Radiodiffusion Internasionaal Annexe

Ja’afar Hassan
June 24, 2008, 7:38 pm
Filed under: Iraq

Once A Day

Oh, What A Joy

Ja’afar Hassan (also spelled Jafar Hassan) was born in the town of Khanaqin, which is in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The majority of the information I was able to find about him, was from his website… Which is in Arabic:

He learned to play the oud (Google translator: “lute autonomous machine”) at a young age. He later studied violin, viola and voice at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad, where he later became a professor and head of the Department of Music. He has also played in neighboring Kuwait and Syria, as well as Yemen where he is a member of the Federation of Yemeni artists.

Ja’afar Hassan was brought to my attention when I received a copy of the Sublime Frequencies’ compilation ‘Choubi Choubi! Folk and Pop Sounds from Iraq’, which features three songs from his album “Let’s Sing Together”. His music sounded unlike anything else of what little I have been able to find from Iraq during that time period (all of which was recorded in France). It is quite unusal, especially if you consider that there is no oud, for which Ja’afar Hassan is known for playing…

There is almost no mention of this album on his website, except only briefly on the biography page (Google translator: “Cylinder issued to him in Berlin entitled ‘to enrich together’.”). Also on his website, there is a page of his press clippings, but there is a 11 year gap from 1966 and 1997.

Also, there is very little information on the record itself. There is no indication of a record lable, but there is a catalog number. On the front cover, there seems to be something covering the right top corner, where the record company logo may have been and was printed over.

The record was most likely pressed in East Berlin, given that Hassan was supposedly a mouthpiece for the Iraqi Socialist movement just a few years before Saddam Hussein came to power. Also, the design of the almost all red cover and the sequence of the catalog number is similar to records from that time period.

But to make matters more puzzling, the liner notes are in Arabic and English:

Ja’afar Hassan is a progressive Iraqi singer who uses songs as a means to express people’s joyness, victories and sadnesses… He sings for the telling masses, thus giving his songs a new spirit… That is what we call political songs. He is considered to be one of the first young Iraqi singers who devoted their songs to serve the mentioned themes

Which begs the question, who was the intended audience for this record? Was it released, or at least distributed, in Iraq? Or, perhaps was this release for Iraqis living outside of Iraq?

If you have any further information, please contact me.

Thanks to Mark Gergis for his help and information.

Catalog number 8 95 012. No other information.



oh my god i love this guy. a little bit of bachs fugue in whatever key . amazing

Comment by louis beresford

The Choubi Choubi compilation is one of my favourites. Any chance I could listen to the Ja’affar’s album?

Comment by Dmitry I. Globa

Great that you have managed to gather all this imformation. I would also like to hear the rest of the album. These five tunes have really impressed me.

Comment by Olli Rautiainen
is what you are looking for…

Comment by suna

Found the record today at a flea market in Berlin. If anyone wants, I could try to rip it…

Comment by marcus


Comment by eduardo

Hey Marcus! I would like to hear the album. I hope you’ll see my comment. Thank you very much 😉

Comment by Hakim

yes please!!

Comment by joseph

Hello. I still havent ripped the Album (Duh! I know.. I shall do that!)
But I met up with a singer from Iraq here in Sweden, also named Jafar Hasan, thinking it was the same as this album is from. He told me there are 3 Jafar Hasan who are singers from Iraq, and this (who released the album let´s sing together) is the Kurdish one (the other 2 singers named Jafar Hasan are arabic).Anyways, this Jafar Hasan (kurdish) was a communist and had to leave the country during the Saddam regime, but has since the invasion moved back and now lives in Kiruk. He is very old, maybe 70 years or so (arabic singer Jafar Hasan told me when I met up with him).
Cool thing is that I think I might have found his youtube chanel:
Take a look. I´m not too good in hearing the diffrence between arabic music and kurdish, but from the songs and videos on the chanel they seem to have a strong leftish standpoint. Then again, it could be the channel of one of the Arabic Jafar Hasan.
/ Marcus

This song from the youtube chanel is absolutly top class

Comment by Marcus

Hi Marcus. Thanks for info. I just managed to find this album for a reasonable price (50€) and I found it really enjoyable.

Comment by Marko-V

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