Ahmad Al Khatib and Youssef Hbeisch created the duo Sabîl (Arabic for ‘path’) in 2011, a collaboration they consider a ‘life experience’, each project together punctuating their respective musical journeys. Their first eponymous album, released in 2012 to widespread acclaim, was a marvel of expressiveness and depth. Their next album, Jadayel, the result of a fruitful encounter with the French contemporary quartet Béla, was created during the summer of 2014. For their third album, Zabad, the duo’s musical creation draws new breath. The group might have fleshed out, but the music has become lighter. At the start of each new project, Ahmad, the composer, does his utmost to renew his music in relation to the previous project, to find a different state of mind, a different way of thinking, a different way of creating. Following on from the sophisticated Jadayel, Zabad therefore avoids polyphonic complexity and harmonic surprises in order to emphasise the heterophonic effect of the instruments, the sound and the improvisation. Zabad means ‘foam’. Lightness, perseverance, the foamy ebb and flow, all come together in the music.

Text by Alix du Mesnil / Translation by Rebecca Pilbeam / Photo akg-images - Imagno / Calligraphy by Hani Zurob

Youssef Hbeisch, percussions  
Ahmad Al Khatib, oud
Elie Khoury, buzuq
Hubert Dupont, double-bass

Label: La Clique Production & Harmonia Mundi

SABÎL (On the way) - 2012
Sabîl is the story of two artists on the way, but keeping memory of their roots. Rooted in the classical Arab inheritance and fed with sufi mystics, their creations explore new sounds, new colours, new rythms – taking oriental music to areas never reached before. Linked to the tragedies of the Arab world, the melancholy conveyed in their playing is part of the universal.Masters of oud and rhythm Ahmad Al Khatib and Youssef Hbeisch express through music a thirst for freedom which revives classicism. Inventiveness combined with refinement, inwardness mingled with energy, generate emotion among all listeners.

Cover by Mohame Métalsi / Design by Sansblanc