Sami Yusuf – Hamziyya (Live at the Fes Festival)

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‘Hamziyya’ is a multi-layered piece that brings together music inspired by an Algerian mystical chant with a melody suggestive of the English folk tradition. In the interweaving of these musical expressions the listener can hear how traditional music is always in harmony, never dissonant. ‘Hamziyya’ was initially released on Sami Yusuf’s album Barakah, but this is a completely new arrangement with a never-before-heard Taqsīm composition in the Intro.
The Intro was performed for the first time at the 2019 Fes Festival of Sacred Music. In it each solo instrument explores a unique maqam or musical mode: Sīkah (qanun), Bayāti (bağlama), Rāst (ney), Hījāz (oud), and eventually returning to Rāst. Each of these modes is known to have a distinct emotional effect on the listener. Here the transitions from one mode to another are arranged to evoke various stages of an inner journey.
The lyrics come from portions of the thousand-verse Hamziyya (poem rhyming in hamza) by the renowned Palestinian scholar Yusuf Nabhani (d. 1932). Because it describes the Prophet’s life and character, it’s frequently recited during Mawlid celebrations of the Prophet’s (pbuh) birthday.


Music Composed and Arranged by Sami Yusuf
(Refrain based on a mystical Algerian chant)
Words by Yusuf Nabhani

English translation by T J Winter
Additional translation by Yousef Casewit and Saad Ansari

FOH & Recording Engineer: Sachin Savio
Monitor Engineer: Diego Biagioni

Mixed & Mastered by Vishnu Rajan @ Andante Studios
Video Editing & Postproduction by Omar Al-Balushi @ Andante Studios

PERFORMERS (From right to left):

Seyyed Mohammad Jaberi: daf, bendir & vocals
Ömer Avci: bendir, tef, kudum & vocals
Onur Cicin: qanun
Sezgin Yaman: oud
Emre Kayacan: kemanche
Hasan Kirkisoglu: ney
Mahyar Toreihi: santoor
Hüseyin Can Pala: bağlama


Sami Yusuf

Special thanks to Ismail Boujia & his group for joining as guest vocalists (From right to left):

Mostafa El Lachkar
Ismail Boujia
Elouafi Mohammed
Hamza Idrissi
Mohammed El Alami
Abderrazak Idrissi


Sami Yusuf’s latest album ‘Live at the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music’ was born of his desire to translate for a global audience the rich musical language of cultures stretching from Andalusia, North Africa, and Arabia to Turkey and beyond. His desire is realised here: the music is refined, and whether meditative or ecstatic, it is all connected by remarkable emotional depth of expression. In its melodic Arabic love songs, its rhythmic chants of North African Sufi lodges, its trance-like Turkish ilahis of the whirling dervishes – this is the visionary work of a composer and performer at the top of his game. Directing an international ensemble of master instrumentalists on traditional acoustic instruments – Bağlama, santur, qanun, kemanche, ney and more – and joined by a renowned Moroccan vocal group, in this 16-track album Sami Yusuf delivers all the magic of the live performance that held his Fes audience spellbound.

2019 was Sami’s second time headlining this prestigious festival, the first time was 2009, joining the ranks of earlier headliners such as Ravi Shankar, Paco de Lucia, Youssou N’Dour, Joan Baez, Björk and Ben Harper.

Published by Andante Records & Administered by Fairwood Music (UK) Ltd for the World

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