With this LP we start a series of three posts of the Maqam Music of Iraq - Maqam al-Iraqi. In 2011 we posted already an LP having a recording by the same singer as on this LP here. See here.
Iraqi Maqam is one of the great Maqam traditions. In some respects it has some affinities to the Mugham music of Azerbaijan and to Dastgah music of Iran, but it is for sure through and through Arabic. I discovered this music in the first half of the 1970s with the legendary LP "Iraq - Makamat - L'Ensemble Al Tchalghi Al Baghdadi et Yusuf Omar" which we will post here as the third post in this series. For a long time there were hardly any other recordings available.
Here on this LP - which to my knowledge was never distributed in Europe or the US - we have mainly the lighter and more vivid and shorter pieces which in a performance are played usually towards the end. In the next two posts we will have the serious longer Maqam performances. Here the singer is also accompanied by a Takht ensemble as it is used normally in Maqam music in Egypt and other Near Eastern countries. In Iraq this a more recent development. Normally the Maqam music is accompanied by the Chalghi Al Baghdadi ensemble consistung of a Santour player, a Djoze player and two or three percussionists, as we will have it in the next two posts.
The singer on this LP is Salah Abdel Ghafour (1952-2012). In the 1970s he toured quite frequently also outside of Iraq. In our next post we will have three broadcasts with him from 1977, 1978 and 1979 done by the WDR in Cologne, Germany.
Later he seems to have turned more into a singer of popular music.
"Iraqi artist Salah Abdel Ghafour was killed in a road accident in the Iraqi city of Irbil on Sunday evening, April 7, 2012. A medical source said the late singer was injured and hospitalized following a road accident, and passed away at the hospital. Salah Abdul Ghafour was born in 1952 in Al Saadiya district in Diyala Province in Iraq. He was of Kurdish origin. Abdul Ghafour applied to the TV and Radio auditions in 1961 via the program "Rukn Al Huwaa" (Amateurs' Corner), he was only 8 years old at the time. He rose to fame by singing the songs of renowned Iraqi artist Nathem Al Ghazali. In 1973, he joined the National Troupe for Folklore Arts, and later became a member of the Iraqi Inshad Troupe. For the next four years, he participated in a number of festivals and celebrations in Iraq and abroad. In 1977, he joined the Institute of Musical Studies as a student, where he specialized in the Iraqi Maqam and in playing the violin. Six years later, he graduated from the institute and joined the Iraqi Musical Heritage Troupe, founded by the late Mounir Bashir, whereby he took part in many Arab and international festivals and concerts. The song he is most famous for is "Helwa Yal Baghdadiya" (Pretty Baghdadi Girl), the music of which was composed by Nathem Naeem. Some of his most popular hits include "Mou Beedaya" (Out of My Hands), music by composer Mohamed Noushi; "Ridt Ansak" (I Wanted to Forget You), music by composer Farouq Hilal; "Kulman Yahin Lahla" (Whoever Yearns for their Family) and "Khasartak Habibi" ( I Lost You My Darling), music by composer Jaafar Al Khafaf. Song artist Salah Abdul Ghafour made more than 30 albums and 300 songs, including the Iraqi Maqam and Iraqi heritage songs. In addition, he had many national and love songs. Many artists performed his songs, the most famous of which is veteran Turkish singer Ibrahim Tatlises, who performed the song "Shlonak Ainy Shlonak" (How are you my love?). Abdul Ghafour's most famous hits include "Helwa Yal Baghdadiya" (Pretty Baghdadi Girl), "Khasartak Habibi" ( I Lost You My Darling), "La Tulomony" ( Do Not Blame Me), "Anta Al Ghaltan" (You Are Mistaken), "Kul Yom Lak Mee'ad" ( You Have a Time Every Day) and "Il'ab Yal Asmar" ( Play You Dark-toned One)."
About Iraqi Maqam music see:
A blog devoted to Iraqi Maqam with many many historical recordings: