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World Music Matters

Naïssam Jalal's music, "a form of resistance"

Audio 10:00
Naïssam Jalal
Naïssam Jalal

The guest on this week's edition of World Music Matters is Franco-Syrian flautist, nay player and composer Naïssam Jalal. Her debut album Osloob Hayati has been released through the RFI Talent programme.


30-year old Jalal is already a virtuoso on both the western flute and oriental reed flute known as the nay. Her compositions blend both oriental and western sounds and her mastery of improvisation has seduced jazz fans even if she denies being "a jazzwoman".

Born in France, she went to Damascus in search of her roots in 2003 and studied at the Conservatoire in Cairo between 2003 and 2006, notably under oud master Hazem Shahine. 

"I was looking for my Arab identity," she explains, adding that despite being born and bred in France she's always seen as an immigrant or an immigrant's daughter. 

Her time in the Middle East has strengthened her sense of self and had a huge impact on the way she composes.

She formed her quintet Rhythms of Resistance in 2011, the year of the so-called Arab Spring. "It was a happy coincidence," she says. But there is no doubt her music expresses, and with great talent, that spirit of resistance.

NaÏssam Jalal plays Paris's Jazz à la Villette festival  on 9 September.

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