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Lisa A. Urkevich

[Muḥammed ‘Abdu ‘Othmān Marzuq al-Dehel al-‘Asīrī]

(b Jizan, Saudi Arabia, 1949). Saudi singer, composer and ‘ūd (lute) player. His father was a well-known sailor who died when Muḥammed was two years old. Muḥammed began singing at the age of six, and at nine he received his first vocal training through the study of Qur'anic recitation, which, along with the call to prayer (adhān), he offered at school events. About the age of 13 he became involved with amateur traditional singers and learnt to play the ‘ūd. Because of his close proximity to Yemen, he encountered master musicians of the al-yamānī style. He gained a diploma in shipbuilding and was offered a scholarship to study in Japan, but declined the offer, preferring to become a professional musician. His first recognized composition was Hala yā bū sha'ar tha'ir (1965). He went on to record over 80 albums in a variety of styles, including popular Egyptian styles, but he has been most appreciated for his folkloric, traditional Saudi and Gulf pieces. He gained an international reputation and has often been called ‘...

Article

Michael Ethen

(Guy)

(b Kingston, ON, Nov 5, 1959). Canadian rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist, and photographer. The son of a diplomat, he spent his youth in England, Israel, Portugal, and Austria. After returning with his family to North America, he began performing and recording at the age of 15 with rock bands in British Columbia and Ontario. In 1978 he began what became a long and successful songwriting partnership with Jim Vallance, with whom he created most songs recorded under his name up to 1987, as well as songs recorded by Rod Stewart, Kiss, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Diamond, and the Canadian groups Prism, BTO, and Loverboy.

Adams’ albums characteristically alternate between down-tempo piano ballads and straight-ahead rock numbers. His third solo album, Cuts like a Knife (1983) launched him to the status of an international celebrity; its singles included the ballad “Straight from the Heart” and the anthem “Cuts like a Knife,” which both featured for weeks on magazine charts and music television. The next album, ...

Article

Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof

(b Muar, Johor, Malaysia, June 12, 1941). Malaysian singer and lute player. He became interested in music at an early age, as a result of watching bangsawan (Malay opera) performances; his father, a musician, was important in nurturing this interest. At the age of 18 he joined the Setia Ghazal Party in his home town (the principal centre of the syncretic vocal genre ghazal in Malaysia) as a singer and musician; he later joined the well-known Seri Maharani Ghazal, becoming famous as a gambus (short-necked lute) player (the lead instrument in ghazal ensembles) and featuring on Seri Maharani Ghazal's many recordings.

He has visited around 40 countries, often giving solo performances, but principally as a member of exchange troupes through the Malaysian Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism, which he joined in 1976. Shortly after joining this organization, he worked as a gambus teacher at Kompleks Budaya Negara (National Cultural Complex), where he continued until his retirement. He continues to work part-time at the Akademi Seni Kebangsaan (National Arts Academy). In addition to being a highly successful ...

Article

(b Toḥayta, Tihama, South Arabia, c1892; d Ṣan‘ā, 1965). Yemeni singer and lutenist. He began singing while in Zabid, accompanying himself on a copper plate. He studied the qanbūs (lute) with Muḥammad Sha'bān and Muḥammad al-‘Attāb, both of whom he met in Ethiopia where they had taken refuge from the puritanism of Imām Yaḥyā. Al-‘Antarī’s life story is surrounded by legends, and it is also said that he met al-‘Attāb in Ṣan‘a and became his servant. Listening to al-‘Attāb, al-‘Antarī practised singing secretly until his master overheard him, recognized his talent and ordered him to sing to his guests. At the end of the 1930s al-‘Antarī recorded 25 songs for the Odeon company in Aden, and his subsequent career included numerous radio broadcasts and performances at weddings. He had an exceptional voice and was an accomplished lute player; he excelled in both the classical repertory of Ṣan‘ā (...

Article

Abdel-Hamid Hamam

(b Jan 17, 1929). Jordanian traditional composer, singer and buzuq player of Palestinian Gypsy origin. At an early age he joined a group of Gypsy musicians as a singer and player of the ‘ūd (short-necked lute) and the buzuq (long-necked lute), and performed at weddings and other celebrations in Jerusalem and the neighbouring villages. He began to learn religious chants and Qur’anic recitation at the age of nine. In 1949 he joined the choir of the broadcasting service in Ramallah, and in 1959 he joined the music section of the newly established radio station in Amman. In 1963 he was appointed leader of the radio station’s music ensemble; he held this position for several years, during which he performed many of his songs and also had the opportunity to join a group of researchers making a field survey of folk heritage including Jordanian folk singing and music in an area covering both banks of the river Jordan. As a ...

