LAGASH invites us on an exploration that takes traditional Iraqi music into a contemporary artistic arena where there is room for new interpretation, and where encounters between oriental sounds and structures and western elements are a natural progression.

Two of the four members of LAGASH studied music together at the University of Baghdad, training extensively in both the eastern and western classical traditions. Having regrouped in Europe , they continue to develop their own musical expression based on the foundation of traditional Iraqi music.
LAGASH liberates the traditional folcloristic forms of Iraqi music like the maqam from the rigidity of fixed forms firmly established for it over centuries, and moves the instrumental music - which traditionally takes a back seat to the vocals - into the foreground.

LAGASH, on the other hand, sets the individual elements of the maqamat pieces in unorthodox juxtapositions and extends the range of their tonality . The principle of harmonization - i.e. the composition of independent accompanying instrumental parts - is an additional innovation LAGASH introduces to the traditional music.

As in jazz, LAGASH's music consists of both composed and improvised sections; the jazz influence also resonates in the presence of clarinette and piano in the ensemble. Central to LAGASH's music is the solo instrument djoze (Iraqi knee violin).

The traditional maqam instruments djoze, riq and tabla enter into an unusual but very harmonious relationship with the piano creating a compelling sound which has enjoyed an enthusiastic response from European audiences and Arab listeners alike.

The name of the ancient Mesopotamian city LAGASH was adopted by the group in acknowledgment of the Sumerian culture that thrived over 5,000 years ago in what is now South-Eastern Iraq .



Lagash live