Jordanian Music: Tareq Al Nasser’s RUM

Tareq Al Nasser is one of the most prominent composers and arrangers in the Arab World. He became famous during the  early nineties when he composed the soundtrack for the drama  series, “Nihayat Rajul Shujaa” (End of a Brave Man,) and Al Jawareh (Birds of Prey). He is known for breaking out of conventional, inflexible Arabic styles. Since the nineties, Al Nasser has composed for many other drama series, won awards at the 2007 Cairo Musical Festival and has worked with companies like the Travel Channel and Syria for Art Production.

In 1998, Al Nasser created Rum Group, a band composed of over 25 musicians from different backgrounds. The group performs Al-Nasser’s compositions, specializing in modern presentations of Jordanian folklore specifically in their 2008 album, Yabu Rdayyen. For Al Nasser, Rum has been an experiment, a way for him to test out the limits of his untraditional arrangements of music that combines western and traditional instruments.

Here Rum performs the introduction of the folklore song “Yabn il Alam” as rearranged by Al Nasser at Al-Modaraj Al-Romani in Amman in August of 2008. I think the performance shows how the band’s music has been asymmetrically appropriated to function as a symbol of the past folklore genre while also bringing forth the genre into more modern styles. At the same time, Rum is an example of pan-ethnic appropriation as it affiliates Al Nasser’s fascinations with  multiple genres and musical arrangements.

Check out their website for more information about Tareq Al Nasser and Rum.

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