A Journey through Aesthetic Realms
 
Baghdad Folklore Band Presents the Art of Iraqi Maqam      
Today’s A Journey through Aesthetic Realms will be presented in Arabic, with subtitles in Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, (Slovenian,) Spanish and Thai.

Welcome to A Journey through Aesthetic Realms on Supreme Master Television. Today, we are honored to have the Baghdad Folklore Band introduce the ethereal beauty of the musical art of Iraqi maqam.

Baghdad is one of the world’s oldest cities. The ancient name of Baghdad was "Madinat al Salam", the City of Peace. Great scientists, poets, architects and artists studied and improved upon the works of other great civilizations, including Persia, India, and China. For her great love of scholarship, Baghdad was also called the City of Wisdom.

Another translation of the name Baghdad, states the meaning to be “bagh,” meaning God, and “dad,” meaning gift. Thus, its meaning in this Persian translation is “Gift of God.” And, quite literally, the knowledge that has poured forth from this rich community of minds has been a divine gift to the world. As early as 1800 BCE, the flourishing Assyrian city of Nineveh was already famous for its colossal constructions with fine decorations of sculptures and paintings. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon built in 600 BCE is considered one of the original Seven Wonders of the World.

In music, Iraq is known for the stringed instruments oud and rebeb, as well as the melodic maqam. The art of Iraqi maqam has been preserved for hundreds of years in both secular and religious settings. The true essence of this art form is being kept alive through the devoted and passionate efforts of great musicians. Baghdad Folklore Band is a newly formed band that aspires to keep Iraq’s musical roots alive. This hospitable and energetic group consists of seasoned Iraqi musicians residing in Michigan, USA. The manager of the band, Mr. Adnan Asmar, explains the group’s musical purpose.

We mix the old Iraqi traditions with the current traditions, and keep it for our future generations.

The goal of this group is to deliver the name of Iraq, because Iraq is in our blood. Iraq is our father, we drunk its water, and we don't want to forget Iraq. If Iraq is still under these circumstances, its voice will still exist. The name of Iraq will still exist. The Iraqi song will still exist, and people will know Iraq. And we will sing nationalistic songs for Iraq.

We will spread the Iraqi voice between all the Arab communities, and I want to tell them that Iraq will survive through its voice and traditions.

The Baghdad Folklore Band members include the esteemed musicians Saad Mesi, Wisam Arabo, Ala Alshakerchi, and Adnan Yousif.

Within the group, we have good singers with very nice voices, no artist can surpass them, especially regarding maqam. We established the group with brother Ala, he is a very good zither player. And the brother who reads the musical notes. And brother Wisam Arabo, he is well-known in the community here, and brother Saad, the drummer, he is one of the very good players. There is also another violinist, who will join us very soon.

The group plans to reproduce that same authentic harmonious atmosphere as in Iraq, with top-class professional musicians.

It came into my mind when I was in Iraq. I had earlier established the group “Al-Rafedeen” of Baghdadi traditions.

Every Thursday night was the holiday night. We performed at a party every Thursday and many of the Iraqi singers sang.

When I came here I called brother Ala and we wanted to establish another group just like "Al-Rafedeen" in Iraq.

We use the same songs we used in Baghdad.

After much hard training, we will appear in many festivals in California, Los Angeles, or Chicago. And in case there are some festivals, we will be ready to participate at any festival in the name of Iraq.

Let’s now enjoy a traditional folk song performed by the Baghdad Folklore Band.

She is very wise like Lokman… She is very wise like Lokman…

and beautiful like Joseph and virtuous like the Virgin Mary. I suffered pains like Job, and the regret of Adam. Beside the valley I saw a dove which was crying with a broken heart. God has forbidden in all the holy books bloodshed, God has forbidden in the Holy Qur’an and Bible bloodshed, but he didn't forbid kissing the cheeks.

A Journey through Aesthetic Realms will continue our program featuring the Baghdad Folklore Band after these brief messages. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

She greets me and she is afraid of her family, this is not allowed. When she comes, everybody greets her, When she comes, everybody greets her. You are welcome my darling, She greets me. She greets me modestly, she knows how to respect others, She greets me modestly, she knows how to respect others, She greets me…

Welcome back to A Journey through Aesthetic Realms on Supreme Master Television. You have just heard an excerpt of an Iraqi folk song performed by the Baghdad Folklore Band, which was formed to preserve traditional Iraqi music, especially the special art form of Iraqi maqam. Iraqi maqam is considered the most perfect form of maqam in the Arabic world. It originated 400 years ago and is characterized by the singing of poems in Iraqi or classic Arabic dialect.

