Matar Muhammad – traditional arab music on buzuq

Matar Muhammad – traditional arab music on buzuq
Matar Muhammad was born in 1939 in the Bekaa plain (Lebanon) and died in 1995. He came from a family of Gypsies, wandering musicians from father to son. From the age of seven onwards, his father and elder brother initiated him into buzuq playing. He made his professional debut in the early sixties, through the BBC’s Arab programmes, but he really became famous through the performances of “Arduna ila al-abad” during the Festival of Baalbek. After that, his reputation extended throughout the Arab world and beyond. Heir to an oral tradition, his inbred gifts allowed him to practice a truly sophisticated art in an empirical manner. His course has been that of an outstanding soloist and an imaginative improviser who nevertheless remained faithful to the spirit and theoretical principles of Arab music.

The buzuq belongs to the large family of tanbûr, long-necked lutes, the existence of which has been traced back to Al-Farâbi – Al-kitaâ al-musîqi al-kabîr [The Great Book of Music] – who describes it as identical to the tanbûr al-baghdâdi. The pear-shaped sound-box measures approximately 40 cm long and the neck about 80 cm. The latter carries twenty six frets (adjustable ligatures). The two double metal strings are usually tuned to the octave and plucked with a horn or quill plectrum (rishah).




Matar Muhammad

This old vinyl disc is for me an absolute reference in music, whatever the style. Some of the atmosphere are really close to electronic ambient music.

This disc was bought by my father more than 25 years ago in Egypt. Some years ago, I decided to record it digitally and put it on CD format.I then converted it to good quality MP3 files for my personal use. I now decided to share this music here with you. Enjoy listening ! (2900 downloads)

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This article has 3 comments

  1. Thank you so much for posting this. One of the most under appreciated musicians the world has seen. It’s so great to have another quality sound recording of him available. Thanks!

  2. Thank you and your father for the music !


  3. Barakallah feek for posting this. What a jewel. The buzuq as played by this master occupies a place between the Indian sitar and the Arab oud, both of which it shares affinities with. Masterful.

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