|Posted on January 8, 2015 at 8:10 AM|
This is very, VERY sad news.
After two years of fighting and suffering with throat cancer, the French qanoun player, and co-founder of Ensemble Al Kîndi (with his close friend, Adel Shams El Din) and the heart and driving force of bringing Arabic Classical, Sufi, and Ottoman musics to the attention of the world, passed away peacefully in Paris at 3:00pm, January 2nd, 2015.
I'm too torn up about this to write more, so I am reposting here an excellent memorial piece written by composer Kareem Roustom:
R.I.P. Julien Bernard Jalaleddin Weiss. An 'outsider' from France, you came to see the classical music of the Arab world as real cultural treasure at a time when most in the region only saw it as a decayed relic to be abandoned or as something that needed to be 'updated'. Rightly, you felt that this music was one of the major musical traditions of the world and deserved to be placed on the same level as Western and Indian classical musics. You dedicated countless hours to practicing the qanun and put in thousands of miles of travel seeking out the best teachers in the Arab world. You became a very fine qanun player and an ambassador for Arabic classical music. In addition you sought out old repertoire, seeking connections to the past thereby pointing to a time of significant cultural creativity and openness to other points of view. Your vision was to bring to life the Al-Kindi ensemble by bringing together the best practitioners of this music to make world class recordings and to perform at some of the finest concert halls and festivals in the world. Through excellent program notes and engaging, and well written liner notes you made this music accessible to non-Arabic speakers. After years of hard work by you and the members of Al-Kindi, you began to achieve much success and those who at first said 'who wants to play this music anymore?' now called to ask if there were any places for musicians in the ensemble. Still, there were always critics and the Arab world is not one to hide its petty jealousies but you continued, undaunted, along with the redoubtable percussionist Adel Shams El Din, the souflul oud player Mohammed Qadri Dallal, and many others to make superb recordings and to produce memorable concerts. For this, I am grateful and I owe you a debt for the wonderful music you introduced me to and for the thoughtful and artful way in which you and your fellow Al-Kindi members presented it. I am also grateful that you had the vision to record some of the finest vocalists from the Arab world, a number from Syria, in order to preserve something from the coming storm that has destroyed so much. Now you join other late members of the Al-Kindi ensemble (Sabri Moudalal, sheikh Hamza Shakour, Adib Al-Daikh and others) in a place where your music will ring eternal. Thank you, and may God rest your soul.