‘Zamaan’, meaning time in Arabic and often referring to the past, is a growing project that revives, celebrates and builds on gems of Arabic and Middle-Eastern music. Featuring the oud and percussion, the project presents both sung and instrumental repertoire by Rihab Azar and Jamal Sakka.
Rihab comes from a long line of respected musicians, artists, and poets from the Syrian city of Homs.
Her father, luthier Samir Azar taught her on the first oud he made for her at the age of seven.
In 2014, Rihab graduated from the Higher Institute of Damascus and she performed as a soloist accompanied by the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music and, as a principle oud player, in the all-female Syrian Oriental Takht widely across the Middle East in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, the Sultanate of Oman, UAE, Bahrain and Russia. Upon her graduation, Rihab taught music theory at the Higher Institute of Damascus.
In 2015, she was awarded a prestigious Chevening scholarship by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to study an MA in Music Education at UCL.
Now based in London, and recognised by Arts Council England as an Exceptional Promise, Rihab has appeared with Sahana Pajpaie, Damon Albarn and contributed to the track of Requiem for Aleppo, which debuted in April 2017 at Sadler’s Wells. She also performed at the Courtyard Theatre, SOAS, the Nour Festival, Ismaili Centre and One Night in Za’atari organised by Oxfam.
Rihab’s musical involvement has extended beyond Arabic and Middle-Eastern music to other genres like Azeri, Indian, Western classical and pop music.
Jamal is one of the most well-known Syrian percussionists whose performance and teaching style reflect the essence of authentic Middle-Easter music.
He has worked with several high-profile artists and has been a core member in numerous prominent ensembles and orchestras touring around the Arab world and Europe.
Jamal has been an influential figure in the field of teaching, research and instrument making.
He taught at the Conservatoire of Damascus, gave workshops at universities in France and Finland, received appreciation certificates for his work at Yangon Institute in Germany, Instituto Cervantes in Spain, Konya Metropolitan Municipality in Turkey.
Jamal is the author of a three- volume-book: “The Correct in Rhythm” about traditional and rhythms in Arabic and Turkish music as well as other genres.
Supported by Amal – A Said Foundation Project