Ilham Al Madfai
Ilham Al Madfai
He was the first to modernise traditional and folk Arabic songs, giving a new, wider appeal and freshness, and placing it squarely in the modern era. Although the Twisters created a new wave in Arabic music, the media criticised al Madfai heavily for being an eccentric and for modifying long-maintained musical traditions. His family enjoyed a high social profile, some of them in high governmental positions in the 1940s and 1950s; they were not against his musical style as such, but were against his involvement in music in general. A few years later, al Madfai left Baghdad for England, in order to study architecture.
The young student played with a group and performed at Al-Bayt Al-Baghdadi (Cafe Baghdad) in London; he attracted an audience that included Paul McCartney, Donovan, and Georgie Fame, as well as many jazz musicians. On his return to Baghdad in 1967 he formed his well-known band, 13 ½. This time he introduced Spanish guitar rhythms from Andalusia to Iraqi traditional songs, appealing to a newer, younger audience. He reached a peak in popularity in the 1970s, becoming Iraq’s most popular musician. In 1979 al Madfai left Iraq, leaving his wealth, popularity, and his music. He travelled to various countries in pursuit of a a new career, but his passion for music remained, and every now and then gave a concert somewhere in the world.
Recordings of these concerts made their way to Baghdad, to the delight of his fans, keeping them in touch with his newer work. Then in 1990 he returned to Baghdad and decided to restart his musical career. He formed Firqat Ilham (Ilham's Band), combining Western and East styles of music. Most of his releases are his own compositions, such as "Khuttar", "Chathab", "Maasaal", "Baghdad", and "Ana Blayak".
He has also set lyrics by famous Arab poets such as Nizar Qabbani, Bedr Shakir Al-Sayab, Ilyya Abu Maadhi, Abul Qasim Al-Shabi, and Abdel Wahab Al-Bayati. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
show me more