Ibn Battuta: The voyager of Islam I. From Morocco to Afghanistan (1314-1336)

Organised by Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi

The Arabic writer and explorer Ibn Battuta, who travelled some 120.000kms in 29 years, no doubt ranks amongst the most prominent travellers of all time.
Abu Dhabi Classics presents Ibn Battuta: The voyager of Islam, a world premiere, created by Jordi Savall for Abu Dhabi. The concert will follow the first voyages of Ibn Battuta from North Africa and Egypt to Arabia, passing through Yemen and Sudan, sailing the Arabian Gulf, visiting Anatolia and reaching as far as Afghanistan.

With the help of the ancient music ensemble Hespèrion XXI, Grammy Award Winner Jordi Savall, one of the most exceptional figures in today’s music world and a major concert performer, will undertake the incredible task to recreate the music of Ibn Battuta’s spectacular travels. As one of the principal architects of the current revaluation of historical music, Jordi, who plays viola and rebab, will, with some of the Arab world’s leading musical artists, guide us on a journey through time and space, performing music Ibn Battuta heard during his visits to royal courts, palaces, public places or small villages.

A long forgotten world and its enchanting atmosphere will come back to life through the magic of music which will be complemented by readings from Ibn Battuta’s exotic travel journal, allowing music and words to mix and recreate his marvellous adventure.  

Born in Tangiers in the Hijri year 703 (1304 AD), Ibn Battuta was an explorer, voyager and writer, visiting the Middle East, the Maghreb and Mashreq regions as well as parts of Africa, Europe and even the Far East. These extraordinary journeys were documented in his travel record, making him one of the first globetrotters (Jawwala) of history and one of the early masters of travel literature (Rihla).

The Arab world remembers him as the “traveller of the Arabs” (Mussàfir al-Arab) and the “traveller of time” (Rahala al asr). For Western scholars, who began studying and translating his work from the 19th century on, he was the “voyager of Islam” or the “Arab Marco Polo”. 

Ibn Battuta: The voyager of Islam I will only be performed for one gala evening, on 20th November at 8pm in Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi. A second concert presenting another part of Ibn Battuta’s travels, including India and the Far East, is scheduled for the 2015/2016 Abu Dhabi Classics Season.    

*All timings are actual start timings. We recommend guests to come 30 min before the beginning of the concert to find their seats. Doors will close at the start time. No access will be granted after the doors have been shut.

Listen to some of Jordi's work in our multimedia section below:

date and time

Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 08:00 PM - 11:00 PM

event location

Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

contact info

Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi
Tel: 800-555


Artist Bio

Jordi Savall

Jordi Savall is an exceptional figure in today’s music world. His career as a concert performer, teacher, researcher and creator of new musical and cultural projects makes him one of the principal architects of the current revaluation of historical music. His task, which has earned him world renown and numerous prices, such as the Grammy Award (2011) or the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for musicians, the Sonning award (2012), has always been the reappraisal of historic repertoires combined with the faith in the universal quality of music.

Jordi began his musical studies when he was six years old as a singer in the Children’s Choir in Igualada (Catalonia), his hometown. He went on to learn the cello, completing his studies in the Barcelona Conservatory. In 1965, he started, as an autodidact, to study the viola da gamba and early music (Ars Musicae) before attending the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland. There, he succeeded his teacher August Wenzinger in 1973.  

With his three ensembles Hespèrion XXI (1974), La Capella Reial de Catalunya (1987) and Le Concert des Nations (1989), all founded together with Montserrat Figueras, Jordi has reached international renown and recognition. With his work, he has explored and fashioned a universe full of emotions and beauty, and has introduced millions of music lovers to instruments like the viola da gamba and the rebab, which had fallen widely into oblivion, becoming one of the most important protectors of early music from different cultures.

Driss El Maloumi
Driss was born in 1970, in Agadir, Morocco. He is considered one of the best Oud players of his generation and one of the Arab world’s leading artists. He first studied Arab literature, then started to learn about Oud and subsequently became a major Oud player.

Driss, a wonderful and unique artist, collaborated with other international musicians like Françoise Atlan and Pierre Hamon from France, Xavi Maureta and Jordi Savall (with his orchestra “Hespèrion XXI”) from Spain, and Carlo Rizzo, Paolo Fresu from Italy. He always works on deep artistic research, even when he is writing and composing shows for a wider public. Driss is known for mixing, with perfection, traditional Moroccan Sufi music with new and modern roots of jazz and baroque music, like in his albums Noches, or Jazz aux Oudayas.

Waed Bou Hassoun
Born in Syria in 1979, Waed started her international career in 2006 with concerts at the prestigious Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Her success there was so overwhelming, that she was invited the same year to sing at the Opera of Damascus, the Assilah festival in Morocco and the Madinah Festival in Tunis. 

In March 2008, Waed presented the fruit of an international collaboration at the Auditorium de l’Opéra Bastille in Paris. She sang poems by the great mystic Rabi’a al ‘Adawiya, accompanied by nay player Kudsi Erguner and a muezzin from Istanbul, a kanoun player and a percussionist. Waed was the first Arab singer to be invited to perform as a solo artist at the Teatro Real in Madrid, as part of the ‘Grandes cantantes’ (great singers) series, in January 2011. 

Since the release of her first CD: La voix de l’amour (Love’s voice), Waed has performed mainly solo concerts and only occasionally appears with musical ensembles, notably with Jordi Savall’s Hespèrion XXI with which she has recorded a CD in 2013 : Orient Occident II : Tribute to Syria. 

Listen to some of Jordi's work in our multimedia section below:

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