Ghada Shbeir - Passion : Chants Syriaques (Cd Jade Music)
As a teacher of ethnomusicology at the University of the Holy Spirit in Kaslik, Lebanon, the Lebanese born singer is well rooted in the traditions of Arab, Byzantine and Syriac music. She's also the author of books and articles on Arab/Andalucian, and Egyptian music.
With her first album, 'Al-Muwashahat' ('Melodies') she breathed life into 10th century music which formed the basis of what became Arabic music. Without knowledge of these roots, what came after loses its ability to be a cohesive and enriching part of modern day Arab culture.
While her first album won BBC 3's World Music Awards, the new one strips things back even further, leaving just her voice to sing, unaccompanied, the melodies of Syriac hymns from the Maronite book 'Al Hash.' It's very moving thing to listen to; very personal and yet expressive of a greater tradition of bringing people together though an individual's expression of love. HM