The Epic of Gilgamesh in Performance


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The 4,000-year-old Sumerian Babylonian epic poem performed by Abed Azrié

Acclaimed French-Syrian composer and singer Abed Azrié performs his renowned version of the 4,000-year-old Sumerian Babylonian epic poem, the oldest great work of world literature.

Abed performs in Arabic, accompanied by Symo Reyn on the qanun (a traditional Middle Eastern stringed instrument) while Florient Azoulay narrates the epic in English. The English translation will also be shown on screen.

Presented in association the with Foundation for Art and Psychoanalysis

Abed Azrié is a French composer, born in Aleppo, Syria. He has released some twenty music albums, composed music for films and theatre and has published several books, including his well-known adaptation of the Gilgamesh epic into French. He has toured throughout Europe, the United States and Mexico and his music has long enjoyed the admiration of artists as diverse as Yehudi Menuhin, John Adams, Jeff Buckley, Leonard Cohen or René Char.

Focusing on celebrations of freedom and the richness of life, the texts which he selects for his compositions are drawn from oriental and western, ancient and contemporary poetry, and across Arabic, Spanish, French, Venetian, German and English: Adonis, Andrea Zanzotto, Omar Khayyam, Jean Cocteau, Gibran, Hafiz, Goethe, and others.

The music of Abed Azrie could very well be the music of Sumer
Yehudi Menuhin

Abed Azrié is a marvelous singer and author
Leonard Cohen

For the music, the singing, all the loyalty now and forever. Thank you Abed Azrié. 
René Char

As soon as he had entered the room, I felt different, simply by his presence by my side. I had the desire to enter into a state of osmosis with him as one would wish to enter with a beautiful person. I remember that it was the first time I had seen a man sing with a tambourine.
Jeff Buckley

Part of our Season of Sound, the British Library's annual celebration of all things audio.

Explore the British Library’s Sound Archive today and discover over 6.5 million extraordinary recordings covering speech, music, wildlife and the environment.


Name: The Epic of Gilgamesh in Performance
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546