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The set begins with Halal pounding out a muscular but measured solo on the derbakeh.Led by Egyptian-born oud player, vocalist and composer Mustafa Said, the multinational Asil Ensemble is comprised of musicians wielding the string and percussion instruments associated with the region's classical music – three ouds, nai, violin, santour, viola, cello, riqq, tambour, buzuq, qanun, zarb and dahollaFor the past 12 years or so, Asil has devoted itself to regenerating the music of the region's classical tradition. Unlike many period instrument groups, it doesn't restrict itself to performing numbers from the canon but composes new tunes within the conventions of the classical tradition. The tune begins sounding very much like classical maqam – to the nonprofessional ear at least. The tempo speeds up a little, provoking Said to commit to an oud solo – provoking a few audience members to utter a moaning "Aiwa!" Ghassan Sahhab embarks on a few minutes of qanun solo, which bridges into a duet with Said.
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