestinian singer determined to play the oud and move to Europe, while seeking an original musical path between the Arab traditions and contemporary elements, and Sarah Murcia, a French double bass player open to all the experiences of pop, jazz and improvisation, from Jacques Higelin to Elysian Fields via Magic Malik and his quartet Caroline, the desire was great for a real joint project. But how to make happen the creation of music together with such separate paths and ways of playing, without one bending to the demands of the music of the other, and beyond a simple overlapping? Over several years of reflection and mutual learning, the two musicians finally found the answers to their ambitions. First working to create a common language: Sarah Murcia made a point to learn to play the quarter tones of oriental scales and memorise long labyrinthine sentences – of the oral tradition – that are the rule in Arab music. Her double bass alone unfolds dramatically in Hayati (track 1), a classical form of dawr1 written by the Egyptian master Sayed Darwish, one of the favourite composers of Kamilya Jubran. She, in turn, began to internalise the methods of limited transposition and complex rhythmic structures (asymmetry, polyrhythm), following Sarah Murcia’s suggestions, for Suite Nomade 2 (track 5), entirely composed by both, blurring their tracks to a disconcerting point beyond any benchmark. The basis of their duet rests on an amazing musical and aesthetic convergence which has solidified through delving deeper into several compositions by Kamilya Jubran based on prose poems, so as to give to the oud a total rhythmic and melodic freedom. Sarah Murcia has approached them in a vertical way in adding her harmonies. Her string arrangements, cast against Arabic music, deal with the economy, colours, matter. Kamilya Jurban, on the other hand, comes from a highly melodic and modal culture and thinks her music horizontally. Marion Brizemur (alto), Catherine Debroucker (violin) and Christine Krauz (cello), who accompany them, add a rhythmic precision. The texts are strong and chosen from among contemporary poets or are, for Suite Nomade, excerpts from Bedouin poems from the deserts of the Sinai and Negev published by Clinton Bailey in his collection Bedouin Poetry (Saqi Books, reissued in 2002). Kamilya Jubran sings them in dialect remembering the Bedouin women she came across in her childhood: “They came to our home to sell their products, and as a result told us about their lives, difficulties, the changes imposed on their way of life. Years later, when I discovered the book of Clinton Bailey, it was pure joy...” With Nhaoul’ created on the stage of ARC Rezé and Dynamo de Banlieues Bleues, Kamilya Jubran and Sarah Murcia found the magic formula for their respective worlds to interact and give free rein to their sensitive strings. In fact, Nhaoul’ in Arabic means “loom”, more specifically the frame on which stretch and intersect the threads to make the fabric. And here, no doubt about it, the weave is solid.

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