The Tripoli-born vocalist has become a regular fixture at Hamra's Metro al-
During Eid, Shaar returns to the Metro to perform "Habibi Yas3id Awqathihi,"
This week Shaar will headline Masrah al-
The Egyptian chanteuse's friend and first composer
This rendition Shaar and his ensemble will perform will effectively be a new arrangement. "This composition will be challenging," he muses. "Reconciling both versions is a delicate task."
Umm Kulthum's first
"For me the best songs written and performed by Al-Sitt Umm Kulthum were during
Shaar's vocal training began when he worked as a muazzin, calling devout Muslims to pray, in Tripoli.
"The mosque was for me a school and a refuge," he says. "When I was 13 years old, after I had finished the azzan, I would have listeners and worshippers congratulate me."
His fan base, he recalls with amusement, dates from then. "I used to sit atop the maydan a good half hour before it was time [to call azzan] and enjoy the scenery. The smell of orange trees was lovely, and even more so when I would vocalize Quranic verses, and hear my own reverberations.
"Now when I sing, I see colors. A tune becomes a portrait. I start imagining a place and I try to translate this play through music to the audience. Jazz for example, is dark and for me the color of jazz is black. However when I sing jazz, I see beauty in it."
His experiments with tarab, he says, stem from his early training in Quranic recitation.
A central facet of his technique is interpolation -- festooning his extended performances with references to other songs and bits of poetry.
Shaar credits renowned Qaris (Quran reciter) Sheikh
"We practice and have a structure, but there is always a leeway for improvisation," Shaar says.
"It is not improvisation per say. I like to think about it as transference of energy.
"Music is communication, and I have to sense when it is right for me to improvise, depending on the connection on stage between the musicians, the crowd and myself. I cannot calculate beforehand where and how to deviate.
"We practice a composition, but the composition itself allows for several interpretations. It is not a tune that I keep on repeating, as if it is on playback. Music revives my organs, it keeps me alive." He smiles again. "Funnily enough, after a concert I walk out and feel like I haven't eaten in a week."
"Ramadaniyat" runs at Masrah al-
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