Hamza Shakkur was born in Damascus in 1944. At an early age he received a thorough training in Qur’anic recitation according to the Syrian tradition. His father was the muezzin at the local mosque who taught Shakkur the basics of spiritual recitation. At the age of ten, Shakkur assumed this role, thereby becoming his father’s successor.
Although he never learned to read music, he built up a repertoire comprising thousands of songs by learning lyrics and melodies by heart.
Among the mystics of the Sufi community he began studying the hymns of mystical love, a form of expression that is still highly respected in Arab society. Having studied the entire spiritual repertoire of Islam he was in much demand as a singer. He also made numerous recordings for the radio.
Later he became choirmaster of the Munshiddin (a group of individuals who recite the Qu’ran) at the Great Mosque of Damascus and performed at official religious ceremonies there, which made him immensely popular in Syria. The Great Mosque in Damascus is one of the most sacred sites in Islam.
Shakkur belonged to the traditional Damascus school of music. He felt a close bond with the Mevlevi Order, the community of “whirling dervishes”, and strove to preserve the continuity of their repertoire. This community is known for its whirling dance ritual, the epitome of Eastern mysticism. Dressed in wide swinging, bell-shaped white skirts and camel-coloured felt hats, they whirl to classical music and chanting.
In 1983 Shakkur and French musician Julien Weiss founded the Al Kindi ensemble, through which he succeeded in introducing this music to Europe and America.
The ensemble specialised in music from Arab-Andalusia and its repertoire covered both religious and secular themes. Its interpretations were heavily steeped in tradition. Weiss created an Arab musical ensemble with the Arab lute, oud, ney, kanun and a variety of rhythm instruments.
Shakkur selected songs with very diverse rhythms and melodies that impressively demonstrated his musical phrasing and improvisational talent. Particular emphasis was placed on preserving the unity of the sequence of songs and their musical mode as well as on playing songs in the traditional manner.
Sheikh Hamza Shakkur died in Damascus on 4 February 2009 at the age of 65.
The way in which Sheikh Hamza Shakkur could lull his listeners into a trance-like state by grace of his singing alone had to be seen to be believed. He possessed not only vocal talent, but also a powerful, sonorous and all-embracing voice capable of playing counterpart to an orchestra and filling an entire room.
His musical intuition was borne of a spiritual power that drew listeners into the mystical tradition of Sufism. His bass voice with its richly rounded timbre made him one of the most famous singers in the Arab world.
- Al Salâm Al Râbi (07:57)
- Al Salâm Al Râbi (15:39)
Taqsîm Huzâm/ Taqsîm Sîkâh/ Mawwâl Sîkâh
- Ghayrî Alä Sulwân Qâdir (07:40)
- Ghayrî Alä Sulwân Qâdir (23:31)
Taqsîm Râst qânun/ Taqsîm Râst nây/ Layâlî Râst/ Ibtihâl Bayyâtî
- Chanting (Tartîl) Of The Qurân (05:53)
Duration : 60:37 | Bitarte : 160 kBit/s | Year : 1993 | Size :75 mb