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Gabi Chamoun

Gabi Chamoun was born in Kamishli in May 1954. His first contact with his instrument Oud was at the age of 16 when he saw the oud player Fouad Dawoud playing. His first oud consisted of an oil-can with electricity cable as strings. He lived with his own handmade oud until he could borrow real oud to learn playing.

He began reaching for recordings of classical oriental music and found them at Georges Chachan who had a rich archive of samaiiys, mowashahat, basharif and others. The different types of classical oriental music enriched Chamoun’s repertoires and gave him good knowledge in the world of maqams (the oriental scales). This was the beginning of a profound cooperation with the composer Georges Chachan.

He acquainted the Syriac music from the Syriac Orthodox Church and from listening to Malfono Farid Yossif and Malfonitho Evelin Dawoud as well as the music of the pioneer composer Malfono Gabriel Asaad. Gabi Chamoun’s first Oud recording was just with Malfono Asaad in his song ”Weyli mi hlithathe, mahrashlaly” (1973-74) which recorded directly after its composition.

His love toward the Syriac song encouraged him to study music, and he travelled to Istanbul where he was the only foreign student who is studying music there. He studied musicology at “Türk Musýkisi Devlet Konservatuarý” (the Turkish musical higher institute) between 1975-1979. His studies consisted of oriental musical theories with detailed and deep studies of the maqams, oriental rythms, solfége, a wide oriental repertoire and western musical theory. Oud was his major instrument and Tanbur was his minor one. Thus Gabi Chamoun became one of few people among our musicians with a well-built academic background. During the passed years he presented many concerts in oriental classical music.

When he finished his musical studies in Istanbul he went back to Syria where he worked as music teacher in different schools. At the beginning of the 1990s he taught at the newly established musical institute in Qamishly for a period of three years. Thereafter he traveled to Bremen in Germany where he lives now a day. In this northern German city he cooperated with many orchestras of different nationalities (Turkish, Iranian and Armenian) as well as with one of the largest choirs of Bremen.

In Germany he composed an album sang by Michel Gaddo. The CD consists of eight songs with lyrics from different writers. The common characteristic of the most of the songs is the typical Syriac style which is derived from the Syriac Orthodox Church and the folk music of Tur Abdin

Gabi Chamoun is very anxious to preserve the Syriac music treasures which are protected between the walls of the church. He works on maintaining this music and present it to the public in a form of folk songs.


 Composed Work

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