Anouar Brahem

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Anouar Brahem

Anouar Brahem (Arabic: أنور براهم أنور براهم; born on 20 October 1957) is a Tunisian oud player and composer. He is widely acclaimed as an innovator in his field.[1] Performing primarily for a jazz audience, he combines Arabic 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.[2]


Brahem was born and raised in the Halfaouine neighbourhood in the Medina of Tunis, Tunisia. He studied oud at Tunisia's National Conservatory of Music and after that with oud master Ali Sriti. 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 for four years, notably composing music 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..[2]

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 United States and Canada and then signed with ECM Records, with whom he has recorded a series of critically acclaimed albums.[1][3] These include Thimar, recorded with saxophonist John Surman and bassist Dave Holland.[4][5]

Along with oud virtuosos Rabih Abou-Khalil and Dhafer Youssef, Brahem has helped establish the oud as an important instrument of Ethno jazz. Most often he plays in an ensemble of three or four further 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.[6] He has also performed live concerts with these same ensembles.

Anouar released Blue Maqams in 2017 with a band that included Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland and Django Bates.[7]

Selected discography[edit]

As leader[edit]

Year Album Peak positions Notes


1991 Barzakh with Lassad Hosni and Bechir Selmi
1992 Conte de l'incroyable amour with Barbaros Erköse
1995 Khomsa with Richard Galliano, Bechir Selmi and François Couturier
1998 Thimar with John Surman and Dave Holland
2000 Astrakan Café
(as Anouar Brahem Trio)
with Barbaros Erköse and Lassad Hosni
2002 Le Pas du chat noir 86 with François Couturier and Jean-Louis Matinier
2006 Le Voyage de Sahar 89 89 with François Couturier and Jean-Louis Matinier
2009 The Astounding Eyes of Rita 81 89 84 with Klaus Gesing, Björn Meyer and Khaled Yassine
2014 Souvenance 43 75 64 82 with Francois Couturier, Klaus Gesing and Björn Meyer
2017 Blue Maqams 40 62 51
23 with Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland and Django Bates




  1. ^ a b Jurek, Thom. "Astrakan Café: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  2. ^ a b Harris, Craig. "Anouar Brahem: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  3. ^ Fordham, John (31 December 2009). "Anouar Brahem: The Astounding Eyes of Rita". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  4. ^ Fordham, John (2 January 1999). "Rhapsody in any colour you like". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  5. ^ McKinney, Raymond. "Thimar: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  6. ^ "Biography ANOUAR BRAHEM" (PDF).
  7. ^ Honigmann, David (13 October 2017). "Anouar Brahem: Blue Maqams — 'freedom and fun'". Financial Times.
  8. ^ "Anouar Brahim discography". Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 February 2015.

External links[edit]