The Tunisian artist Dhafer Youseff embarked on a difficult journey: to present the beauty of the arab culture to the western world.
His endeavour is by all means not easy, not because the arab culture is not reach enough, but because of the harm done by the muslim fundamentalists, especially by the sinister imams, preaching jihad and ordering executions of young girls, for the guilt of willing to go to school… (see BBC: Shot for going to School, an impressive story, available on YouTube; hard to forget is Nel’s meeting with the imam).
His latest album, Birds Requiem (2013) is a good example of his meditative style. The concert was intended to promote this album, but also presented songs from previous albums, more rhythmic.
Another interesting album is Abu Nawas Rhapsody, from 2010. Abu Nawas was one of the greatest classical Arabic poets, who, in the 8th-9th century, afforded to shock society by openly writing about things which Islam forbade.
Previous notable albums are Divine Shadows (2006), Electric Sufi (2002). In 2006 Dhafer Youssef received the BBC Award for World Music.
To get a glimpse of Dhafer’s music, many concerts can be viwed online; a very nice one is the 2010 concert Jazz sous les Pommiers, produced and broadcast by Mezzo.
As reviewed by allaboutjazz.com, Dhafer Youssef “is not shy of venturing into new sonic regions, still respects the ancient tradition of the oud, and offers a captivating vision integrating both the past and the future”.
[Sala Radio, 10 Apr. 2014, 20:00]