Singing in Iraq

By Sameer Ibrahim

People in Mesopotamia, today’s Iraq, knew singing and music since ancient times. There are written sources for this on clay tablets and archaeological findings of musical instruments from the Sumerian culture of up to 6,000 years ago. Everyone knows what invasions and wars Iraq has experienced, the voice of song always expressed the feelings and concerns of the people. Therefore, the Iraqi song was characterized by sadness. This sadness has become a characteristic that distinguishes Iraqi music from music in other Arab countries. A famous Iraqi singer coined the phrase, “A person without sadness is a jubilee person!” At the end of the last century, the famous Iraqi singer and musician Ilham Al-Madfai introduced the guitar into Iraqi song to give it some joy and pleasure.
The Iraqi singer has the ability to convey feelings from his soul and heart to the receiver, in addition to words and melodies. He does not sing for the sake of singing, but expresses his inner state. Some say that when we listen to Iraqi songs, we stop driving for fear of an accident on the road because we can no longer concentrate. In fact, the voice of the Iraqi artist takes us to the depth of our own feelings and emotions. It is said that almost half of the Iraqi population has a beautiful and pleasant voice. This has impressed many people in Arab countries. Many believe that the secret for this lies in the drinking water from the great rivers Tigris and Euphrates!
The most famous Iraqi and Arab singer in the fifties and sixties of the last century is Nazem Al-Ghazali, whose songs can still be heard today. Currently, there is the great Iraqi singer and composer Kazem El Saher, who is known as the “Caesar of Arabic song”.
Kazem El Saher’s song “Me and Laila” ranked sixth in the list of the ten best songs in the world in a poll conducted by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in 2002. At the time, it was the only Arabic song in that poll. The lyrics are from a poem by Iraqi poet Hassan Al-Marwani. Some believe that the song “Me and Laila” is literary immortal similar to the famous Gilgamesh epic! El Saher’s wife is also a famous singer, one of many now in Iraq.
Iraqi singer Kazem El Saher sang many poems of the late great Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani, which he wrote in classical Arabic. The successful collaboration between Kazem El Saher and Nizar Qabbani changed the development of Arabic song, especially the classical Iraqi song with a sad character. With him, Iraqi song crossed the borders to all Arab countries.
Under Kadim Al Sahir – YouTube you can find videos with songs of Kazem Al Saher.


Singen mit dem Mikrofon Foto: tünews INTERNATIONAL / Linda Kreuzer







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