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detailed biography

The beautiful story of Fawzy, that of a musician between Aladdin and Verlaine, of an exile on stage, of a trajectory rich in creations. With an inexhaustible thirst for meetings, he has never ceased to weave - over the course of his albums and his shows - bridges between music and cultures from the Near East and from here. In this area, Fawzy is a benchmark.

A young musician between Aladin and Verlaine

Fawzy Al-Aiedy was born in Basra in southern Iraq to a modest family in the 1950s. His parents forgot to note his date of birth. The only certainty: he was born between two heavy rains ... Fawzy, he celebrates his birthday on September 6, the date of his arrival in France (in 1971).

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It was at school that he received his first musical emotion, listening to his teacher playing the violin. With his parents, music does not really have the right of citizenship but Fawzy, at 14, manages, not without difficulty, to convince his father to allow him to go and try his luck in the capital, at the École des Beaux. -Arts (music section) where he passes the entrance exam.

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Deeming his fingers too short to play the lute, he was forced to learn the oboe with a Czech teacher! (Iraq lacked an oboist for its classical orchestra!). He thus began his musical studies with Western classical music.

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In Baghdad, Fawzy discovered the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine, read works of philosophy (Sartre, Debray ...) and, while working with Bach, Mozart or Handel, felt a real cultural shock.

After one year of studies, he obtains from the school director the right to follow in parallel courses in traditional oriental music (theory, singing and oud). He passes very naturally from one musical culture to another.

During this period, Iraq saw a very troubled political period, with successive coups d'état. In Baghdad the army is omnipresent. Fawzy completed his studies at the music school in 1968, the year in which the BAAS party took power. Being the first, he was offered a scholarship to study in Warsaw. But then it became very difficult to leave Iraq. As he works at Radio Baghdad, Fawzy meets, by chance, Sadam Hussein: "He was in civilian clothes, surrounded by his bodyguards and I managed to speak to him. I told him that his law prevented me from leaving the country and to take advantage of the scholarship that was offered to me to study in Poland ... He replied that he was going to help me ... But a week later, I was ordered to go do my military service !".

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Three months after the end of his service, he made his decision: to leave. But where ? For the oboe, there are two "schools": one German, the other French which he prefers. He also chose France for a sentimental reason: his passion for Rimbaud and Verlaine.

Fawzy arrives in France ...

He managed to leave his country and landed in Paris on September 6, 1971, not knowing French but full of hope, the diploma of the School of Fine Arts in Baghdad in his pocket. He returned to the National Music School of Boulogne-Billancourt where he obtained, in 1976, the 1st Prize for Oboe unanimously and the 2nd Prize for Chamber Music.

In parallel with his classical apprenticeship, Fawzy discovered Georges Brassens, Léo Ferré, Léonard Cohen, John Coltrane, Miles Davis. When he left the conservatory, he joined the Orchester des Jeunes de Paris, at the oboe and English horn desks, under the direction of Jean-Claude Casadesus. He stayed there for two years.

“A career in a classical orchestra was not really my life. My dual cultural background put me in front of an alternative: either I became a traditional oriental musician, or I remained a European classical musician. I have found a third way! That of creation, indicated to me by my love of poetry, and whose spearhead would be this duality between East and West. "

An exile on stage, a career that begins

In 1976, Fawzy recorded his first album Silence au Chant du Monde, on traditional Iraqi poetry, then, in 1978, Baghdad . From 1977 to 1985, he participated, with Guy Jacquet, actor, and Hassan Massoudy calligrapher, in the Khamsa group which disseminates the richness of Arab culture through the show L'Arabesque à voir et à lui which combines poetry, calligraphy and Arabic songs. .

In 1983, he became a precursor of what is now called "world music", with his album La Terre , for which he brought together musicians from all walks of life. In 1989, he created the Oriental Jazz, by marrying the swing of jazz with the sensuality of oriental music and produced in 1992 the album Tarab .

At the same time, since 1987, he has regularly made forays into dramatic art and musical theater through his own theater-tale-music or musical theater creations: L'œil du Borgne then Histoire du Borgne et Aladin et la princesse de China with Lucien Melki or creations by directors in which he participates on stage ( The Adventures of Sindbad the Sailor with Antoine Duhamel, Michel Beretti and Pierre Barrat; Sol Soleil by Guy Freixe). It accompanies readings of texts and Arab poets (Mohammed Kacimi, Institut du Monde Arabe).