Article

Saadalla Agha Al-Kalaa

(b al-Qrayya, Syria, Oct 18, 1915; d Beirut, Dec 26, 1974). Syrian singer, composer, ‘ūd player and film actor and producer. In 1924 political circumstances forced his family to move to Egypt. His mother, the noted singer ‘Aliyya al-Munther, taught him singing in the Syrian style. He studied the ‘ūd (lute) at the Cairo Institute for Arab Music. His professional work began as an ‘ūd player and singer at the national radio station and in Badī ‘a Maṣabnī's variety show saloon.

In 1941, through his sister Asmahān , he entered the cinema industry, and for the rest of his life was involved in films as a composer, singer actor, and producer. His singing of Syrian mawwāl (popular songs), tangos and rumbas achieved great popularity, and his work laid the foundations for Arab variety show films, cinematic operetta, orchestral musical overtures and comic and sad songs. His 31 films are mostly autobiographical and provide valuable insight into the role of the musician in society....

Article

Alma Kunanbayeva

(b Maty-Bulak, Semirechye [now Krasnogorsk], 1884; d Almata, 1976). Kazakh traditional composer, singer, narrator and dömbra player. He was born to the family of a poor herder and lost his mother when he was seven years old. His family was musically talented and Azerbayev gained the nickname Bala-aqyn (‘Child-singer’) early in his life. At the age of ten or 11 he wrote the songs Ri qoyïm (‘Shoo, my Sheep’, a shepherds' cry) and Boz torgai (‘Sparrow’), which revealed his outstanding talent and became widely popular. Kazakh and Kyrgyz musicians often met in the region of Semirechye, and Azerbayev became famous as a performer of Kyrgyz songs and the Manas epic as well as the Kazakh traditional repertory; his songs also became popular in Kyrgyzstan. More than 200 of his works were recorded by the folklorists B. Erzakovich and A. Serikbayeva. Azerbayev's songs are stylistically linked with aqyn genres of recitation in their melodic construction, which follow the rhythm and meaning of the verse. He composed many songs in response to important events in Kazakhstan; songs such as ...

Article

Rainer E. Lotz

[William ]

(b USA, c1890; d ? USA, after 1933). American alto and tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, and singer. His first known engagements were in China (1920) and Australia. After moving to England in 1925 he played in Bert Ralton’s Savoy Havana Band and recorded with Bert Firman (...

Article

Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Tokyo, Feb 13, 1936). Japanese alto saxophonist and singer. He had violin lessons when he was ten, then changed to clarinet, and had taken up alto saxophone by the age of 17, at which time he began playing professionally at clubs on US military bases; when he was 20 he began to sing. From 1959 he led a succession of bands: Takashi Furuya and the Freshmen, the Concord, the Neo Sax Band, the Neighborhood Big Band, and Reunion. He also performed with the Blue Echoes, the Arrow Jazz Orchestra, Gil Evans’s Japanese orchestra, Fumio Karashima, and Makoto Ozone, recorded with the sextet led by the double bass player Naosuke Miyamoto (1973), and joined tours of Japan made by Phil Woods’s quartet, Mal Waldron, and Dizzy Gillespie. Furuya teaches at the NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) Cultural Center and his own vocal school. In concert in Osaka in ...

Article

Wendy F. Hsu

(b Taipei, Taiwan, Dec 15, 1973). Rock musician and songwriter of Taiwanese birth. Hsu moved to Houston, Texas, with his family in 1989. His brother, Kevin Hsu, was a pop star in Taiwan who signed to Golden Point/BMG. Self-taught in guitar, keyboards, voice, and drums, Hsu formed in 2001 the alternative rock band Johnny Hi-Fi, which has toured extensively in the United States and Asia. As a songwriter Hsu writes songs in both English and Mandarin Chinese. He has collaborated with Taiwanese recording artists and producers and has had success overseas. His song titled “Don’t Go,” performed by Richie Ren, reached the top 10 pop music chart in Taiwan. Hsu also has toured with Taiwanese rock musician Chang Chen-Yue on his US tour in 2004.

In 2004 Hsu began organizing the Asian Rock Fest in recognition of Asian American Heritage Month in May. An annual festival series, Asian Rock Fest has brought together Asian American artists and showcased rock music talent including Eyes Like Knives, Kite Operations, Carol Bui, Burning Tree Project, Festizio, Vudoo Soul, Jack Tung, and Johnny Hi-Fi. The first Asian Rock Fest took place at The Pianos in New York. The festival continued to feature Asian American musicians after Hsu’s relocation to the west coast in ...

Article

Martin Clayton

[Khān, Ghulām Razā]

(fl mid-19th century). Indian sitār player and singer. He was a musician of the ḍhāṛī class, a hereditary professional musician. His father Natthu Khan alias Ghulam Ali Khan was a musician employed by Nawab Ahmad Ali Khan of Rampur (reigned 1822–40). Ghulam Raza Khan established himself as a leading musician in the court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Lucknow (reigned 1847–56), but was banished from court in 1850. He ultimately settled in Patna with his son Ali Raza, also a renowned sitār player.

