Inspired by Kurdish music and culture
Old Roots New Leaf

Mirage by Hajar Zahawy © Mirage by Hajar Zahawy

The vocal lines, by Amel Zen, of Barber culture in the Dahra region of Algeria, follow the dynamic lines of the percussion and Kurdish Daf by Hajar Zahawy, to form a duet of rhythm and voice.

Hazhar Zahawy

The Kurdish Daf symbolizes the national instrument of the Kurdish people and has a very important place in the cultural heritage of the Kurds.

The Daf comes from a spiritual Sufi background and goes back to more than 1000 years in history. My project was focused on percussion and the different styles and rhythms which can be found in Kurdish music and culture, and combining many varieties of percussion instruments. Amel Zen from Algeria, participated as a guest to sing on the rhythms inspired from Amazigh north African culture and identity; especially the Kabylie region which is a mix of barber and the culture in the Dahra region of Algeria.
The process was very interesting; we exchanged many ideas and wanted to find out how we can layer the percussion instruments in order to obtain the correct sound harmony and the right sound atmosphere. In the first recording attempts, the instruments were not sounding right and had very dissonant sounds. The percussion harmony was not matching. But after many experiments I managed to layer the correct sounds together and find the rhythms that would harmonize.
The vocal lines follow the very dynamic lines of the percussion. They alternate in melody and sometimes have slight modulations in some vocal phrases, which is inspired by the percussion; in that way the Algerian and Kurdish identities are fused and can be heard.
I composed many rhythmical phrases, simple and polyrhythmic. The vocal layers embrace such phrases in the piece that portrays a sense of storytelling track. It has high and low moments when you hear and share the connection of rhythm and voice that has always been connected together.   

Hazhar Zahawy © Hazhar Zahawy Hazhar Zahawy

is a famous Kurdish folk percussionist. Born in 1980 to a Kurdish family in Iran, he had been introduced to music and was taught to play Daf (Kurdish frame drum) at the age of 5. When he was 10 he moved to Great Britain and at the age of 13 he performed for the first time with the national radio and television orchestra of Kurdish music. Hazhar has performed around the world and has collaborated with Persian, Greek, Indian, Arabic, and Turkish musicians. He has participated in many international music festivals including WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) festival in The UK, WOMEX (World Music Expo) festival in Netherlands, and World Sacred Music festival in Morocco. 
He played a track on the 2005 movie Kingdom of Heaven and has appeared in many programs and documentaries about Kurdish music. He also released a solo album of percussion compositions in 2007. Aside from the heavy Kurdish sound he usually deploys, Hazhar Zahawy draws influence from many other countries. He uses music as a medium to connect people and preserve his ethnical and cultural heritage.

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