Going back to songs and poems that recount unfulfilled love, elation and passion, blending vocal improvisations with muwashahat, Aleppo qudud and Andalusianmelodies, the dazzling Leila Gouchi immerses us in the heart of a bygone era that is still alive, from the old souks of Aleppo to the Alhambra gardens, from the public squares of Marrakesh to the lively stages of Beirut.
A Muwash comes literally from the word “embroider,” connecting one pearl to another in a necklace. This musical genre comes from the free-form poems that originated in mythical Andalusia, reaching across the Arab world up to the gates of Cairo and Aleppo, developing and evolving over the ages in the course of many encounters. It gave rise to the famous noubas in the Maghreb and to the sumptuous qududs in Syria, musical suites each with its particular structure.
This gentle, poetic and melodious singing, passed down entirely by oral means, requires great vocal skill and amounts fundamentally to the performer’s sensitivity and emotional capacity. Leila Gouchi is among the great artists who, with her ethereal and velvety voice, is able to convey the essence of these sublime songs, floating naturally among techniques, styles, continents and eras. Surrounded by outstanding musicians, she guides us along her journey, which begins with a malouf or gharnati melody, pauses to bring in an Andalusian tune and ends with one of the finest qududs from Aleppo, embellished with hints of jazz from the keyboard of the fabulous pianist Arden Arapyan.