He gives his name to a type of instrumental composition, the razākhānī gat, and more generally to a style of playing, the razākhānī or Purab (eastern) bāj (see also Khan, Masit). Modern razākhānī gats are normally set in the 16-beat Tīntāl, played at medium-fast or fast tempo and based on stereotypical patterns of strokes (bols) (...

Article

(b 1922, al-Hawta, British Protectorate of South Arabia [now Yemen]; d 1967). Arab singer and ‘ūd player. His life was closely linked to that of his patron, Prince Aḥmad Faḍl al-‘Abdalī, known as ‘the Commandant’ (al-Komandān). Before the Komandān, the music of the Lahij region near Aden was confined to popular songs and instruments (the double clarinet, the lyre and percussion). In the 1930s, young artists influenced by Egyptian song discovered the ‘ūd (short-necked lute). As an alternative to the other urban musical genres of the Yemen, which derived from Sana’a and Hadramawt, the Komandān invented a new style known as laḥjī by adapting his poetry to traditional melodies; he later composed new melodies and provided patronage for young composers. The laḥjī style was the first ‘urban’ musical genre of the Yemen in the contemporary sense, making its mark throughout the Yemen together with the polyrhythmic ...

Article

Mark Gilbert

(b Baku, USSR [now Azerbaijan], Dec 19, 1969). Azerbaijani pianist and singer, daughter of Vagif Mustafa-Zade. In the 1960s and 1970s both her father and her mother, the singer Eliza Khanom, strove for a synthesis of jazz and mugam, the improvised modal music of Azerbaijan. After studying classical piano at the conservatory in Baku, she moved to Germany in 1991 and began to record as a leader; among her sidemen have been Chick Corea, John Patitucci, Dave Weckl, Al Di Meola, Stanley Clarke, Omar Hakim, Bill Evans (iii), Toot Thielemans, and Philip Catherine. Her performances typically involve a dramatic blend of jazz, mugam, and avant-garde and classical music.

(all recorded for Columbia)

CarrJ “Aziza Mustafa Zadeh,” JP, 40/6 (1991), 3 W. Minor: “Aziza Mustafa Zadeh: an Unzipped Soul,” JF...

Article

Megan E. Hill

(b Osaka, Japan, 1957). Jazz and blues pianist, singer, and composer of Japanese birth. She took piano lessons briefly as a child and was exposed to the blues while growing up in Osaka in the 1960s and 1970s. As a high school student, she formed the Yoko Blues Band with classmates. The band earned some success, winning first prize and a recording contract in a television-sponsored contest. In 1984 she moved to the United States to pursue a jazz and blues career in Chicago. Initially a singer, she studied piano with boogie, blues, and jazz pianist Erwin Helfer. In the early 1990s Noge established the Jazz Me Blues Band, which has played regularly in Chicago since its formation. In addition to Noge on piano and vocals, the ensemble has included Noge’s husband, Clark Dean, on soprano saxophone, saxophonist Jimmy Ellis, trombonist Bill McFarland, and bassist Tatsu Aoki. In addition to playing more conventional jazz and blues, Noge has made a name for herself through the unique compositions she has written for the group, which meld Japanese folk music styles with Chicago blues. Active in the broader Asian American community, she cofounded the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival in ...

Article

Motti Regev

(b Kiriat Haim, Dec 25, 1950). Israeli singer, composer, guitarist and bouzouki player. During the 1970s he played in various rock bands which performed mainly at weddings. One of these bands became known as Benzeen in the early 1980s, when Poliker established what was to become a fruitful and long-lasting creative partnership with the lyricist and critic Yaakov Gilad. Benzeen became highly successful with its hard rock sound, but disbanded in 1984 after the release of its second album. In 1985 Poliker made two albums of rock-oriented interpretations of Greek songs, with Hebrew lyrics by Gilad; these recordings widened Poliker’s popularity beyond the young audiences of rock and marked his shift towards a sound based on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern elements. In 1988 he recorded Ashes and Dust, in which he and Gilad explored their experiences of growing up in Israel in the 1960s as sons of survivors of the Holocaust, and this album is widely considered Poliker’s masterpiece. His later albums, two of which are purely instrumental, include virtuoso performances on guitar and ...

