The ‘Arabian Nights’ story Night 352 (from the Tales of 1001 Nights) is about the white slave princess Zumurrude. This saga from the renowned collection of stories was reworked specially for the Iraqi composer and qanun player Osama Abdulrasol into a modern parable, which inspired him to compose new music. The new music contains both his own story and that of Zumurrude. Along with Abdulrasol, Brussels Jazz Orchestra will also immerse itself in the legend, and will bring the story and the Middle-Eastern atmosphere of the 1001 nights back to life, but with some modern window dressing. Night 352 unites a Western jazz orchestra and an Arabian harp, instrumental and vocal music, the traditional and the contemporary, with in the background an ancient story that remains relevant today.
Nights 345 to 364 of Thousand-and-one-nights are about the blonde slave girl Zumurrude. Imagine if she were to jump from the yellowed pages of the book and live her life again. Writer Hazim Kamaledin (Longlisted for the International Arabic Booker Prize 2015) rewrote the story about night 352 for the composer and qanun player Osama Abdulrasol.
It turned into a modern fairy tale about contemporary slavery, as well as the passion for music and how it can expand someone’s horizons – something that composer Abdulrasol can talk about from experience.
His new compositions bring together tradition, present and future, as well as fiction and non-fiction. His music was arranged for Brussels Jazz Orchestra. The Middle-Eastern fairy tale provides the background, and the music tells the story.
Qanun & compositions: Osama Abdulrasol
Vocals: Jahida Wehbe
Percussion: François Taillefer
Adaptation from 1001 nights: Hazim Kamaledin
ABOUT OSAMA ABDULRASOL
Osama Abdulrasol is an Iraqi composer, qanun player and visual artist. He was born in Babylon, studied western classical music (classical guitar) in the UK and Eastern music (qanun or Arabic harp) in Iraq. Growing up in a devout religious family where music was forbidden, he learned to play music in secret as a child. In his insatiable hunger for music, he discovered jazz. In 1997 he fled Iraq and moved to Ghent. The cultural and musical diversity in Europe opened up a new world of influences and opportunities for him. Now Abdulrasol is a sought-after soloist in Belgium and beyond, has written music for film and theatre and toured worldwide with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra (de Filharmonie), Brussels Philharmonic (conducted by Dirk Brossé), The Metropole Orchestra, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Goran Bregovic, Jahida Wehbe, BJ Scott, Wannes Van de Velde, Luc De Vos, Waed Bou Hassoun, Arifa, Olla Vogala Melike, Oblomow, Weshm, Muziektheater Transparant, and more. In 2013 he won the city of Ghent’s cultural award.