Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Ilham Al Madfai and Khyam Allami

Did you miss last night's BBC Prom featuring Ilham Al Madfai and Khyam Allami? If so, don't worry, you can still catch the concert on BBC Radio 3's website for the next seven days.

I highly recommend taking the time to enjoy this recording. The concert, though late night, was buzzing with energy. Ilham Al Madfai got the audience dancing while Khyam Allami left them dazzled by the beauty of the oud at its best.

Here's more from the BBC Radio 3's website about the two artists:

Two generations interpreting Iraqi music for a contemporary audience: Pioneering Iraqi singer and guitarist Ilham Al Madfai and his group play his own songs and traditional Iraqi favourites, and are joined by Ilham's student, oud player Khyam Allami. Damascus-born and London-raised, Khyam is the first student of Radio 3's World Routes Academy.

Ilham Al-Madfai was once known as the Beatle of Baghdad. He formed his first band in the 1960s, the first band in Iraq that used "modern" instruments in playing Arabic music. His family was against his involvement in music, and sent him to London to study architecture. But he continued to perform with a group, particularly at Cafe Baghdad in London. Leading musicians attended his gigs including Paul McCartney, Donovan and Georgie Fame.

Ilham returned to Iraq to develop his musical career. He introduced Spanish guitar rhythms from Andalusia to Iraqi folk song, appealing to a newer, younger audience. He reached a peak in popularity during the 70s, becoming Iraq's most popular musician of the time.

Click here to listen to the broadcast of last night's Prom.

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