Article

Val Wilmer

[Theresa; Naa-koshie]

(b Bodmin, England, Nov 8, 1940). English singer, pianist, and percussionist, daughter of Cab Kaye. She began singing professionally in 1962 with the Latin jazz band led by the Filipino pianist and vibraphonist Ido Martin, then sang with the pianists Colin Purbrook, Leon Cohen, and Brian Lemon (with John Stevens on drums). Following a nightclub residency with the Guyanese singer and percussionist Frank Holder she joined a Trinidadian band, the Merrymakers, in Germany. She continued to alternate nightclub work with jazz, playing congas and singing. In Berlin she worked with Carmell Jones, Dave Pike, and Leo Wright. Quaye traveled to Ghana, and in Paris she played with the Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango. At this point she reclaimed her Ga name Naa-koshie, which she used professionally for some years. In New York in the early 1970s she played congas for Syvilla Forte’s dance troupe, sang with Harold Mabern, Jiunie Booth, Richard Davis, and Art “Shaki” Lewis, took part in jam sessions with Billy Higgins and others, and recorded on congas with Archie Shepp (...

Article

Guillermo I. Olliver and Rainer E. Lotz

[Mike; Muhiddin, Ahmed]

(b Constantinople [now Istanbul], Sept 24, 1905). Argentine bandleader, banjoist, guitarist, and singer of Turkish birth. While attending the University of Michigan he played banjo under the name Ahmed Muhiddin in student bands (1924–31) and in an orchestra led by Jean Goldkette (1927). He worked as a newspaper correspondent in Uruguay and at the same time played in and around Montevideo in a trio led by the pianist Luis Rolero, with which he later moved to Buenos Aires; after this group disbanded in 1934 he joined the Dixie Pals, led by the violinist Paul Wyer, with which he recorded several tracks for Victor, including a version of his own composition Africa (1934, 37642). From 1936 to the early 1940s he played with the pianist Rene Cospito and his Orquesta Argentina de Jazz, with the drummer Mario D’Alo’s Rhythm Kings, and in a group modeled after the Quintette du Hot Club de France that included Hernán Oliva (violin), Dave Washington (second guitar), and Louis Vola (double bass). In the late 1930s, by which time he had taken the name Ahmed Ratip, he studied harmony with the bandleader Russ Goudy. Early in ...

Article

Alma Kunanbayeva

(b Zhideli [now Zhangaly], 1818; d 1889). Kazakh dömbra player, singer and composer of kyui. He belonged to the Bukeev horde. He was interested in music from his early childhood and his first teacher was Ozaq, a dömbra player of the tradition of western Kazakhstan. At the age of 18 Saghyrbayev became a professional musician; he travelled in Kazakhstan and met many celebrated musicians. One of his first kyui, Kishkentai, was written in response to the activities of the people's liberation movement in western Kazakhstan under the leadership of Isatai Taimanov and Makhambet Utemisov (1836–7). Saghyrbayev was imprisoned by the Tsarist government in 1857 because of his rebellious nature. After his escape he was sent to Orenburg prison again, but according to legend he was released after giving a remarkable performance on the dömbra. During this period he composed several kyui including Qayran sheshem (‘Oh, my Poor Mother’) and ...

Article

Michal Ben-Zur

[Kar’el]

(b Heidelberg, Nov 13, 1897; d Jerusalem, Jan 15, 1974). Israeli composer, conductor, singer and keyboard player of German birth. He studied the organ with Philipp Wofrum and composition with Richard Strauss. From 1920 to 1926 he held the position of conductor at the Hamburg Neues Stadt-Theater, and from 1931 to 1932 was baritone and stage director at the Deutsche Musikbühne. He emigrated to Palestine in 1933, where he was appointed programme director of the newly founded Palestine Broadcasting Service (PBS, later Kol Israel [‘The Voice of Israel’]), a position he held until his retirement in 1962; he founded the PBS Orchestra (later the Kol Israel Orchestra) in 1938.

Many of Salomon’s early works were destroyed. His music from 1933 is tonal with modal inflections, combining European traditions with folk influences to create a light, accessible style. The Sepharadic Suite (1961) incorporates Spanish melodies; popular material is also used in the Second Symphony ‘Leilot be’Cna’an (‘Nights of Canaan’, ...

Article

Alma Kunanbayeva

(b 1820; d 1887). Kazakh dömbra player, composer of kyui and singer. He was descended from khans and sultans of the Junior juz (horde). His father Shigai, a ruler of the Bukeyev horde, died when Shigayev was six years old, and Shigayev was brought up in the family of his cousin M. Bukeikhanov, a hereditary sultan who had had a European education. Shigaev later became the ruler of the Nogai taipa (clan). He travelled extensively, met many famous musicians, attended the coronation of Tsar Aleksandr II in St Petersburg in 1885 and became acquainted with Russian culture.

His creative life may be divided into three stages. During the 1840s and 50s he created melodic kyui such as Kyz Akjelen (‘Akjelen the Maid’), Kos alka (‘Double Necklace’), Jeldirme (‘Gallop of a Speedy Horse’), Kos shek (‘Two Strings’) and Kudasha (‘Sister-in-Law’). During the 1860s and 70s he varied the themes of his ...