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Jana Saleh: Trapped in Three Movements (Remixing Tarab)

Jana Saleh

June 19, 2019 8:00 pm

Trapped in three movements (remixing tarab), is a sound performance by artist Jana Saleh, comprising of three movements. Each movement will take place at BAC on a different evening, the third one culminating into a party.

The definition of the word tarab is “moved, enchanted, delighted, pleased or charmed”. To have chosen this word for this genre means that the experience of the music came first and the label second. It required musicians, a singer, and an audience to come together in euphoric unison before realising: this is “tarab”.

To my knowledge, Arabic music is an experience first, an attempt to elevate and be elevated before being a scholarly subject. And this experience was captured in concert halls with an audience that is as necessary to the music as the virtuoso oud player or Umm Kulthum herself. Without the coming together of those three elements, there is no tarab. 

This makes tarab an art in constant movement, as opposed to one that is still. What happens when it’s trapped, deconstructed, and remixed? What happens when it’s asked to take on a physical form? 

words by Jana Saleh.

Using  vinyl recordings of  tarab nights as a basis for play, this piece is a representation of tarab in three movements:

The tubes as a deconstructive element, 3 construction tubes are used to project the divided sound:
– The musicians and the taqsim (improvisational element needed to create tarab)
– The singer and the “saltaneh” (the space the singer goes to, to transcend)
– The audience and the tarab (the space created when all elements, especially the audience, become one)

The live performance a 45 minutes (length of a usual tarab recording) improvised dj set playing with the music remixed for the tubes in an attempt to liberate the trapped sounds and create a further connection with the audience, in quest of tarab.

The party  it’s only after being part of an experience that a state of euphoria can take place. And in that state, it’s a celebration, a party.

Produced by Beirut Art Center, 2019