I arrived in Aleppo at 8 p.m. It takes 4 hours to arrive by car from Damascus. Soon arrived I had a meeting with Leila Tambe. I always set up recording sessions in far countries before arriving. Sometimes it takes months. The recordings sessions at Aleppo were organized by Leila and she also has helped me to select singers and musicians I needed.
So after a dinner and conversation she proposed to drive me directly to the Maestro studio. There I met the owner Samir Kwefati.
It was 1 a.m. . Without a problem, I’m very used and comfortable to make music late at night as my ears are in a better shape! We first recorded Ara Tengerian, a Duduk player. Duduk is traditional woodwind instrument of Armenian origins.
Later we recorded Abud Shamon , a musician who plays all Middle East percussions and notably the Daf.
It was 4 am and we decided to end up and to continue at 10 in the morning. After a short rest in the Artist Residency of Aleppo , a very nice place just beside the Citadel , I was ready to go.
Samir studio is a great place set up at the last floor of a building with an incredible view of Aleppo.
That day we started recordings with Mayada Bselis a famous female Syrian singer.
We continued with Mahmoud Kualdi a bouzouk player. Bouzouk is a stringed instrument.
It was 2 pm when we stopped. Samir had to live. When I travel and record I have my laptop wich is my portable studio. I can record everywhere at any time : just always ready to catch opportunities. After visiting the Lost Cities close to Aleppo, I went back to the Artist Residency. I recorded Mizgin Tahir a great female Kurdish singer and Mehmûd Berazi who plays the Tambur which is very similar to Bouzouk.
The next day I visited the antique city of Apame and the ruins of Saint Simeon Monastery. Syria is an amazing crossroad of many Cultures such as Mesopotamian , Greek , Roman, Persian and vestiges of Crusaders.
Later refugees from Armenia, Palestine and Irak settled down in Syria . There are also many reigions; Muslims , Christians , Orthodox , Zoroastrians ….etc The country is full of antique and modern stories.
My last recording was Rena Derkhorenian at the French Cultural centre. I remember it was a strange place for recording the beautiful voice of Rena.
I have had a great time to record all these great musicians and encountering nice and true people . I’ll never forget Sabine and Nour who took me for a great visit to Damascus by night.