LE TRIO JOUBRAN
Three brothers, three ouds. Adnan, Samir, and Wissam. On stage and in the studio, their instruments come together like three soloists who form one single voice. The oud, or Arabic lute, has become the voice of their souls, the beating heart of their existence with which they have become one. Always three, together. Since 2002, their reputation has continued to grow: from the Olympia in Paris to Carnegie Hall in New York to the United Nations, they have played to sold-out crowds. Accompanied on stage by compatriot and percussionist Youssef Hbeisch, their compositions leave room for their exceptional improvisational talent, and all it takes is just a glance toward the other two for their three voices to quickly become one.
Le Trio Joubran (Arabic: الثلاثي جبران) is an oud trio playing traditional Palestinian music. The trio consists of the brothers Adnan, Samir and Wissam Joubran, originally from the city of Nazareth, now dividing their time between Nazareth, Ramallah and Paris. The Joubran brothers come from a well-known family with a rich artistic heritage. Their mother, Ibtisam Hanna Joubran, sang the Muwashahat (poems that originated in Arab Spain) while their father, Hatem is among the most renowned stringed-instrument makers in Palestine and in the Arab world. Samir Joubran, the eldest brother, began a successful music career in 1996, nearly a decade before the formation of the Joubran Trio. Samir released two acclaimed albums Taqaseem in 1996, followed by Sou'fahm in 2001. For his third album, Samir invited his younger brother, Wissam, to accompany him in duets. That album, Tamaas, was released in 2003. After returning from a tour, Samir proposed forming a trio with his youngest brother Adnan. In August 2004, in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, Le Trio Joubran came to life.Le Trio Joubran, three brothers from Palestine, musicians sought after worldwide, are progressing in their art thanks to a big amount of individual and collective effort and to the deep love and respect of music and public.
Interview with Oud Maestros Le Trio Joubran
What do you consider as the essential elements of your music?
Depth of emotions, is one of the essential elements of our music, Le Trio Joubran do their best to understand why they use a note better than another, how a melody becomes a melody, an image first, a direction, a feeling, and a message, some melodies start with a moment of a life for one of the group, and this develops into a concept, and then a melody.
As composers, we aim to bring back or revive emotions that we human beings began to put a side, unfortunately, media, social media has made us numb, and made us live an illusionary life of strength, beauty, power and glory, which isn’t much of a reflection of reality.
Other musical element such “Improvisation” which we always make sure that the album has, or the performance has, to keep our musicality on alert, and or brotherhood on motion, us improvising means alive, means changing, from concert to another, means discover yourself, and let the other discover you better.
Who can you cite as your main musical influences?
Lately, quiet few! Hard not to mention the career of Paco de Lucia and Keith Jarrett for Adnan, and classical artists such as Abdel Wahab for Samir, and the influence of traditional Arabic singing for Wissam.
In the same time, we all listen to different music, jazz, tango, pop, rock, tango and classical Western and Eastern! I believe one should listen and keep listening to all types of music, we find elements that inspire in every genre of music.
How did the ensemble evolve from your first recordings?
The first recording I reckon was experimental in a way that we were trying to see if it works, and it did!
To have three oud players, composers, virtuosos, is a big challenge. We achieved success because we are brothers and we could handle this quiet tough mission well because we allowed ourselves to unveil hidden sides of us, others could like or dislike, but trust, which is another meaning of “brotherhood” could allow this.
At that period, the composition was a secondary target, although today, we have proved to ourselves that it works, that there should be no limit in composition, and there isn’t always a need to prove our technical skills. Today, we stop by the title, and we stop by the message. We make sure that the message is there and the composition should serve it, by complexity, length, directivity, sounds and instruments, and notes.
The three brothers play oud, the Arabic lute. Where did they get the training?
We come from family blended with music and oud making, our father is the third generation in the family who builds the instrument.
Samir, the eldest, had his elder brother the Oud in the house! He studied with a local teacher, and then went to Cairo to learn music.
Wissam started at a young age learning music and violin, and then took the oud as his language as well as studying in Italy (Antonio Stradivari Institute) violin making.
Adnan, had two brothers that are oud players and one father oud maker, so he had no choice to escape this world! Only at the age of 16, he took the instrument in his hands and tried to play, and by the age of 18 he was on stage touring after self-training and listening to his brothers and many other music and musicians.
Who makes your ouds?
Where are your currently based?
Adnan in London, Samir between Paris and Ramallah, and Wissam in Paris.
Tell us a little about your new album The Long March.
Two years of discussions and two other years of recordings! Not that it should take that long! But we have been busy touring with previous album, and small projects on the side, such as music for films and important shows, and also because we live apart now, each with his growing family, and each in a different country. We get to meet in tours and discuss and then dedicate a period of recording. But this time has given maturity for the tracks and the ideas.
In this album, we tried to achieve a wider listeners, and introduce the oud to a bigger public, also we tried to introduce new sounds to the listeners of the oud. We have electronics, orchestral, tribal sounds, and vocals. The oud is the singer and all the other elements support the singer to represent the story.
The body of the album is the poem of Mahmoud Darwish, which says the message of the album. The tracks titles are extracted from this text that is trying to tell this world of industry and world of power that we are humans. Before and after all, our humanity should remain, despite the reality of wiping it away, and before this power can wipe it away, we will defend everything we have, even our final songs.
We have collaborated with the musical producer Renaud Letang, which an amazing experience, to hand over our baby (composition) and another musician and master of production looks at it and takes the essence of it.
Also we had the privilege to collaborate with Roger Waters for two tracks: one single which we released as a video clip under the title “Supremacy” before the album; and another track, “Carry The Earth” in the album as a dedication to four boys killed on the beach of Gaza by the Israeli forces.
As well with Mohammad Motamdi, an amazing vocalist and singer from Iran; an oriental orchestra from Turkey; as well as a western orchestra from Macedonia; and many other talented musicians!
We have succeeded to color the album. Each title to have a different color and influence, and in the same to have a one message uniting the while tracks.