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In this desire to educate all audiences, he produced records and concerts for children and their parents: Amina in 1981 (Prix Loisirs Jeunes 1982); Dounya in 1988 - Traditional songs for children and the show Dounya - Musical journey for children and adults from 7 years old. Creation in 2006 of the show Noces-Bayna - Traditional songs of France and mirror of Arabia and publication of the album Noces-Bayna at the end of 2009 (Favorite of the Charles Cros Academy and Bravo! Of Trad Magazine) .

Creations develop, through travels and encounters

In 1996 and 1998, his creations (still on tour) Paris-Bagdad Acoustic , caused by a trip to Hong Kong or his duo / trio Oud Aljazira (now Fawzy Al-Aiedy Trio / Duo ), marked a turning point in the musical approach of Fawzy. After the Oriental Jazz, he expressed the desire to turn to more natural impressions, more traditional inspirations in connection with his state of mind at the time.

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Fawzy was invited by Gérard Zuchetto to his creations: in 2008 Troubadours Caravane , then in 2012 at Poètes du Sud at the Scène nationale de Narbonne. In 2009-2010, meetings with Frédéric Vérité for the creation Escales Méditerranéennes - Trans-Mediterranean Journey as well as with Dominique Forges (and the Traditional Music Ensemble of Nevers) for the creation Babylone sur Loire - Traditional music from the Nivernais and the Middle East.

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At the same time, a research laboratory has set in motion between oriental music and western groove to lead in 2010 to the creation of Radio Bagdad , during the Festival Les Nuits at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Strasbourg, which takes us to other regions combining traditional and current music, where rigor and musical aesthetics play essential roles, leaving a large place for the festive side of the new compositions.

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In 2006, a first meeting with the oboist jazzman Jean-Luc Fillon resulted in a new creation in 2011 on the desert and its caravans: Privé de Desert - Oriental Jazz.

In 2010, Safy Nebbou's film The Other Dumas was released with Gérard Depardieux and Benoît Poelvoorde in which Fawzy plays the role of the oriental singer with his song L'Oiseau libre and his improvisation on the maquam Nahawend .

In 2011-2013, creation of Ultime Prière - Chants sacrés d'Orient, initiated by the Festival Les Sacitées Journées de Strasbourg (1st world at Strasbourg Cathedral); and creation of Exil mon amour - Music, Theater & Calligraphy with the calligrapher Hassan Massoudy and the actress Catherine Javaloyes for the Strasbourg Méditerranée Festival. In 2012, the Radio Bagdad album was released by L'Institut du Monde Arabe distributed by Harmonia Mundi on which Fawzy sings for the first time a French title, Blues Oriental , to words by the bestselling author Claude Lemesle.

End of 2014-beginning of 2015, creation of Entre deux reeds, the child - Musical & visual show, aimed at early childhood and all audiences, from 2-3 years old to 103 years old! with a staging by Denis Woelffel and animated calligraphy by Hassan Massoudy.

Fawzy Al-Aiedy, citizen of the world ...

"Music is the eternal mistress to whom I entrust my life and with which I share dreams and passion" (Fawzy)

End of 2016 saw the creation of La traversée by the Noces-Bayna Quartet at the Cité de la Musique-Philharmonie de Paris. The concept is very successful. After associating Catherine Faure, of French culture, and Vincent Boniface of Valdôtaine culture (French-speaking and Franco-Provençal minority of the Aosta Valley) with his faithful companion, the Egyptian Adel Shams El Din, Fawzy and his acolytes renewed the repertoire, directed by Jocelyne Jault. The traditional songs of France, revisited, are mirrored by an Arab creation in order to continue the connection and consolidate the East-West bridge.

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Then, in 2016-2018, the establishment of an electro-oriental laboratory, a project which acquired its coherence in 2018 with the contribution of the arrangements of Amin Al-Aiedy, under the name of Ishtar Connection . After a first attempt with a DJ, Fawzy meets the Strasbourg beat maker Gaston (Philippe Rieger). The alchemist of the East-West bridges and the alchemist of electronic sounds cross their instruments for the first time in a new project. Gaston's samplers and Fawzy's voice and oud are the central pivot. The magic operates between the ultra-modern musical references of the first and the melodies of the second, between contemporary electronic pulsations, spicy rhythms and traditional oriental fashions. This creation will be the opportunity to transcend tradition and reinvent the link with other audiences.

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The notions of tolerance and culture have always governed Fawzy's creative approach. For him, music is the privileged ground where all encounters can flourish. With Ishtar Connection, it asserts its place as a benchmark player in cultural diversity.

Photographs: Jean-Louis Hess, S. Barral-Barron, Bartosch Salmanski

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