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Exclusive Qobuz interview with Anouar Brahem

By Abigail Church |

We sat down with the Tunisian Oud player who released the elegant "Blue Maqams", an album with a jazz core, recorded with Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette and Django Bates...

In 2015, Anouar Brahem signed a stunning double-album called Souvenance, stemming from the Jasmin Revolution - a major event in the life of this Oud master and his native country Tunisia. Even though it wasn’t his personal reading of what happened, the disc oozed with the essence of it all. Through it’s duration and its atypical instrumentation (a large orchestra with an oud), Souvenance was like a vast floaty soundscape where this Tunisian musician took on the role as a sound engineer to create music that we surrendered ourselves to happily…

Two years later, Blue Maqams, released on the label ECM, brings a certain Anouar Brahem back to more intimate matters and notably his connection to jazz. Almost 20 years after his album Thimar, the oud player rediscovers the double bassist Dave Holland and invites along two other jazzmen who he had never played with before: the American drummer Jack DeJohnette and the British pianist Django Bates. We went to meet him at the Arab World Institute, where he reveals the genius of this mesmerizing album, tells us about his relation with Manfred Eicher from the label ECM and revisits a few jazz albums that changed his life…


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