Waed Bouhassoun is a very talented young Syrian oud player and singer with a vocal timbre of rare quality, prompting comparisons between her and the great Arab singers of the 1930s.
For her contribution to Umsiyat, Waed has chosen a programme that lines up perfectly with the very spirit of the Festival: The Passion of Poetry.
In the first part of her concert, Waed will sing poems related to mystical and earthly love. Delving into the vast repertoire of poetry, from pre-Islamic poetry to the mystical Arab-Andalusian poetry produced from the 7th to the 13th century - and even into contemporary work - she has selected a collection of different verses that she set to music and will perform accompanied by her oud instrument.
Among the poets whose work she has drawn for her performance are Jalal al-Din Rumi (13th century) and his love for the divine, Qays ibn al-Mulawwah (7th century) (also called the “Madman of Layla” due to his feelings of torment for his beloved Layla), as well as Wallada (11th century) who proclaimed her love for Ibn Zaydun - and expressed her jealousy. Among the ranks of contemporary Arab poets that Waed will showcase, we shall also find Adonis who expresses his anxiety and his expectations related to today’s world.
In the second part of the concert, accompanied by selected musicians, Waed will focus on Nabataean poetry, which originated from the Najd Region in Saudi Arabia. Based on oral traditions, this poetry has spread from Saudi Arabia right throughout the Arabian Peninsula, carried along by Bedouin travellers for whom, along with its melodies, it constituted a major element of their evening gatherings and social exchanges. From Nabataean poetry, Waed will interpret four different genres: Al-Chrougui, Al-Hejaïni, Al-Hîda and Al-Jawfiyya. All of these genres are still practiced and popular in the mountain region of Southern Syria, where Waed was originally from.
Her decision to perform Nabataean poetry is therefore also linked to her roots. Waed considers her music an expression of identity: "I draw my inspiration from my culture, its poetry, its spirituality. The notes that I play on my oud - which never leaves me – are words which, when brought together, form a language with which I can express my joy, my love, my pain, and also that of my country which is suffering and being torn apart. Music is essential for me. It brings rhythm to every moment of my day, of my life. I live with it and for it. I can’t imagine existing without it. It is my link with my native land, my family, and my friends. It is everything to me.