Sunday, 30 April 2017

Z is for...Zaghareet...and...Zellige....



is for

Zaman, a band from Palestine. Their music is a fusion of Arabic and Spanish and Roma. More about them here







Zahraa Berro, a child artiste from Lebanon, with Mawtini, which you’ve heard from Elissa and Faia before in this A-Z series.  Zahraa has a crystal clear voice, and her rendition is moving.  Though I don’t like the drama with the rose and the sound effects – imho they are redundant and a distraction. Anyhoo. I liked this version, children singing always move me, whatever the level of talent, and this little girl is talented beyond doubt. Have a listen



Zaghareet - (singular zagharout) meaning ululation.  Performed as an expression of joy, to celebrate an occasion and/or welcome/felicitate a person, all through the MENA region. 


As an interesting aside, Bengalis also ululate at weddings and religious/celebratory events just like the Arabs. Common practice in some other parts of Africa also. I understand both ancient Egyptians and Sumerians ululated, the practice really goes back deep into antiquity.





Zellige





Zellige is the name given to Moroccan decorative ceramic mosaics. The patterns are abstract and repetitive - in accordance with Islamic principles. Most of them are based on the geometry of the circle. Mosaics are nothing new, of course, used well before the advent of Islam.

Roman mosaic from the 2nd century found in a wealthy urban
residence.  Villa of the Birds, Kom al Dikka, Alexandria, Egypt.


Detail of Byzantium era mosaic. Madaba Archaeological Park.
Madaba, Jordan.


The use of glazed ceramics in architecture was established in Persia by 6th century BCE.  Mosaics existed in pre-Islamic Persia by the 3rd century, and in Rome/Byzantium even before that.  

Zellige mosaic in the Alhambra Palace. Note the strapwork weaving
over and under each other. Complex! Granada, Andalusia, Spain.

Moroccan zellige was first developed around a thousand years ago – the Almoravid rulers introduced these mosaic tiles in mid-11th century.   The colour palette was broadened under Merinid rulers in the 13th century and the zellige mosaics reached unsurpassed heights in Andalusia, in the buildings of Granada and Cordoba, by the mid-14th century.   

Detail of zellige mosaic. Royal Palace, Seville. Spain.

Zellige making is incredibly fiddly – a mind boggling combo of art and science and inspired.  First the tiles are made in a range of colours/glazes.  Then a master-cutter wields a heavy hammer-chisel hybrid (menqash) with supreme finesse to cut out the tiny pieces (tesserae in English, furmah in Arabic). 

Detail of mosaic. Note the strapwork radiates out from a central
eight point star. Alhambra Palace, Granada, Andalusia, Spain.

Floor inset, based on Moroccan Zellige. Beit al Quran Museum, 
Manama, Bahrain.



Detail of above, showing geometric pattern. Note the presence
of the 8-point star in the interstices.


The required pieces are then assembled face down from a central point onwards to ensure a smooth, even surface for the front of the finished mosaic. Not a single mismatch in colour, not one wrong placement, otherwise the pieces don’t fit, not the slimmest margin for error.  Takes the phrase “working blind” to a whole new level, doesn’t it?


Once the mosaic pattern is assembled, it is moistened, a mixture of backing material is poured into the frame and left to set.  When set, the zellige is removed from the frame and taken for installation. This clip illustrates the process -









~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~



So that completes my A-Z 2017 - as in all other years, I have had a super duper fun time, both writing and reading. I hope you too have had a pleasant time here.


An apology on the length of the posts is in order. I did try some major culling though, oodles of stuff left out - a heap of musicians, all literature, mother-of-pearl inlay, the internet, woodwork, parks, the importance of water, the month of Ramadan...uff, chop chop chop the whole time and even then my posts were humongous. But I hope I've been able to get across at least a part of the vibrancy and beauty and diversity of this culture I'm privileged to see up close.


Leaving you with this song by Oum, "Here" from her album Zarabi -






'Here, my eyes have seen grace...
Here, we found peace...
Here, the Eden where we got lost,
Here, we got lost...'



A tad melodramatic in ordinary convo, but you get my general drift...


To each one of you who came along with me on this exploration, for a few steps, or the entire way - a big, fat thank you for your patience and your support! Or as the Arabs would put it ~



Alf shukr! wa ma'a salaama! 







Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2017 with a final round of thanks and applause


for the Creator of the Challenge

Arlee Bird @ Tossing it Out

     
and 

Co-hosts

Alex J. Cavanaugh @ Alex J. Cavanaugh

J
eremy Hawkins @ Hollywood Nuts

Heather M. Gardner The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Zalka Csenge Virág @ The Multicolored Diary

John Holton @The Sound of One Hand Typing


J Lenni Dorner @ Blog of J. Lenni Dorner









56 comments:

  1. Good grief her voice is gorgeous. How does the entire world not know of her?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! My feeling entirely! Hang on...do you mean Zahraa or Oum...? could apply equally to both :) :)

      Delete
  2. Beautiful voices and beautiful mosaics. Thank you for introducing me to so many new things, i hope you will continue to post all of the stuff you didn't get to during this month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for being here throughout. I'll probably find some way to sneak in some more lengthy posts about the stuff that got left out :)

