New Internationalist

Seven Gates

May 2005
Abdullah Chhadeh: breadth of imagination.

If there’s a single instrument that typifies the music of the Middle East, it’s the qanun, in all its shimmering, microtonal glory. For centuries, this plucked zither has been at the heart of the Arabic ensemble, and now it’s the vehicle by which virtuoso player Abdullah Chhadeh makes his début album. Seven Gates is nothing less than an evocation of Chhadeh’s childhood home of Damascus, and its success lies in the combination of Chhadeh’s intensely felt music and its openness to nuances and sounds from farther afield.

This will be no surprise to anyone who has been entranced by Chhadeh’s work with composer Jocelyn Pook or singers Natacha Atlas and Sinead O’Connor. Although classically trained, Chhadeh has long been interested in fusing different traditions, and this is exemplified in the Nara quartet. Bernard O’Neill’s understated bass and Simon Webster’s percussion gives Seven Gates a solid foundation for qanun and accordion – from Bashir Abdul Al and Mazin Abu Sayf – to build upon. The album is organized around seven babs (gates) which function as points for Chhadeh to introduce and reprise his music’s themes. Travelling between the gates there is much movement. ‘Asaf’, the journey between ‘Bab Al Saghir’ and ‘Bab Al Faraj’ seems sedate, until its pace is upped to a destination where space and contemplation rule. Seven Gates’ triumph is in its breadth of imagination and trust in its distinct sound world.

Louise Gray

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 378 This column was published in the May 2005 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Comments on Seven Gates

Leave your comment







 

  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

Seven Gates Fact File
Product information by Abdullah Chhadeh & Nara
Product number ABYC CH 1001 CD
Star rating4
Publisher Abdullah Chhadeh
Product link http://www.abdullahchhadeh.com/

Get our free fortnightly eNews

Multimedia

Videos from visionOntv's globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Music

All Music

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 378

New Internationalist Magazine issue 378
Issue 378

More articles from this issue

  • In Your Hands

    May 1, 2005

  • Water

    May 1, 2005

    Bleached coral and beached ships; lost wetlands and sinking islands: the power of water over our health, our weather and our wars.

  • FILM NEWS…

    May 1, 2005

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.

Subscribe