Saleh Al-Kuwaity’s musical legacy is revived as his centenary is celebrated
9 January 2009 - Susannah Tarbush
the London-based Iraqi oud master Ahmed Mukhtar, paid tribute to “the genius of Saleh Al-Kuwaity” who “created new styles of Iraqi maqam music and freed the maqam from its restrictions and mixed some of it with urban music.”
Also screened during the day was a studio discussion of Saleh Al-Kuwaity’s work originally broadcast by the US-sponsored satellite TV channel Al-Hurra. In the program a panel of three experts on Iraqi music, including the conductor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra Abdul Razzak Al-Azzawi, identified Saleh as the definitive Iraqi composer of the 1930s and 1940s.
Shlomo Al-Kuwaity notes that at the 8th conference of Baghdad University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, held in 2008, Ibrahim al-Jazrawi presented a paper entitled “Saleh Al-Kuwaity and his work in Iraqi music and poetry”. Al-Jazrawi proposed the establishment of a library to preserve all material related to Saleh.
The Al-Kuwaity family is preparing a book on Saleh and Daoud which includes fresh material from sources in countries including the Netherlands, England, Iraq and Kuwait. Like the double CD, the book is likely to become a treasured collector’s item among connoisseurs of Iraqi and Arabic music. – SG