Le site des musiciens voyageurs
Jean-Luc Thomas & Gaby Kerdoncuff

Fawaz Baker


Fawaz Baker – oud, vocal
Samir Homsi – percussions, vocal

On tour

Fawaz baker / ensemble: The passing on of music from one musician to another and from one soul to another continues, echoing ancient melodies that used to be heard throughout the city, in churches and cafes; in the mosques and courtyards of stone-carved buildings. These tunes, in Arabic, Syriac, Armenian, Turkish and Kurdish, have been passed down from one generation to the next, their beauty serving as the sole weapon against falling into oblivion. Their one common denominator is, for Baker, their constant innovation within the constraints of traditional structure. Eastern music offers myriad possibilities in terms of rhythm, melody and improvisation. It is what is referred to as modal music: composed of musical phrases, not tones or notes like most compositions in the West since the eighteenth century. Eastern sound is based on improvisation and polyphony; a freedom that allows two melodies to evolve simultaneously within a complex architecture, letting each musician interpret and improvise. How, then, might a balance be struck between written and improvised music, between modal and tonal? The challenge is no small feat, but it does illustrate how music – and art in general – is capable of creating a dialogue between contradictory forces, one where ideology falls short.

A lifelong musician, Fawaz Baker was a professional architect before devoting himself exclusively to music. Designing space and time, embracing silence: it was a natural transition for him. From accompanying singers on the accordion as a child, to the keyboards and then double bass, he has explored various music spaces (hard rock, jazz, blues) and devoted years to studying musicology and the multiple influences of Aleppine music (Ottoman, Iranian, Armenian, Indian and Central Asian, including the Sufi tradition). The war ended up stripping this Oud player away from hometown and from everything he had built, though he has long sought to continue in solidarity with his people: he led the Aleppo Conservatory of Music for several years where, he said, “the greatest challenge was composing between the teaching of Western classical music and that of traditional Eastern music.” Beyond the joy and sadness, the music allows him to build new sentiments and create a new memory. As part of his commitment, Fawaz Baker spends much of his time in Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon passing on his passion for music to children, showing them how to re-learn silence, far from the noise of war. He is an associate artist at Quartz in Brest until 2020.

Samir Homsi is a highly-talented Syrian percussionist living in Paris. He studied Arabic music and the Oud and percussion instruments in his home country. He has taken part in numerous festivals in France, Belgium, Spain, Algeria and Morocco. Samir has played with the singer Sapho, Ibrahim Maalouf, the violinist Safwan Kenani, the Palestinian singer Moneim Adwan and the Alquds troupe.

From the Tabla to the Djembe by way of the Qanun, bendir, riq and bongo: what is striking about all the instruments he has mastered is how the great richness and diversity of his percussion enhances the groups he plays with.

Fawaz Baker est artiste associé au Quartz à Brest de 2017 à 2020.

See and Listen

Infos techniques

durée du set : 1h15
jauge : non limitée

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