Artist

Kadim Al Sahir

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Kadim Jabbar Al Samarai better known by his artistic name as Kadim Al-Saher (Arabic: كاظم الساهر‎; born September 12, 1957 in Mosul, Iraq), is an Iraqi singer, composer and songwriter. He has been dubbed the "Caesar of Arabic Song", and "Iraq's Ambassador to the world".

 

Kadim Al-Saher has established himself as one of the most successful singers in the history of the Arab World, since the start of his career. Ranging from big romantic ballads to more political work, from pop to Arab classical music. In 2003, according to an international poll conducted by BBC, more than half-a million people from 165 countries voted his composition Ana Wa Laila (Me and Laila), his most famous song about his love for Laila, as the sixth in the world's top 10 most popular songs of all time.

 

He performs with an orchestra of twenty to thirty musicians on Arabic percussion, oud, qanun, nay, and a full complement of strings (violin, cello, and bass). While some of his work makes use of electronic musical sounds, he avoids the use of synthesizers to imitate acoustic instruments. His work frequently features Iraqi folk instruments, rhythms and melodies.

 

Before he entered the Baghdad Academy of Music, Al Saher's self-education through the radio had given him a firm grounding in the rich repertoire of mid-twentieth-century Arab vocal music. He became deeply familiar with both classical Arab music, whose main representatives were Egyptian and Lebanese, and the Iraqi maqam repertoire, a local art form featuring vocal virtuosity and a vast repertoire. This solid grounding in traditional musical styles informs his work as both a singer and a composer.

 

One of his first videos was made in collaboration with one of his friends that happened to be a television director. The song in question was "Ladghat El Hayya" (The Snake Bite), which was broadcast on Iraqi television in 1987, one year before the end of the Iran–Iraq War. The song was the source of a major controversy due to particular sensitivities that were common during that era. Iraqi television officials asked him to either change the lyrics or have it banned. His refusal to change the lyrics and its consequent ban only helped to increase the popularity of the song. He began giving concerts all over the Persian Gulf and recording his music with Kuwaiti labels.

 

A year later, he had a hit with "Obart Al Shat" (I crossed the river). Some of his professors at the Academy denounced it as sha'bi (pop) music, anathema to those who taught classical music. Al-Saher had managed to circumvent the system and had become a star on his own terms—he even undertook his first US tour in 1989. Having conquered pop, Al Saher turned around and established himself in the Arabic classical world with "La Ya Sadiki" (No, My Friend), a magnum opus that lasted almost an hour and found him using maqams (scales) that hadn't been used in Iraqi music in several decades, revitalizing a tradition.

 

In 1991 and due to the Persian Gulf War, Al-Saher transferred his base of operations to Jordan where he lived with his family for a few years. He considers living in Jordan as an important period of his life and career success later on. Al-Saher performed some of his most successful concerts which were held in Jerash and produced two successful albums at Sameer Baghdadi's Studios in Amman, Jordan.

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KADIM EL SAHIR A 20 YEARS CELEBRATION
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