Anouar Brahem (in Arabic أنور ابراهم) (born on October 20, 1957) is a Tunisian oud player and composer. He is widely acclaimed as an innovator in his field. Performing primarily for a jazz audience, he fuses Arab classical music, folk music and jazz and has been recording since at least 1991, after becoming prominent in his own country in the late 1980s.
Brahem was born in Halfaouine in the Medina of Tunis, Tunisia. He studied oud at Tunisia's National Conservatory of Music. In 1981, he left for Paris in search of new vistas. This enabled him to meet musicians from a variety of genres. He remained there as a composer for four years, notably for Tunisian cinema and theatre. He collaborated with Maurice Béjart for his ballet Thalassa Mare Nostrum and with Gabriel Yared as lutist for Costa Gavras’ film Hanna K..
After a period back in Tunisia in the late 1980s, when Brahem was appointed director of the Ensemble musical de la ville de Tunis, he toured in the USA and Canada and then signed with ECM Records with whom he has recorded a series of critically acclaimed albums. These include "Thimar", recorded with saxophonist John Surman and bassist Dave Holland
In playing style, Anouar Brahem is often compared to Rabih Abou-Khalil, though his compositions tend to be more mellow and spare. Most often he utilizes an ensemble of three or four musicians. He has collaborated throughout his career and on several albums with other musicians: Tunisian percussionist Lassad Hosni and violinist Bechir Selmi and Turkish clarinetist Barbaros Erköse. He has also performed live concerts with these same ensembles.
- 1991 - Barzakh (ECM 1432) with Lassad Hosni and Bechir Selmi.
- 1992 - Conte de l'Incroyable Amour (ECM 1457) with Barbaros Erköse.
- 1994 - The Silences Of The Palace (CAROL 1792) with Sonia Laraissi.
- 1995 - Khomsa (ECM 1561) with Richard Galliano and Bechir Selmi and Francois Couturier.
- 1998 - Thimar (ECM 1641) with John Surman and Dave Holland.
- 2000 - Astrakan Café (ECM 1718) with Barbaros Erköse and Lassad Hosni.
- 2002 - Le Pas du Chat Noir (ECM 1792) with Francois Couturier and Jean-Louis Matinier.
- 2006 - Le Voyage de Sahar (ECM 1915) with Francois Couturier and Jean-Louis Matinier.
- 2009 - The Astounding Eyes of Rita (ECM 2075) with Klaus Gesing, Björn Meyer and Khaled Yassine.
- 2014 - Souvenance (ECM) with Francois Couturier, Klaus Gesing and Björn Meyer and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra conducted by Risto Joost.
- 2003 - Vague (ECM 1881) (Selection).
- 1994 - Madar (ECM 1515) with Jan Garbarek and Ustad Shaukat Hussain.
- 2002 - Charmediterranéen (ECM 1828) with Orchestre National de Jazz and Gianluigi Trovesi.
- Jurek, Thom. "Astrakan Café: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-11.
- Harris, Craig. "Anouar Brahem: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-11.
- Fordham, John (2009-12-31). "Anouar Brahem: The Astounding Eyes of Rita". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-12-11.
- Fordham, John (1999-01-02). "Rhapsody in any colour you like". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-12-11.
- McKinney, Raymond. "Thimar: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-11.