Palestinian Oud player and composer Nizar Rohana announces the release of his second album Furāt (Euphrates) worldwide on Friday 15 April, composed by Rohana and performed by his trio comprising himself on Oud, Matyas Szandai on double bass and Wassim Halal on percussion.
The album’s seven pieces continue along Rohana’s journey in exploring new possibilities for the Oud instrument, where its idiomatic character is advanced through new compositions, fresh structures, melodies and expressions, combined with the trio’s outstanding musicianship to create a vigorous contemporary sound.
The album opens with “Madār Hijāz (An Orbit in Hijāz)”, where Rohana’s Oud is heard taking the melody into orbits as it explores every nook and cranny in the maqam with spirited agility, accentuated by the contrapuntal interplay with Szandai’s jazz-influenced bass and Halal’s colorful accompaniment on percussions.
As well as pursuing flow as a predominant quality in composition, interpretation and arrangement throughout the album, Rohana’s work here delves into the textural elements of counterpoint, most apparent in the “Mayādīn” track, which contains a dynamic dialogue between the Oud and the double bass.
Throughout the album, the double bass and the Oud are heard in this dialogue, complementing each other to peacefully advance melodies in pursuit of the flowing quality, based on which the album was titled after the Euphrates river (Furāt in Arabic).
The civilizations and peoples that have lived along the river’s course provide the themes for the song titles, from the Syrian city of Mayādīn to the ancient ruins of Al-Dālya, between the willow trees along its banks and through the Jūrjīnā rhythm cherished in Iraq.
All tracks in the album were composed and arranged by Rohana, except for “Samā‘ī Muḥayyar” composed by Tanburi Cemil Bey. Bishara Khell provided invaluable artistic supervision throughout the development of the work, which was recorded in August 2015 at Music Unit Studios in Paris. The album was recorded and mixed by Cyril Harrison, and mastered by Harris Newman (Grey Market Mastering).
Furāt (Euphrates) will be released worldwide on Friday 15 April via Loplop Records, on CD, streaming and digital download. This production was made possible with the support of the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC).
For more information contact Sarah El Miniawy – firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
- Madār Hijāz (An Orbit in Hijāz)
- Furāt (Euphrates)
- Samā‘ī Muḥayyar
- Ṣafṣāf Abyaḍ (White Willow)
- Jūrjīnā Bayātī
Nizar Rohana is a Palestinian Oud player currently based in the Netherlands distinguished for combining virtuosity within fresh contemporary compositions, while maintaining the Oud’s idiomatic language.
He was born in the village of ‘Isifya on Mount Carmel near Haifa city in 1975 to a father who played oud in communal celebrations and a mother who accompanied him on percussions. From a young age, Rohana played music, picking up the Oud when he was 13.
Following extensive studies and teaching in musicology, Oud performance and composition, Rohana immersed himself in developing contemporary oud compositions, taking inspiration from the practise of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Brahms all the way to Tanburi Cemil Bey, Kemani Tatyus Efendi, Muhammad Al-Qasabji and Muhammad Abdel Wahab.
As a performer, Rohana’s wide stage experience as a soloist and within groups encompasses playing traditional, modern, experimental and world music. During the last fifteen years he performed in countries such as Japan, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey and in the USA and Europe, releasing his first album Sard (Narration) in May 2008.
In 2001 he was awarded a Bachelor of Music and Arts (specialisms in Oud performance and musicology) from the Arabic Music Department of the Jerusalem Academy for Music and Dance and the Musicology Department of the Hebrew University. For some time he then focused his work on the music of the great Egyptian composer Muhammad Al-Qasabji, completing his Master’s degree in 2006.
Between 2000 and 2007 Rohana worked as one of the main Oud teachers at the Edward Said National Conservatory in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem. Since September 2013, he has been based in the Netherlands pursuing his PhD in improvisation and composition in solo Oud performance at Leiden University Academy for Creative and Performing Arts, as part of the doctoral programme designed for musician-researchers, docARTES.