12th June 2006
“Their music’s stunning, there’s a definite interest for anyone interested in peace in the Middle East, and it should be a great summer’s night’s entertainment – so should appeal to everyone!”
A must-see for all world and classical world music fans, Le Trio Joubran are a unique trio of Palestinian brothers whose heart-stoppingly beautiful oud playing will touch your soul.
Sons of a master oud craftsman from the Biblical city of Nazareth, Samir, the eldest at 32, is a virtuoso and has already built up an international reputation. He was inspired to form an oud trio after listening to contemporary flamenco and jazz fusion guitarists and wondering, “Why can’t the oud sound shiny like that?”
He is joined by Wissam, age 23, who was apprenticed to his father and became the first stringed instrument maker from the Arab World to enter the Antonio Stradivari Institute in Italy. Wissam crafted the three brother instruments played by the trio in the Joubran family’s tradition, bringing a total of six brothers to the stage!
Adnan, the youngest at 20, is considered a prodigy by his brothers and his full musical talent is just emerging.
Together, the brothers are as one. Having played together over the course of a lifetime, they form a mesmerising musical unit and have such an intense connection on stage that each seems to have an innate knowledge of what the others will do.
The oud, or Arab lute, is the voice of Palestinian tradition and classical Arab music. Its ancient origins date back as far as Mesopotamia and Pharonic Egypt, it is a distant cousin of Russia’s balalaika and Japan’s biwa, and the forefather of the European lute, brought to Western Europe by the Troubadours (from the Arabic for ‘lutanist’) via Moorish Spain. Considered the king of instruments in the Arab world, the oud remains popular today throughout North Africa and the Near and Middle East.
In unison and in turn, the trio’s repertoire of elegant melodies, intricate arabesques and high tempo, percussive playing is simply stunning. Their subtle exploration of the Arab tradition is fused with contemporary influences, from flamenco to popular music.
Le Trio Joubran dream of the day when they can be free to just be ‘themselves’, to just create like normal musicians. Sadly, the reality is that, because of the devastating daily events back home, they feel that they cannot not be politicised, and they cannot not be Palestinians when they come to the stage.
Their musical life is carried out amid the unimaginable social and political complexities of present day Israel and the West Bank. As Israeli passport holders, they find it difficult to travel to most Arab countries and ironically, it can be more complicated for the group to get from Ramallah to Tel Aviv than from Tel Aviv to Montreal. According to Samir, “While Palestine is occupied, I’m not a normal musician. After the concert, I go back and listen to the news. Everything is related to my country, my people.”
Let that not distract you from their music, however, which is exceptionally peaceful, contemplative and meditative, in places fiery and percussive and punctuated with poignant silences.
The Palestinian experience of occupation, discrimination, hardship and sacrifice lends their musical scene a unique, experimental, diverse and innovative perspective, set apart from the rest of the Arab world. This trio’s music has the power to remind you that away from the conflict, theirs is a beautiful country with a rich and culturally diverse heritage. Something in their music simply transcends cultures, borders and politics.
Now with a base in Paris, away from the day-to-day aggravations and dangers of home in Ramallah, the trio have been able to take their music to a wider audience and tour in Europe, America and Canada, and now for their first tour in the UK, to Wales.
Samir recently said, “This is our Palestinian kitchen, our culture and language; this is our instrument, our music and identity; and we’re just presenting our own version, one that grew organically out of all this.”
Celebrating Palestinian culture, Le Trio Joubran bring this message with them to Wales.
Le Trio Joubran Tour Dates:
4 July – Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan www.mwldan.co.uk – 01239 621200
5 July – Arts Centre, Aberystwyth www.aber.ac.uk/artscentre – 01970 623232
6 July – SPAN @ Queens Hall, Narberth – www.span-arts.org.uk – 01834 869323
7 July Theatr Ardudwy, Harlech www.theatrardudwy.co.uk – 01766 780667
8 July – Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea www.taliesinartscentre.co.uk – 01792 602060
9 July – National Museum, Cardiff ‘Organised by Beyond the Border: Wales International Storytelling Festival’ – www.museumwales.ac.uk – 02920 573466
Press and publication Quotes:
“This is contemporary oud playing at its finest – inventive, quixotic and arresting – and it should appeal equally both to die-hard lutephiles and those approaching Arab music for the first time.” – Songlines