Nasir Shammah Transforms Pains into Beautiful Tunes
Nasir Shammah, nicknamed since his beginning in Baghdad as “Iraqi Ziryab” possesses golden fingers which enabled him to become an innovative artist in the lute world. He masters the musical instrument to the extent that enables him to transform pains into beautiful tunes.
The Iraqi musician who became renowned after the gulf war told the daily al Hayat, “despair has been and is still prevailing among the Iraqi people. But this despair did not reflect disappointment on me as after 40 days of the announcement of the cease fire in the second gulf war, I decided to hold a concert in Baghdad amid rubble and in the devastated city which had no electricity, water or any means of life. When I presented the idea to my friends, they accused me of being crazy. But with determination I geared up for the concert and distributed 300 tickets written by hand. I decided to perform the concert in one of the most famous hall at the Iraqi museum, which is a 4000-year old Ashuri hall.
I played music from a place that symbols the Iraqi civilization and the surprise came when more than 1300 persons attended the concert. At that time I was confident that that there was an Iraqi people living despite all the catastrophes. The concert constituted the first attempt to cure the Iraqi wounds.”
After the gulf war, Shammah went to Tunisia and Morocco to teach the lute playing art. He returned to Cairo to establish the Arab Lute House in which he works as a lute playing instructor. But sadness appears on the face of Nasir and concern is evident in his eyes.
“I am sad because I am the son of an Arab region filled with catastrophes and blasts penetrating the tunes of our life and transforming them into plights and wiping out all kinds of happiness,” said Shammah.
He added, “I witnessed the American missile which hit al A’miriyyah refuge and led to the death of 800 children tearing them into pieces. I composed the musical piece Raksat al Faras (Mare Dance) and dedicated it to the resisting people of south Iraq. In this piece I evoked the war environment with the military planes roaring noises and the pains of mothers. This piece has not only commiserated the victims but also marked the death of the western civilization.
My musical piece has been against the barbarism of the world order. I also composed my music piece Holm Merriam (Merriam Dream) commiserating a child who died as a result of drinking polluted water during the war. The child was among thousands of Iraqi victims. I also composed the music piece Raksat al Muqawamah (Resistance Dance) which is about the child who stood unafraid in front of the tank. I am still involved in this composition phase because I am still feeling sad.” Albawaba.com