Accompanied by Lebanese composer Zad Moultaka on piano, Fadia Tomb Hage sang Friday night at Beiteddine Palace, the Muwashah al Haramlek, a series of the traditional Arab-Andalusian poems known as muwashahat.
The hour-and-a-half concert at which 12 Andalusian poems was performed, was created by Moultaka especially for the Beiteddine Festival.
According to The Daily Star, Hage may have been belting out some of the most famous poems of the Arab-Andalusian era, but this particular take on the mouwashahat certainly wasn’t a concert for the traditionalists. Backed by Moultaka’s intense piano riffs, Jihad al Chemaly’s masterful playing on oud and the rhythms of Pierre Rigopoulos on percussion, the performance infused traditional Arabic poetry with jazz and blues piano, bongo solos and oud performances.
Drawing on both his French and Lebanese backgrounds, Moultaka made waves fusing Western and Arabic music in his Anashid (anthems) performance at the Baalbek Festival in 2000. Since then, he has set the standard for homegrown talent still seeking to encompass the musical possibilities of multiple eras and continents.
Moultaka has said in the past that he seeks to initiate a “creative and dynamic rapport” with the music of the past, and his long piano solos such as Ya Bahjat al Rouh, (Joy of the Soul) played with alarming intensity, did just that.
Most of all, Beiteddine concert highlighted the creative range of Hage’s voice as she took simple Arabic refrains and endlessly reinvented their meanings.
One of the highlights of the evening was her take on Ya Ghazali, (My Deer) where, accompanied by piano and oud, Hage repeated the same refrain over and over in different tones and octaves, pushing the limits of the poem’s original intent and meaning – Albawaba.com