Ibrahim Maalouf

Lebanon, France
Tue, 2. 10. 2012 - 19:30
Lebanon, France
Palác Akropolis

Great Lebanon trumpetist

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Diagnostic marks the third and final chapter in a musical triptych which trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf began in 2007 with Diasporas , his first album, and enriched with Diachronism some two years later.

Better than a continuation, this new record is an outcome, the result of much research into the interplay of harmonies, tonal dynamics and their acclimatization to rhythms, and the unsuspected connivances which exist between differing musical styles. You can recognize the major influence exerted by marching bands from the Balkans, the batucadas of Brazil, Latin jazz... or heavy metal.

Four years ago, however – on the fringe of a promising career – Ibrahim Maalouf was still asking himself questions about a professional choice which, to mere music-lovers like us, seemed totally outmoded.

"I've never really understood why I started playing trumpet," confided the musician, his voice still shy, on the release of his first, brilliant album Diasporas. Yet that first record – ten instrumental tracks swept by the breath of his instrument, with a timbre by turns velvet, abrasive, spiralling, exalted, poignant – left hardly any room for doubt, so concrete was its formulation of the desire people had seen in him during his numerous collaborations with such artists as Lhasa De Sela, Vincent Delerm, Jeanne Cherhal or Thomas Fersen...

Ibrahim's reputation has grown constantly since 2007. These last few years, he has been constantly solicited, both in studio and onstage, by the likes of Sting, Amadou & Mariam, Salif Keita, Mathieu Chedid, Vanessa Paradis and many others. In each of those experiences, Ibrahim managed to prove that his strong musical temperament in no way hindered his ability to adapt to the most varied contexts imaginable.

With his double album Diachronism released in 2009, he consolidated an aesthetic which is today his alone: as its title suggests, Diachronism had a tendency to create unity in the chaos of his multiple influences. It also aimed to secure for its author a certain equilibrium in the conflict between personal, territorial or family attachments. And today Diagnostic brings that work of reconstruction to fruition.

One can only completely understand the reach of such an approach by going back to the date of December 5th 1980, when Ibrahim Maalouf was born in Beirut, beneath the bombs. The Lebanon was then in the worst throes of war and the family, understandably, quickly left the country shortly after Ibrahim's birth, and settled in France.

His father, a self-taught musician, had taken trumpet-lessons with Maurice André in the Sixties, and one day he took it into his head to add a fourth valve to his horn in order to be able to reproduce all the nuances in the oriental mode; he had no idea that this minor revolution in the number of pistons would someday have such enormous musicological consequences for his son.

"I realized I could use the trumpet any way I wanted to," he said recently, "And I've tried to find something soft, something a little more feminine in this instrument." That femininity couldn't have found a more beautiful expression than in his composition Beautiful Things, a moving tribute to his mother he concludes with the highly-introvert Diagnostic, a trumpet/piano duet, both played by Ibrahim in a contemporary, almost-classical style.

With another tribute, this time paid to the land where he was born – an equally torn extension of his own family – Ibrahim picks up the particular memory of the moment in his life when he became aware of the trauma of a war only just over, a conflict whose wounds and scars were still visible.
To that emotional shock one can add the aesthetic trauma of having a Led Zeppelin song in his personal stereo, at that precise moment and for the first time in his life (he was twelve years old): hence the collusion between the painful atmosphere of the introduction and the consequent explosion.
Diagnostic is literally the inventory of both his personal life and a musical quest without equivalent today. Blowing with rare intensity and exceptional depth, his horn articulates the pain and tenderness of the past, while bearing witness to the vast ambitions of a creator who has become a master of his discourse.

The line-up:
Ibrahim Maalouf - trumpet
Laurent David - bass
Xavier Rogé - drums
Frank Woeste – Fender Rhodes
François Delporte - guitar
Youenn Le Cam – Breton bagpipes, flute, trumpet


Presale: standing 460 CZK, seating 510 CZK