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Tonight’s performance presents one of Iraq’s leading Maqam singers, Farida Mohammad Ali. Her voice extends over two octaves from a rich contralto to a keening soprano that she enriches with the microtonal inflections and ornamentation that are a major part of the Maqam singer’s art.
The two-hour programme includes a variety of Iraqi Maqam and the most beautiful songs by famous Iraqi female singers of the 1940s and 1950s, such as: Sadiqah Al-Malaya, Salima Murad and Zohoor Hussain. In addition, a collection of songs from the legacy of Nazem Al-Ghazali, which are known to all audiences throughout the Arab world, will be performed. Also included are melodies and traditional songs of Basra. The songs will be interspersed with a collection of well-loved Maqam by the great Arab poets, Al-Mutanabbi, Baha’ al-din Zuhair and Elia Abu Madi, as well as Iraqi poets such as Jabbori Al-Najjar and Abd Al-Karim Al-Allaf. The programme’s modern musical section is by composer Muḥammad Ḥusayn Kumar, accompanied by traditional Iraqi instruments. The season is held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, the Emirates Red Crescent President’s Assistant for Women’s Affairs.