Filed under: Syria
Officially known as the Syrian Arab Republic (Arabic: الجمهورية العربية السورية ), Syria (Arabic: سوريا) is a country in Southwest Asia, bordering Lebanon, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Israel to the southwest, Jordan to the south, Iraq to the east, and Turkey to the north. The modern state of Syria was formerly a French mandate and attained independence in 1946, but can trace its roots to the fourth millennium BC. Its capital city, Damascus, was the seat of the Umayyad Empire and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Empire.
There is not a whole lot of information available about the music of Syria. The country has been fairly alienated by The West for quite sometime. Only recently has some music outside of the scope of traditional Classical Arab music is only just now beginning to show up on the Western radar with artists such as Hal Asmar Ellon and Omar Souleyman.
I have not been able to find any information about the Damascus Music Group, or their conductor Selim Sarwat. I do know that they released at least one other album. I was able to find a brief article on the label – Byblos:
Founded in 1966 by Mozart Chahine, the company Byblos Records specializes in traditional music of the World Near East. Long before the advent of World Music and enthusiasm of the public for this style, Byblos Records distributed throughout the world for the vocal and instrumental works by artists whose fame was largely beyond the borders, such as Munir Bashir, the teacher the oud or Nidaa Abu Mrad, the champion of Sufi music. Byblos Records do not forget the new generation less and produces regularly young composers who brings a touch of modernism to the repertoire of their elders, as Nabiha Yazbeck, Guy Manoukian or Omar Bashir. Byblos Records also continues to repeat beautiful recordings, originally on vinyl, which are moving testimony to the diversity of musical genres that prevail in Lebanon and the Arab world (classic hymns, dancing and mouachahat). Result, thirty CD, which are an invitation to discover the various facets of musical creation of the region.
If you have any information, please contact me.
Catalog number BL 904 on Byblos Records of Damascus, Syria, released 1977.