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Zyriab's spirit
The musical soul of a legend
A passionate music and dance production that allows Flamenco and Arabic music to flow together. A performance about bridge-builders, from the 9th to the 20th century, from Baghdad to Cordoba, from the iconic figure Zyriab to the musical universe of Osama Abdulrasol.

Why is it that Zyriab is unknown to so many? He was perhaps the most successful homo universalis in world history. Born in Baghdad in the 9th Century, he later moved to Spain, where he settled at the Moorish court in Cordoba, to become the greatest innovator and trendsetter of that era. He designed new clothing, invented toothpaste, introduced deodorant, invented new hairstyles and opened beauty parlors. Zyriab made his mark on local cuisine: he launched recipes with unprecedented fruit and vegetable varieties, such as asparagus. In addition, he changed the table etiquette: since then, meals were served in three separate courses, starter, main course and dessert. In other words, in all areas of society, he introduced the refinement of the Middle East. To this day, his creative influence in Europe has been decisive in terms of food, fashion and etiquette.

But music was his greatest passion. He improved the Arab lute, which he had brought to Europe by adding extra strings. Ultimately, this instrument would evolve into the current Spanish flamenco guitar. In Cordoba he founded one of the first Music Schools of the West. There he composed songs, which in Spain would be listened to hundreds of years later, passionate melodies and dances from the Middle East. This music, integrated in Spanish folk music and influenced by the music of gypsies and jews, was an essential element in the origin of flamenco.

Zyriab's soul is omnipresent in this performance. Newly composed music goes hand in hand with references to traditional arabic music and flamenco. Zyriab's spirit is by no means a historical reconstruction of the 9th-century culture, but a contemporary interpretation of what this figure meant so long ago. Because even today the world needs bridge-builders. Where Zyriab formed a bridge between East and West so many centuries ago, the musicians of this project today connect and mix the arabic and spanish flamenco and aesthetics into a unique and titillating musical performance.

Osama Abdulrasol, Qanun & compositions
Emre 'El Turco', guitar & compositions
Helena Schoeters, vocals
La Liz, dance
François Taillefer, percussion
The Guitar Hero