Maqam is the system of melodic notes used in traditional Arabic music, which is from the old Baghdadi traditions. And we use it in Iraqi music. The master of Iraqi maqam is Al-Qubanchi, may Allah rest his soul in peace. And the maqam is a characteristic of Iraq.

Among the many popular 20th century Iraqi maqam singers, Mohammed Al-Qubanchi and Rachid Al-Qundarchi were representative of two distinguishable styles. While Al-Qubanchi focused on the rendering of content, Al-Qundarchi concentrated on music tunes. These precious artistic traditions are being carried forward by present-day maqam vocalists such as Ms. Farida Muhammad Ali and Mr. Muhammad H. Gomar, among others.

It began in Baghdad and became famous. Salima Murad, Al-Qubanchi, Nazem Al-Ghazali, Yusuf Omar... there are too many, I can't remember them all, they were the first schools in maqam. Iraqi maqam was well known throughout the Arabic homeland and now it's also in Tunisia. I went to Tunisia, and I found out that the songs of Nazem Al-Ghazali are still being sung in the whole Arab world.

Maqam is special to Iraq. The maqam school is an Iraqi school, it's the source of all the maqamat.

In Iraq, there are private schools, and the institutes for the arts. You can study in Baghdad the art of Iraqi music, the art of traditional music. Then the students graduate after 3 to 5 years of learning; the student spends a long time to learn it.

Iraqi musicians use a variety of instruments including oud, rebab, and santur. Mr. Asmar introduces us to some of the band’s instruments, such as the dumbek drum.

It has many names like tabla, eqa'a, and dumbek. And in Lebanon, they call it darbuka.

This instrument is very old, it's from the Sumerian time, it's called the zither. The idea for it came from the Sumerian harp.

Like other arts, to become an expert in traditional Iraqi music, schooling is only one aspects but talent is essential. Mr. Asmar attributes this inborn ability to the grace of Allah.

In fact, all these are gifts, there could be a gifted man who can learn it within a month. And here is Mr. Saad, he is a very gifted man. He uses his fingers for playing. Every human being has a gift from Allah, the gift of speech, of sculpturing, of playing, of singing. All of these are gifts from Allah to man. But there are schools to teach this man in case he has this gift, in the fine arts institutes. He will have the inspiration to go to the institution, because he has a gift. Exactly like the singer who goes to the singing school to learn maqam and the zither.

In order to preserve their musical tradition and introduce Iraqi music to new audiences, the Baghdad Folklore Band plans on participating in cultural events and festivals.

We practice a lot in order to make the group one of the best in the whole Arab world or in America. That's why we want to produce something to keep this tradition in mind.

To conclude today’s show, we invite you to enjoy the song, “Bright Sun” a traditional Iraqi folk song performed by the Baghdad Folklore Band, which demonstrates their devotion and skill for Iraqi maqam.

I love you, and I love everybody who loves you I love you, and I love everybody who loves you I also love the musk-roses because their color is like your cheeks, I love you My darling, you are my only darling, my darling My darling, you are my only darling, my darling Please don't be harsh to me, you are my only darling, I love you I love you, and I love everybody who loves you I love you, and I love everybody who loves you I also love the musk-roses because their color is like your cheeks, I love you The beautiful girl passed by me

She looked at me with the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen The beautiful girl passed by me She looked at me with the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen She passed by me, by me She passed by me, by me The beautiful girl passed by me She was walking in a hurry, I don't know why Her perfume stayed with me after she went She was walking in a hurry, I don't know why Her perfume stayed with me after she went She passed by me, by me She passed by me, by me The beautiful girl passed by me

We are grateful to Mr. Adnan Asmar and all the musicians of the Baghdad Folklore Band for sharing with us the heartwarming tradition of Iraqi maqam. May your peaceful melodies bring the message of brotherly love to every corner of the world. For more information about the Baghdad Folklore Band, please contact

Beautiful viewers, thank you for your charming presence for today’s episode of A Journey through Aesthetic Realms. Up next is Vegetarianism: The Noble Way of Living, right after Noteworthy News here on Supreme Master Television. Wishing you many blessed and tranquil moments in life.

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