Stunningly beautiful, poignant music from Bilad al-Sham — ‘the countries of Damascus’, known nowadays as Syria, Lebanon and Palestine, including performances from the very first recording sessions in the region. The legendary, moody Beirut singer Bulus ?ulban is here; some historians have him singing before Egypt’s Pasha Ibrahim Basha during his military campaign in Syria, in 1841 — and ?asiba Mosheh, Jewish ‘nightingale of the Damascene gardens’. Thurayya Qaddura from Jerusalem; Yusuf Taj, a folk singer from Mount-Lebanon; Farjallah Bai?a, cousin to the founders of Baidaphon Records… Musical directors like the lutist Qasim Abu Jamil al-Durzi and the violinist An?un al-Shawwa (followed by his son Sami); such virtuosi as the qanun-players Nakhleh Ilyas al-Ma?arji and Ya‘qub Ghazala, and lutist Salim ‘Awa?. Even at the time, notwithstanding such brilliance, public music-making was frowned upon as morally demeaning, especially for women. Musical venues were generally dodgy. ?ulban once cut short a wedding performance for the Beiruti posh, after just one song, he was so disgusted with his audience. ‘If I had to tell you about the catcalls,’ one commentator wrote about the musical theatre of the time, ‘the stomping of feet, the sound of sticks hitting the ground, the noise of the water-pipes, the teeth cracking watermelon seeds and pistachio nuts, the screams of the waiters, and the clinking of arak glasses on the tables, I would need to go on and on and on…’ Also includes tracks by A?mad al-Shaykh - Al-nafsu ba‘d al-‘la, Na‘im Sem‘an - ?nayyina, ?ikmat ?ajjar - Ya burdana, Bulus ?ulban - Kallili ya su?bu, Mu?ammad al-‘Ashiq - Baka al-zaman, I & II, Ilias Shahwan - Ma‘ahum la, khudhuni, Yusuf al-Na??al - Ana ?irmani na?iri,
Each record is protected within its record sleeve by a white vellum anti-dust sleeve.
All items are shipped brand-new and unopened in original packaging. Every record is shipped in original factory-applied shrink wrap and has never been touched by human hands.