Saturday, 4 January 2014

Protecting America's Borders at the expense of art: Valuable neys destroyed by TSA

A renown Ney (similar to a pan flute with the exception it is a single reed flute) player Boujemaa Razgui had his 11 neys destroyed along with 2 kawalas by TSA and US Customs Officials on arrival at JFK Airport in New York. Razgui has performed around the world with his valuable neys for 30+ years as part of the Al Andalus Ensemble. He was returning to the US from Morocco via Spain. Both countries are home to Andalusian classic music where his ensemble get its name. The ney is used heavily in Turkish music but also features in Arabic, Persian and Central Asian music. It is a noticeable instrument in the maqam one of a variety of Arabic musical genres. Again the maqam is played across Middle East and Central Asia. The Iraqi maqam is considered to be the longest surviving regional maqam with its own unique music system. The ney is often handcrafted with special required reeds for its unique sound. Each ney represents literally pieces of love and patience for first learners who must gradually grow with the instrument its various tones and buttons the same is true for the violin or the drums. Its repertoire for beautiful melodies has been well recognized for centuries. It is one of the oldest wind instruments still in use that has crisscrossed borders around the world. For instruments like the ney, drums or maqam that serve as inanimate cultural ambassadors or diplomats its shameful and terrible when they are destroyed or repressed for fear of upsetting the security state and its agents. For every musician, his or her instrument is a part of them and the peoples and places they represent. Of all the things on Earth, music has bypassed numerous restrictions throughout the centuries and security forces to be recognize as a global language in its own right.

Tarik and Julia Banzi-Nabil from Al Andalus Ensemble Featuring the ney

Khaled Jubran - Ya meet masa يا ميت مسا - يا حنيّنة

Palestinian Musician revamps a traditional song Ya meet masa with the ney, drums and a harmonious orchestra to create a unique instrumental riff that stays with the listener long after the song has ended. Enjoy

مقام بيات - يوسف عمر Maqam Bayt Yusuf Omar

Iraqi maqam virtuoso Yusuf Omar and his ensemble plays a form of maqam known as maqam bayat a more mournful version that can be either sung or played by instruments. Generally playing the maqam requires an ensemble and many instruments in the same manner as the Al Andalus Ensemble. The Baghdad Conversatory of Music has gone to great lengths to preserve the Iraqi maqam from being destroyed by the continual destruction of cultural life within Iraq as insecurity still presist and divisions are not being mended or diffused by the central government. The Iraqi maqam is said to be the only remain 400 year old classical music in Mesopotamia region that is still played today


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