Rabih Abou Khalil is one of the most respected virtuoso oud players and composers whose wide range of interests and insatiable curiosity for new music from around the globe has significantly enriched his own work. His music is his own universe where an ongoing dialogue between Khalil and the rest of the world has been occurring. He was born and raised in the cosmopolitan climate of Beirut, Lebanon, before the civil war that ravaged his homeland forced him to leave for Germany where he studied classical flute. In the past 30 years and with 20 albums behind he has carved ...read more
Rabih Abou Khalil/Penelope X Bitola World Music Festival NU Centar za Kultura Bitola, Macedonia November 9, 2013 Bitola, one of the most beautiful cities in southeastern Europe, is a place that ignites the imagination immediately. With its tasteful and stylish architecture reflected in multicolored facades and European honorary consulates, it displays the city's rich history that stretches back into ancient times. The city blossomed most during the rule of the Ottoman empire when its importance as an administrative and military center (known then as Monastir) also contributed greatly to its ...read more
Musical alchemist, oud virtuoso and springer of surprises, Rabih Abou-Khalil has never been shy about immersing himself into challenging musical environments. So the suggestion by Ricardo Pais, director of the Teatro Nacional Sao Joao, Porto to have Abou-Khalil write music to the words of five Portuguese poets represented an irresistible challenge. The project sees Abou-Khalil utilizing a singer for the first time--the impressive fadoist Ricardo Ribeiro. Em Portugues however, is not fado, but a marriage between its poetic, blues spirit and the imagination of Abou-Khalil. The music lies firmly in the bed of the rhythmic complexities and melodies stemming from ...read more
Showing respect and audacity in equal measure, the music of Lebanese oud player/composer Rabih Abou-Khalil has always stretched musical boundaries and traversed time. His is a music which embraces tradition, and challenges it. On Songs for Sad Women Abou-Khalil marshals a stripped-down ensemble which plays with air akin to intimate chamber music, yet with the soul of timeless folk music.
The combination of Armenian 'duduk,' (a double-reed instrument related to the cornet whose origins pre-date both Christianity and Islam), the bizarrely-shaped 'serpent,' (a baritone cousin of the tuba which looks to have sprung from the imagination of an Asian calligrapher), ...read more
With a program of compositions by Rabih Abou-Khalil and Joachim Kühn, Journey to the Centre of an Egg shifts to various parts of the globe, combining mainstream jazz with world music. Most of the flavor in their creations centers on the Middle Eastern tradition. This comes as no surprise, since Abou-Khalil was born in Lebanon and lived there until adulthood. But the session also includes flavors from other areas, including Spain, the Caribbean, South Africa, and parts of South America.
Abou-Khalil's oud takes on the persona of a blues guitarist on I'm Better Off Without You, which finds ...read more
The amount of time that Rabih Abou-Khalil had to wait to receive proper recognition in North America was almost criminal. After amassing ten releases on the German Enja label, the Lebanese oud virtuoso finally penetrated the Western hemisphere through a licensing deal with Montreal's Justin Time and the release of 2004's border-bridging sextet effort, Morton's Foot.
And so expectations are high for this more intimate trio followup, which prominently features German pianist/co-composer Joachim Kühn (who plays alto saxophone on one track) and American percussionist Jarod Cagwin, a specialist in North African and Middle Eastern styles. Wolfgang Reisinger pitches in with ...read more
In the realm of instruments from off the beaten path in jazz, the oud remains one of the most intriguing. On a series of ECM albums, Anouar Brahem has experimented with the eleven-string lute in a variety of settings, but he tends to fashion close ties with his Tunisian cultural aesthetic. Lebanese oudist Rabih Abou-Khalil has been more adventurous, with a series of albums ranging from the solo Il Sospiro (Enja, 2002) to the unorthodox Cactus of Knowledge (Enja, 2001) big band. Morton's Foot (Enja, 2004) was a particular high water mark, combining Abou-Khalil's penchant for hypnotic rhythms with uncommon ...read more