Artist: Youmna Saba
Title: Wishah وِشاح
Formats: CD & Digital Download
Catalogue Number: T33.22
Street date: 6th October, 2023
1. Akaleel أكاليل – you can listen to this track here
2. Ba’oud بعوض
3. Al khayal الخيال
4. Ahad أحد
5. Tareeq طريق
Written and performed by Youmna Saba
Recorded and mixed by Fadi Tabbal at Tunefork Studios, Beirut
Produced by Youmna Saba and Fadi Tabbal
Mastered by Stephan Mathieu
Photography & design by Jon Wozencroft
Published by Touch Music/Fairwood Music (UK) Ltd.
Wishah (‘Veil’ in Arabic) is a composition in five stages, written by Youmna Saba between 2021 and 2022, for voice, oud and electronics.
Following her previous solo works Njoum (2014) and Arb’een (40) (2017), this album marks a significant turning point in Saba’s journey. Created after leaving Beirut and settling in Paris, Wishah reveals a profound shift in her musical expression, informed by rigorous research in the sonic properties of sung Arabic phonemes and their role in shaping synthesised electronic sounds.
The album employs a digital extension for the oud, a concept developed by Saba in her research project Taïma’. This device enhances the oud’s sonic range, seamlessly integrating synthesised electronics. It also amplifies subtle, often overlooked sounds generated during playing, such as resonances and fingerboard friction.
The composition is organised into five distinct stages, each contributing to a process of gradual revelation. As the tracks unfold, they strip away layers of constructed emotions and perceptions that have been intricately woven over time, to expose a space that no longer exists. Wishah is a farewell to home.
The oud digital extension used on this record was developed by Nicolas Canot, and produced by Césaré – Centre National de Création Musicale, as part of the research project Taïma’, by Youmna Saba
Youmna Saba (Beirut 1984) is a musician, composer and musicologist. Her current research focuses on instrument and space resonances in different sonic and musical contexts. With four albums to this date, she has collaborated with musicians of different musical expressions such as Kamilya Jubran, Floy Krouchi, Mike Cooper and the Neue Vocalsolisten ensemble, and has taken part in numerous artist residencies. She is the laureate of the first sound residency at Quai Branly Museum, Paris (2022-2023) with her research project and installation “La Réserve des Non-Dits”, now on view at the museum; and a laureate of the music residency program at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (2020-2021).
Utility Fog (Australia):
And finally, venerable UK sound-art label Touch brings us our third Lebanese artist tonight, with a remarkable new work from Beirut’s Youmna Saba, now based in Paris. Saba is an accomplished oud player, found on many other artists’ releases (such as Oiseaux-Tempête). On Wishah her oud’s sound is technologically extended, to amplify every string squeak and body tap, and further integrated with sympathetic electronics. The works range from abstract processed sound to delicate oud fingerpicking, and most tracks patiently reach a place where Saba brings in her emotive vocals. It’s an immersive, moving listening experience.
Musique Journal (France):
Beyond the Coda (France):
“Wishah” , on Touch, is the last album marking a significant turning point in Youmna Saba‘s journey. Created after leaving Beirut and settling in Paris, “Wishah” reveals a profound shift in her musical expression, informed by rigorous research in the sonic properties of sung Arabic phonemes and their role in shaping synthesised electronic sounds. The album employs a digital extension for the oud, a concept developed by Saba in her research project Taïma’.
As well you have to visit Youmna Saba’s installation concerning “La réserve des non-dits” at the Musée du quai Branly in Paris. The artist went to capture the breath of musical instruments in the heart of the “instrument tower”, a protected and optimized environment to ensure the proper conservation of the Museum’s collection of musical instruments. The installation offers a zoom on the micro-sounds emitted by these instruments in their passive state, their resonances, their voices. It is a way of revealing the inaudible, of exhuming traces of sounds and other residual images, of transcribing their unwritten stories, the information that these instruments capture and record in their bodies, as close as possible to their material.
[“Wishah”, sur Touch, est le dernier album marquant un tournant important dans le parcours de Youmna Saba. Après avoir quitté Beyrouth et s’être installée à Paris, sa pièce “Wishah” révèle un changement profond dans son expression musicale. Cette pièce relève d’une recherche rigoureuse sur les propriétés sonores des phonèmes arabes chantés et leur rôle dans la formation de sons électroniques synthétisés. L’album utilise une extension numérique pour le oud, un concept développé par Saba dans son projet de recherche Taïma’.
Egalement visiter l’installation de Youmna Saba concernant “La réserve des non-dits” au Musée du quai Branly. L’artiste est allée capter le souffle des instruments de musique au cœur de la “tour des instruments”, un environnement protégé et optimisé pour assurer la bonne conservation de la collection d’instruments musicaux du Musée. L’installation propose un zoom sur les micro-sons qu’émettent ces instruments dans leur état passif, leurs résonances, leurs voix. C’est une manière de révéler l’inaudible, d’exhumer les traces de sons et autres images résiduelles, de retranscrire leurs histoires non-écrites, les informations que ces instruments captent et enregistrent dans leurs corps, au plus près de leur matière.]