Two leading Syrian artists have collaborated on a project that brings together the worlds of poetry and music.
Abed Azrié sings the poems of Adonis, who has been described as the greatest living poet in the Arab world.
Azrié was born in Aleppo, but moved to Paris at the age of 22 where he studied western classical music. He worked with his long time friend, the poet, to produce a new album.
Abed Azrié explained: “The 10 poems that I selected for the new recording and for which I composed the music over the past year represent, in my opinion, the new Arabic poem. Sometimes a poem contains 16 words or even fewer but this poem resembles a cloud that passes and transports us to strange and unknown places.”
The poet and essayist Ali Said Isber – simply known as Adonis – made his career largely in Lebanon and France. He was Professor of Arabic at the Sorbonne in Paris. Last year he won the Goethe Prize.
Adonis and Abed Azrié both left Syria and live in France – and both are familiar with western and eastern culture
“We also share a common vision of the past, of our common past, which forms a unity between our visions, so we agree on more than one aspect of our understanding of the world that surrounds us – the creative output of this world like the relationship between East and West and the relationship between our motherland, Syria, and western civilisation,” Adonis said.
Azrié added: “All my life I have tried to serve the Arabic language because it contains within it an ancient memory of the conscious and the unconscious, of air and matter, of the visible and the invisible just like poetry. But poetry is not a chatty art. With 50 or even 30 words in poetry you can say more than 20 books can.”
Adonis bases his thoughts on Neo-Sufism and the search for the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. “Music facilitates or opens the possibilities for direct connections, between the human body and the universal body,” Adonis said. “It builds bridges or links to form a unity between man and the universe.”
For Abed Azrié poetry is, in essence, music that has been transformed into words. In his interpretation of Adonis’s poems, the words go back to their origins and they become music once again.