ένα μη κερδοσκοπικό και μη εμπορικό πολιτιστικό ιστολόγιο - a non profit and a non commercialized cultural blog

Δευτέρα, 21 Μαΐου 2007

WASIF JAWHARIEH: THE PALESTINIAN COMROSER AND HIS MEMOIRS

Wasif was born in Jerusalem in 1887 and his music tells us a lot about an unknown aspect of Palestinian life prior to the loss of Palestine in 1948. Although Palestine had its great artists and was part of the rich Arab cultural environment of that time, there is very little record of what used to be a vivid and thriving Palestinian art. Palestinian art disintegrated with the disintegration of Palestine. The recordings which we present here in Wasif's voice are more than rare tunes; they are history.Wasif grew up in a household whose members were either amateur musicians, oud players or sophisticated listeners. As he grew up he was able to forge for himself a local reputation as a foremost oud player and composer. He received his musical education in the company of Jerusalem's top oudists and composers, and in 1915, he had the oppurtunity to learn at the hands of the Syrian master oud player Omar al-Batsh, who was then member of the Turkish army military band stationed in Jerusalem, and who taught him how to perform the classical Muwashahat. He was also influenced by such great Egyptian innovators as Yusif al-Minyalawi, Dawood Husni and Sayyid Darwish. In 1918, Cafe Jawhariyyeh was opened near the Russian Compound along the Jaffa Road in what is now West Jerusalem, and the cafe became renowned for bringing the best singers in the country, such as Sheikh Ahmad Tarifi and Zaki Afandi Murad, as well as famous Arab artists such as the Syrian cabaret dancer Badi'a Masabni and her husband Najib al-Rihani.The three pieces we present here are representative of the music which was commom in Palestine during the first quarter of the last century. El Badr Lamma Zar is a popular Palestinian song, and is followed by a short Palestinian dance played by Wasif on the oud. Ya Maimati is a ditty which according to the singer was " a well known song here", but is most likely an Egyptian taqtuqa. Dawr Ashki Limeen is a composition of Dawood Husni (1871-1937). Wasif's Diaries were recently published in two volumes and they come with an audio CD - 60 minutes of music and songs performed by Wasif on the oud. For details click here.

1. El Badr Lamma Zar
00:03:33
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2. Ya Maimati
00:02:29
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3. Dawr Ashki Limeen
00:07:33
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Ottoman Jerusalem in the Jawharieh Memoirs:

These diaries cover a critical period of modern Jerusalem at the end of Ottoman rule. The author describes many aspects of daily life in Jerusalem and its suburbs, including religious ceremonies and secular celebrations, and ranging over a number of remarkable events, such as the introduction of electricity, the automobile, the phonograph, and cinema, as well as the welcome given by the inhabitants of the Baq'a neighborhood of the first Ottoman airplane to land in the city. These diaries also chronicle the author's life as an officer in the Ottoman army, his tour of duty at the Dead Sea, and his relationship to notable personages in the city of Jerusalem, such as Husayn al-Husayni. They also contain a colorful evocation of the fabric of life in the neighborhoods of Sa'diyyah and Misrarah. The book includes numerous historical photographs from the Jawharieh collection, as well as appendices that document various aspects of the prevailing socio-economic system in Jerusalem at the time.The Jawharieh diaries supply us with a unique glimpse of daily life in Jerusalem at the beginning of the twentieth century. Wasif Jawharieh's lively voice is sarcastic at times, tame and pluralistic at other times, but always unmistakably secular. His memoirs provide a much-needed alternative view of Ottoman Jerusalem, amidst an abundance of studies that depict the city in this period as though it lay outside history and as though its entire existence was steeped in a set of religious identities. Thus, these diaries are not merely modern in character, but rather depict a city in the process of entering into modernity.

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