Ishaq Al Harthi & Farid Osman
Sangita Sounds were recently fortunate enough to be invited to the Sultanate of Oman to sample local music and arts and meet local folk and classical musicians from the region. During the visit, the Sultanate of Oman was going through some of the biggest celebrations the nation had ever seen as it was the 40th National day of Sultan Qaboos’ reign.
From the world renowned Royal Omani Symphony Orchestra (ROSO) to the National Bands that preside over the major music scenes to the local folk and tribal musicians we were fortunate enough to meet, the musical landscape in Oman is rich and varied.
It was a blessing to meet the local musicians and hear something of their music directly. It has long been a dream to spend time connecting with Arabic / Middle Eastern / Gulf musicians. Although the local folk & traditional music scene is not so well developed in the commercial realm, it seems strong in the more traditional line of family functions and weddings.
With our connections we were able to meet the rather splendid team of local musicians of Muscat, Ishaq al Harthi and Farid Osman playing Oud and Darbouka. Meeting them was such a pleasure and they were kind enough to share several local tunes with us as well as some other Arabic tunes. Several neighbours came around to see what was going on and it became a proper Sangita Session! An track from the session can be heard here with more tracks coming online soon.
The Bait Muzna Gallery in Muscat is one of the select Galleries displaying Arabic art, both contemporary and more traditional fine art. A superb space, an original old style townhouse with masses of natural light flooding in. The Gallery recently celebrated 10 years of breaking new artists and promoting Arabic art and I can see why it is so successful. Dynamic art and photography resonate in excellent quality. The Galleries owner, Susan Al Said, was kind enough to share fascinating insights on the Arabic art scene. The current exhibition was centered around the photography of Sayyid Tarik bin Shabib Al Said entitled “The Journey”. An incredible collection of stunning large format prints from his travels around the world.
A local initiative to paint a whole herd of Plastercast Oryx’s (An Arabian type of Deer) was in preparation with artists from all over the region being invited to paint one. I popped into a local fine arts centre to see some of the work coming on. A sheer riot of colour and energy was exuding form the artists works, reflecting the dynamic energy of the the Middle East. It was great to witness some of the character of the local arts scene.
We look forward to deepening our connection with Oman, hoping to meet more local, folk and traditional musicians and artists in future.
With thanks to Bait Muzna Gallery for their gracious support in our musical endeavours.