Ilham Al Madfai

1 489 Fans

Ilham Al Madfai

Iraq

Ilham Al Madfai's fans

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Ilham Al Madfai's bio

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The Beatles of Baghdad

Ilham al-Madfai is a guitarist, composer and Iraqi singer. His songs are popular both in the Middle East and the West for its singular style, a real mix of various Western styles (flamenco, rock) and traditional Iraqi music. He modernized Iraqi music, taking up with great intensity Arab poets Nizar Qabbani, Ilya Abu Madhi or Abdul Qassim al-Shabi.


Son of a small Iraqi officer of the 40s, he started playing at 12 years as a guitarist. He formed his first group "Twisters" in 1961, the first in Iraq to incorporate modern instruments (guitar, piano, bass) in Arabic music. The emergence of modern instruments has not been well received both by the media that the conservative society of Baghdad, considering it as a country's arts blasphemy of the maqam. He was therefore nicknamed "the Beatles of Baghdad" to imitate so delusional as Lennon and McCartney.


The al-Madfai family itself decried the musical vocation of Ilham. Instead of taking seriously studying architecture in London, he prefers to spend time at the Baghdad Cafe, a trendy hippie club, where he played and performed with Al Bayt Al Baghdadi and finds Paul McCartney, Donovan and Georgie Fame.


After the Six Day War, he returned to Iraq in 1967 and founded the group 13 ½ to become one of the most famous of the country. It includes pieces of local folklore to the beat of the flamenco guitar and rumba catalane. With the advent of Saddam Hussein in power in 1979, he left his native Iraq again, travels, first in Britain and Jordan. He did several works, occurs in a few scenes here and there, and returned to Baghdad in 1991, when the Gulf War. He brings out his musical career by forming a third group, Ferqet Ilham, then left his country again, 4 years later.

He then settled in Amman, Jordan, but continues to sing for his beloved homeland.
He also dedicates a disc, Baghdad, which was named best sale of the Arab world in 2003. It draws for this album of his favorite poets, including Badr Shakir al-Sayyab, arranging a "provisional national hymn" Mawtini. He sings a parable of the still current pomegranate evokes the invading Ottoman past, and lemon suggesting the British Empire who has freed Iraq in the early twentieth century.

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