Bewitched by Al Andalus

Luis  Delgado - As-Sirr
Luis Delgado – As-Sirr
Luis Delgado

As-Sirr (Nubenegra)

For many years, Spanish multi-instrumentalist Luis Delgado has been researching the music of Medieval Muslim Spain. He has recorded and composed masterful works such as El Sueño De Al-Zaqqaq, El Hechizo De Babilonia and Tánger. Some of his work has been used in TV series and movies, including Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven. Delgado’s latest work, As-Sirr, is one of his finest.

To carry out his project, Luis Delgado studied documents found at one of Cairo’s oldest mosques. The papers contain poems from Spain’s Muslim era and Luis Delgado shows what the famed muwaxahas sound like. "The muwaxaha is a poetical form. Its name derives from the Arabic term wassaha, which in turn comes from wisah, which refers to a girdle or belt richly decorated with precious stones or inlays," says Delgado. "Even though it is poetry basically developed from Arabic and Hebrew, I have to note that the last verses called marqaz or jarcha are written in a romance language prior to current Spanish, distinct from Galician-Portuguese, Occitanian and the rest of the languages with Latin roots. Its uniqueness consists in the inclusion of Spanish words of the era, as well Arabic and Hebrew ones. The discovery of the Arabic muwaxahas with their jarchas in Romance was considered one of the most significant findings in the field of Philology in the 20th century."

As-Sirr reintroduces the mesmerizing orchestral sounds Luis Delgado has used in the past. Delgado’s band includes Yammal Eddine ben Allal on violin; Javier Bergia on darbuka; Jaime Muñoz on clarinet, kaval and murtali; César Carazo on viola de brazo; Mohamed Serguini el Arabi on vocals; and Maria Luisa Garcia on vocals. Delgado himself plays a wide range of instruments that belong to the lute family: Califal oud, guimbri, and bandurria. He also uses samplers, keyboards and the mellotron, to enrich the acoustic sounds.

Luis Delgado‘s As-Sirr is an outstanding body of work that brings ancient Al Andalus to the 21st century.

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Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for TelevisiĆ³n EspaƱola (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.