The "muwashshaha" is essentially a poetic-improvisatory vocal genre, with origins in medieval Spain. This is a very "Arabic" performance, concentrating primarily on styles outlined in medieval Spanish texts, but continued in present day Syria.
The Al Turath Ensemble of Aleppo is considered to be one of the most prestigious musical groups in Syria, since it upholds the roots of tradition. It was founded in 1954 by Sabri Mudallah, and at one time or another, the most important singers from Aleppo have been part of it. In 1985 Mohammed Hammadye took over as leader and expanded the vocal group by adding an instrumental one. In its repertoire the group includes the moaxajas and traditional songs of Aleppo, as well as songs rooted in Sufi mysticism, and popular songs. The Ensemble´s fame has been fully recognized through its participation in many international festivals. Al Turath's motto is "art for art's sake", as in their eyes music is the measure of human civilization.
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