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The Art of Sound
Letter from the editor

The Art of Sound

The Art of Sound
Reveal Here

Acrylic and oil on linen by David Conde Ayala. Courtesy AramcoWorld.

By Rym Al-Ghazal
March 20th, 2023
I wrote on the wind The name of my love Whose name I wrote on the water But, I didn’t know the wind is a poor listener And, I didn’t know The water does not remember names …

The legendary poet Nizar Qabbani (1923-1998)

What do you hear when you read these lines? Do you remember the whistles of the wind and the waves of the water?
Sound, elusive yet constant, is at the heart of the words we utter. Our laughter and voices are part of our identity. Sound is at the heart of the moods and the music we listen to. It is the soul of the poems, the chants and songs we remember. Sound is the voice of the world around us, and at times it is melodic, mesmerizing, memorable, and at other times, it is a cacophony of noise that is too loud to the point of becoming unheard and deafening.

“Sound” is a complicated and multilayered theme that Ithraeyat pays homage to as the magazine celebrates its three year anniversary. What started as a subtle lifeline for artists and creatives during the peak of the Covid-19 noise — keeping them connected to the public and the public to them — has evolved to a symphony of colors, of stories and art. Ithraeyat even has its own sound, its own identity of subtle soothing music that you hear when you visit its website composed for Ithraeyat by Saudi musician Nasser Al-Shemimry.
In this special edition, we celebrate another important milestone — the 100 year anniversary of one of the Arab world’s greats, the legendary poet Nizar Qabbani, a poet whose words capture the pulse of a heartbeat, and the sound of our thoughts.

His poems are like lost letters, those private conversations we have with our close ones and with ourselves. In many ways, he remains an ambassador of the beauty of the Arabic language, in its complicated simplicity and its universal timeless themes.

We also feature what is believed to be ‘the oldest’ recordings (1906-1909) to come out from Jeddah, as well as interviews with iconic figures like Naseer Shamma and paying homage to Nizar Qabbani by interviewing his son, Omar. We include features on important figures like the ‘father of Saudi music’ Tarik Abdul Hakim, to sentimental figures like Tarek Al-Arabi whose voice reminds us of our childhood, to the dynamic ways artists capture the essence of sound — from the calls of prayers as exhibited at the The Diriyah Biennale Foundation’s Islamic Arts Biennale to the various tunes of historic instruments and their masters of sound.

From the articles on the chants of camels to the soundtracks in films, there are sounds around us that we take for granted and only notice their central role when they are not there. We celebrate the treasures of our regular collaborations with The Art of Heritage and the Aga Khan Museum. We also welcome our latest collaborations with ‘Van Cleef & Arpels’ through their exquisite collection that pays homage to ‘Time, Nature and Love’ as part of an exhibit at The Saudi National Museum, as well as the sound of carvings and sculpting as part of the annual Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium.

A special calendar by AramcoWorld in 2018 focused on ‘Tarab’ and the art of music that is worth rediscovering for its beautiful art and stories.

There is something for everyone in this unique edition, with various voices telling their stories, and sharing their art and creativity in the world of sound.

I hope you enjoy our latest ‘Makhzan’ (storehouse) of unique, ‘enriching’ stories.

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