Ahmad Al Khatib, La douleur et la douceur

Compositeur et âme du groupe, Ahmad Al Khatib maîtrise sur le bout des doigts sa culture musicale ancestrale. En continuateur déjà reconnu, il la tire vers de nouveaux développements. Dès l’âge de huit ans, il suivait l’enseignement exigeant du maître de oud palestinien Ahmad Abdel Qasem. Il accomplit brillamment un cursus de musicologie et violoncelle occidental classique. Après plusieurs années passées à enseigner au Conservatoire national de Musique Edward Saïd à Jérusalem-Est, il est forcé de quitter la Palestine, publie des ouvrages qui font maintenant référence d’enseignement du oud et de transcription musicale pour les compositeurs arabes. Depuis 2004, enseigne la théorie de la musique modale et de la composition, et la musique d’ensemble à l’université de Göteborg. En Suède, il joue avec des musiciens aimant se référer au folklore scandinave. Et si au Proche-Orient on déroule le tapis rouge pour le maître respecté, l’Occident l’invite dans les festivals de musique dites “du Monde” où il écoute avec intérêt les traditions de mondes multiples. Le créateur curieux de langages autres que celui de ses racines a ainsi eu tout loisir de faire son miel des sources d’inspiration les plus variées. Même si des racines douloureuses deviennent alors précieuses et revendiquées en proportion. Un pied dans le passé, un pied dans l’avenir : l’image convient aussi s’agissant d’Ahmad l’instrumentiste, interprète au jeu très pur et empreint de profondeur, qui explore avec constance tous les champs expressifs du oud et recherche sans répit les nuances les plus adéquates.


Ahmad Al Khatib: suffering and softness

The composer and soul of the group, Ahmad Al Khatib’s knowledge and understanding of the musical culture of his ancestors is impeccable. As their recognised successor, he develops that culture in new directions. From the age of eight, he was under the rigorous instruction of oud master Ahmad Abdel Qasem, going on to complete a university course in musicology and Western classical cello with flying colours. After several years teaching at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in East Jerusalem, he was forced to leave Palestine, thereafter publishing several works on oud instruction and on musical transcription for modern Arab composers which have become essential references.

Since 2004, he has taught the theory of modal music, composition and ensemble music at the University of Gothenburg. In Sweden, he enjoys playing alongside musicians interested in exploring Scandinavian folklore. Whilst across the Middle East the red carpet is rolled out for this respected master, in the West he is invited to “World Music” festivals where he listens with fascination to the many traditions from around the globe. An inquisitive inventor of languages who has gone beyond the language of his roots, he has had plenty of opportunity to feed his creative juices from all sorts of inspirations. Although he has equally come to cherish and lay claim to those painful roots. One foot in the past, one foot in the future: the image is also fitting for Ahmad the instrumentalist, a performer of great purity and depth, who is constantly exploring the oud’s entire range of expression and tirelessly seeking out its finest nuances. Ahmad Al Khatib has played with David Kuckhermann and ensembles and musicians as diverse as the Oriental Music Ensemble, Karloma, Salam(i), John Williams and the Double Duo. He has performed at all the major festivals in the Middle East and the Arab world (the Oud Days Festival in Amman, the Jerusalem Music Festival in Palestine, Tetouan International Lute Festival), as well as in Brazil, the United States (Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), Turkey, Estonia (Tartu International Early Music Festival), India, Finland and of course Sweden and France, including the Paris Jazz Festival, Les Suds in Arles, the “Notes d’Écume” in Leucate, the Arab World Institute in Paris, the Chaillol Festival, itinerant music festival Les Nuits d’Été, Aux Heures d’Été in Nantes, Les Musicales in Normandy and Lille La Nuit, to name but a few