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Dhafer Youssef: Birds Requiem

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A feeling of reverence tempered by resignation suffuses this work, which oud master Dhafer Youssef envisions as the score for an imaginary film about a spiritual quest. In this journey, enlightenment is apprehended only by embracing the inevitability of loss-or, as he explains in the press notes, “the idea of the disappearance of the body and the wandering of the soul.”

The eponymous four-movement Birds Requiem Suite provides the framework for the larger “suite of interconnected compositions” that comprise the overall thematic arc. Both mood and musical context are maintained by the interplay among Youssef’s oud, Hüsnü Şenlendirici’s clarinet, Nils Petter Molvær’s trumpet, Aytac Dogan’s kanun (a stringed instrument similar to a zither), Kristjan Randalu’s piano, Eivind Aarset’s guitar and electronics, Phil Donkin’s bass and Chander Sardjoe’s percussion.

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