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The Middle East, birthplace of human civilization, the doorstep of the orient. The great singers, the great mystics, Jalal Rumi, the Sufis, the Dervishes. The great cities of Baghdad, Cairo, Istanbul, Damascus and Aleppo. To perform and record in these lands is magic, is tapping into the great river of human expression that runs through the millennia. From here music, poetry and art went in waves back and forth, from and to India, China, Persia, Europe and Africa. It was at the center of the Old World where science was developed, where the written language and mathematics was invented. Three of the great world religions sprung out of the soil of this territory and gave birth to enlightenment and war, conflict and resolution, struggle for identity and independence.

In September 1996 Jonas Hellborg traveled to Syria, ancient home of the Arameans, to play two Concerts: one in Aleppo and one in Damascus. To play with Syrian musicians and have a first conversation with this fertile ground. A taste from these events are now released as a CD Aram of the two rivers, and will later be released also on video and DVD. This recording features some of the most prestigious talents from Syria, such as violin player Hadi Bakdounas and percussionist Nabil Khaiat (known in the west from his work with Oud player Rabih Abou Khalil).

The concerts where held at the Al Azam Palace in Damascus and in one of the oldest caravanserai's (caravan resting stops) in Aleppo. These concerts where a joint organization by the Syrian minister for culture and the Swedish ambassador to Damascus.

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JONAS HELLBORG - BASS GUITAR
MASED SRI AL DEEN - NEY
HADI BACKDONAS - VIOLIN
NABIL KHAIAT - RIQQ
TAREK MALAS - DERBUKA
MAHFOUZ AL HOSAINI - DERBUKA 

1. Aram Of Damascus
2. Sham
3. Akkadia
4. Aram Of Zoba
5. Salah Al Din
6. Suriya 
 
Recorded live in in Damascus and Aleppo, September 1996
Engineer Anders Johansson
Mixed at Studio Aryanam by Scud Noonan
Photo and cover design Magnus Bergstrom
Front cover photo by Kenneth Ruona
All music by Jonas Hellborg / Bardo Music 
 

 

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