Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

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4. Contemporary music.

Singers such as Tawfīq al-Nimrī used to broadcast on the radio from Jerusalem, since ‘The Voice of Jerusalem’ (established in 1936 under British Mandate) was the only broadcasting service available until 1959, when the Amman radio station began to operate. A group of traditional musicians formed the first ensemble of the radio station; only some could read Western notation. Others joined the ensemble later, such as Elias Faza‘, student of the noted Palestinian church musician Augustin Lama. The radio and (later) television popularized folk-related songs that flourished and gained success in Jordan and neighbouring Arab countries. Some songs were also produced for national occasions, to glorify Jordan or to praise the king. Traditional art music did not become popular to the same extent, although some Jordanian musicians such as Rawhī Shāhīn, Emīl Haddād, ‘Amer and Mālik Mādī and others who studied in Egypt did compose songs in traditional sophisticated forms in the 1980s.

Two composers have produced work related to Western classical styles, both using Jordanian tunes and Arab musical elements. Yūsuf Khasho (1927–96), who studied with Augustin Lama in Bayt Lahm and Jerusalem, composed several works for orchestra. ‘Abdul-Hamīd Hamām (b 1943) studied composition at the Vienna Akademie für Musik und Darstellende Kunst and has composed orchestral, chamber and choral works, songs, sonatas for various instruments, and piano works. In Jordan there are also many groups using Western popular styles, rhythms and musical instruments to perform light and dance music.

Jordan (i)

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