Music indeed gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything, quote-unquote. Arab classical music holds a solid base in the Sultanate and traditional Omani music transcends time and geographical borders with its time-tested unique notes. This became even more evident when three Omani musicians shared the centrestage with the St Christopher Chamber Orchestra of Lithuania, enthralling the mix audience in a world of sheer musical extravaganza.
Organised by Oman’s Ministry of Information in response to the proposal from the honorary consulate in Lithuania, the concert was the most exotic one of the year, when for the first time ever the musicians from Oman played together with the world renowned troupe that tour the world.
The first performance of Omani and Lithuanian musicians called ‘Peace Tunes’ performed in Vilnius, Capital of Lithuania, together with the city’s St Chamber Orchestra directed by Modestas Barkauskas was, for many, a once in a lifetime experience that paved way for exchanging cultures of two different continents.
The trio included pianist Zara al Yousef, Talal Nasser Hamid al Siyabi playing Arabic drums, and qanoonist Farah Jamal Ali al Balushi who gave the concert to a 400 plus audience at the St Catherine Church.
The programme included traditional Arabic tunes merged with the music representing Omani, Lithuanian and European traditions.
“Through cultural exchange, tourism and business ties, thousands of Lithuanians have already discovered Oman as the nation of kind people whose hospitality is truly remarkable. This performance is yet another step that brings us even closer”, Boleta Sankiene, Oman’s Honorary Consul to Lithuania, said.
She introduced the performers by inviting the audience to a musical journey bridging the two regions and two different cultures which became closer since the opening of the honorary consulate in Vilnius in 2013. “We are planning to find a possibility for Lithuanian orchestra to come and present the Lithuanian music in Oman along with the Omani musicians in the Sultanate,” said Boleta, adding, “from the reaction of the Lithuanian people, I am sure this is the best way to open people’s hearts and get interested to know more about the culture and the country itself.”
After the concert that lasted for more than 2 hours, the audience were so eager to know more about the Omani music instruments and the curious music aficionados were seeking more knowledge and information about the music traditions and the instruments of the Sultanate.
Farah Jamal Ali al Balushi started playing the ‘Qanoon’ at the age of 12 and she was able to finish training in the Royal band for traditional art and music and thanks to her relentless musical journey.
Talal Nasser Hamid al Siyabi, a rhythm player of Eastern, Arabic and traditional instruments, was trained at the Royal Band for Traditional Art and Music and had participated in many events and festivals inside and outside the Sultanate, this includes the Royal Opera House Muscat and Cairo Opera House besides other commendable accolades.
Zara al Yousef is a self-taught pianist who started to play the piano at age of four and graduated with Bachelor in Business Administration. She is at ease with most of the song styles such as classical, Arabic and Turkish. She has performed in a number of countries where she was the only Omani artist along with other Italian artists.