Ibrahim Maalouf, jazz trumpeter and composer
November 22, 2012 3:06 PM   Subscribe

"Before playing he explained the story behind the song, which was a journey – it was in 1993 as a 12 year old that he was able to return to Beirut alone for the first time (his parents having fled to Paris during the war) and he wandered the streets with his walkman, earphones plugged but playing no music, instead composing music in his mind and looking at the bullet marks in the walls of homes which had been rebuilt so many times over during the war that not much of the devastation was actually visible.. but after walking for a while, he sat and rested for some time.. and then suddenly when he got up again he noticed a street in front of him completely devastated and abandoned – something that he had actually been looking to see – but in that moment he was listening to (having just discovered) Led Zepplin and the combination of seeing the devastation and the music actually scared him and he ran away. And so this song tells that journey." The song is Beirut, and he is Ibrahim Maalouf.

Maalouf is more than a jazz trumpeter who plays Arabic music with quarter tones, he is also a composer and arranger, as you can see and hear in Point 33, a concert commissioned by Radio France and Festival de Saint-Denis. He has also made four albums to date, samples of which you can hear on his YouTube page.
posted by filthy light thief (14 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I believe Maalouf has played at the Saint-Denis festival for the past few years. Here's a clip from 2010, when he performed with Alok Verma and Smadj. You can spend hours listening to different live and studio recordings from Maalouf and other related artists on YouTube.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:10 PM on November 22, 2012

Here's a short interview with Ibrahim, in which I now learn that he has "conquered the classical trumpet world, winning just about every prize possible," and that he has collaborated with Sting, amongst other pop/mainstream western artists.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:16 PM on November 22, 2012

Unfortunately, my kids are complaining about my choice of music. This is great, and I look forward to listening to it in it's entirety when I'm alone
posted by mumimor at 4:59 PM on November 22, 2012

I've listened to three of his four albums, and they're fantastic. I haven't even started to dig into his work with other artists.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:16 PM on November 22, 2012

Prefer him without accompaniment.
posted by a non e mouse at 5:25 PM on November 22, 2012

Mad chops.
posted by DaddyNewt at 5:27 PM on November 22, 2012

That was supremely emotional. Thank you for sharing that!

There's something about a well-played trumpet that gets into some primal segment of my heart and starts digging deep. This really got to me.
posted by batmonkey at 5:54 PM on November 22, 2012

I love it!
posted by growabrain at 6:15 PM on November 22, 2012

"Beirut" was great, for me, until the '90s shred'n'bombast bit. I get that there was supposed to be a Led Zeppelin angle to it, but it felt jammed onto an otherwise lovely atmospheric piece.

Looking forward to hearing Diasporas on MOG.
posted by the sobsister at 7:01 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I sent this along to a friend - before I had heard all of it. I had to disavow the last bit, much as I love me some Zep. Still very glad to to be introduced to this fabulous player. The quarter tone aspect caught my interest immediately.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 7:54 PM on November 22, 2012

I liked it, including the Zeppelin bit.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:51 AM on November 23, 2012

This video of his father, Nassim Maalouf is also quite interesting (in French). He explains some of the differences between Arab and Western music and how he figured out how to play quarter tones on the trumpet.
posted by sneebler at 4:58 AM on November 23, 2012

And yet we bitch and moan about how bad we have it in America.
posted by stormpooper at 7:21 AM on November 23, 2012

It's funny how our desensitization to electric guitars turns something that could be really powerful into a "you had to be there" moment. I wonder if the production was more raw at the end it would have more impact. It sounds weirdly like they are holding back at that moment.

Beautiful trumpet playing, though.
posted by speicus at 2:59 PM on November 23, 2012

« Older Nothing much happens, until it does.   |   Meet the Cheatles Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments