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Safaafir - Maqams of Baghdad



Maqams of Baghdad is the first release for the Iraqi Maqam ensemble, Safaafir (featuring Salaam members, Amir El Saffar, Dena El Saffar and Tim Moore).  Iraqi Maqam is a centuries old musical art form that is unique to Iraq.  This album showcases some of the repertoire from the Baghdadi tradition.

Safaafir is a name that evokes the ancient art of coppersmithing in Iraq. Soug al-Safaafir, or the coppersmiths’ market, is a well-known market in Baghdad, memorable for the din of hammers on copper and the glowing beauty of each creation. The sound of the Iraqi Maqam - the timbre of the joza and santoor and the hammering of ancient rhythms - has often been likened to the Soug al-Safaafir. Amir and Dena El Saffar, brother and sister, come from a family of coppersmiths (saffar is the singular of safaafir), and their ancestor’s legacy has also inspired the music on this album. The gift of this intricate vocal tradition from Iraq is brought to the ears of Americans, Iraqis, and others, as Safaafir breathes new life into the music of old, against the backdrop of the 21st century.

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jake Belser at Farm Fresh Studios, in Bloomington, IN.

Sound Bytes:

Click on a link below to listen to an .mp3 sample from the CD Maqams of Baghdad:

3.  Excerpt from Maqam Penjigah

5.  El Layla Hilwa

6.  Excerpt from Maqam Hwaizawi


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