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Khyam Allami is a multi-instrumentalist Iraqi musician and composer and the founder of independent record label Nawa Recordings.
Virtuoso oud player, serial collaborator, musical explorer: Khyam Allami is a musician and composer with a formidable – and continually growing – international reputation.
Despite only taking up the oud – his principal instrument – in his twenties, Allami rapidly became a performer of international renown. His remarkably assured 2011 debut solo album Resonance/Dissonance was widely critically praised and nominated for the Songlines Music Awards 2012.
Energetic and charismatic, Allami has developed numerous and varied performing and recording projects since his debut album release, from co-founding the alternative Arabic group, Alif, performing with Blur at London’s Olympics celebrations in Hyde Park, working with the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq, mixing Maurice Louca’s Benhayyi Al- Baghbaghan and launching his own independent record label, Nawa Recordings.
He is currently completing work on the soundtrack of Touir Ellil, the debut feature film by Tunisian director Leyla Bouzid, preparing the release of Alif’s debut album, and working on a new solo album, all of which are due for release in 2015.
“[Khyam Allami] epitomises the best of the new generation of Oud players whose roots lie in the Eastern tradition but who also judiciously draw on a wider range of contemporary influences… his compositions are utterly bewitching.” (Top of the World 5/5 – Songlines)
“With its constant changes of mood and direction, Khyam Allami’s debut album is a firm reminder of the Oud’s potential,” (3/5 – The Guardian)
“From its deep and very deliberately plucked opening notes to the final extended fade on Reverie, this is not only a vibrant and engaging piece of music, but a work of surprising maturity.” (fRoots Magazine)
“This is his debut album and it shows Allami to be a master of the Arabic Oud (lute), with a slow magisterial opening, full of rich sonorities. The CD is entirely solo oud, with [An Alif/An Apex], its most Avant-garde track, at its centre. Using traditional Arabic scales, Allami shows how innovative the music can be. A musician worth catching live.” (Evening Standard)
“The lilting melodies and meditative sounds display Khyam’s diverse and remarkable creative talents. A great album that might turn you into an oud fan!” (Verge Magazine)
“The presentation of Resonance/Dissonance gives absolutely nothing away, meaning- wise; however the overwhelming darkness of this music says it all.” (The Liminal)