      Delete
  3. I have loved your A-Z posts. I have learnt, I have marvelled. Megathanks.
    I had always associated ululation with funerals rather than celebrations, and am glad to have my knowledge expanded. Again.
    Love that voice. And agree about the rose malarkey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blew me away when I first heard ululations in sub Saharan Africa as a child! :) But I've always heard it associated with celebrations rather than sombreness. I had no idea that some of us humans ululate for funerals, thanks for telling me!
      And thank you also for your presence and encouragement here throughout the A-Z, it makes such a huge difference if there are people cheering from the sidelines :)

      Delete
  4. Z is for Zero left. but I hope that is not so. Let me ad you ended this challenge stellarly. Thank you for your effort.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Martin for your encouragement and motivation, much valued. I'm glad you enjoyed my efforts.

      Delete
  5. It's been a pleasure to read through April.
    This last post excels all expectations.
    Wonderful music and mosaics. Well done and thank you for sharing all your information with us.

    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Yvonne for your support throughout. It's been a great month!

      Delete
  6. Last letter of the alphabet so I came by, Nila. Once I get blogging again in May, I'll come by and check out some of this music. Sounds wonderful. The pictures really added a lot to the post, too. Thanks for the time you've put into your posts.

    Denise :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had great fun writing them! Turned out too long no matter what I did, how much I chopped off. :) The music-hunt was my fav part...Thanks for coming by at such a busy time for you.

      Delete
  7. Well, Native American culutres also ululate as a sight of excitment. That's interesting how many cultures from so different parts of the world do that.

    Let me congratulate you for completing the challenge. It was a good one, I loved 'travelling' the arab countries (and cultures) with you.
    Thanks so much for sharing your experience on something that we in the Western world often know so little about.

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - 1940s Film Noir

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't know that about the Native Americans - it reinforces the idea that the first civilisations ululated and then took the practice along to wherever they migrated, wow!

      Thank you for reading,commenting and keeping the challenge rewarding.

      Delete
  8. Hi Nila - this has been an outstanding series - and as I said I'll be back and go through the posts methodically and listen to the music and see the videos - quite an exceptional expose of Arabiana ... I am so looking forward to my run through.

    Would love to see some more of those parts you missed out ... or shorter half length posts spread out into a series ...

    Thank you so much a delight of a theme - cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/z-is-for-zebra-zoo-and-zedland.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your support Hilary!I am seriously thinking of working the parts I missed out into the blog in some format...pity to let the research go waste :p

      Am just back from the local poetry event, and still a bit groggy :) will be catching up on everybody's Ys and Zs a little later.

      Delete
  9. Wonderful "Z" themes. Congratulation on finishing the A-Z and thanks for sharing the information on the mosaic tile which are so lovely.

    http://sagecoveredhills.blogspot.com/2017/04/z-is-for-zodiac.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The mosaics are indeed mind blowing. Thank you for stopping by.

      Delete
  10. Perfect Z post! I'm glad I found your blog.
    Finding Eliza

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is really the highest compliment I could have hoped for. Thank you.

      Delete
  11. Well, this has been an amazingly informative month of blogging! Congratulations on making it through and thanks for the interesting and thought-provoking facts!

    As an aside, don't you love onomatopoeia? I remember the 'ululululu' sound many of my older female relatives made during Durga Puja. Imagine my surprise and amusement to learn it's called 'ululating'!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally love onomatopoeia and other sundry delish things done with language! Thanks for visiting and keeping ye old morale high :)

      See you around, definitely at WEP and hopefully before then too.

      Delete
  12. Another wonderful post to round off this amazing and informative series. So much beauty, so much diversity, so much goodness!

    Let me be another voice that encourages you to post all you cut out. I'd certainly love to read it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for being here and for your very generous support throughout!

      And for the encouragement to write more of the same :)

      Delete
  13. A colourful end to a fascinating and informative series for which I thank you most sincerely. Thanks also for your visits to Amble Bay. The locals will miss you I'm sure!

    Z- It's farewell to Amble Bay!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to miss the locals from Amble Bay for sure! Yours was one of the highlights of this A-Z for me, loved the quiet brilliance of your flash fiction.

      Thank you for being here.

      Delete
  14. Beautiful and brilliant ! Thanks for opening up the treasures of a whole new world to me. Have really enjoyed my visits here.
    Congratulations on a very successful and a very lovely A to Z.
    Love and best wishes,
    Moon
    https://aslifehappens60.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you dear. Glad you enjoyed them.

      Delete
  15. Your talent for bringing such amazing wonders to our eyes and ears cannot be praised enough. Your blog posts have such beauty. Thank you - it has brought me such pleasure to visit throughout April :)
    http://pempispalace.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/z-is-for-zola-zenith.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for that very generous compliment! April has been an intense and fun month all round.

      Delete
  16. Congrats on completing a-to -z with aplomb and grace. April was Arab education month. I need to Re-read and explore more. Thanks so much for brightening each day. Now rest!! You earned it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for being here and for the encouragement! Rest is a couple days away, have some catching up to do :)

      Delete
  17. Thank you Nilanjana for sharing such beautiful insights on Arabic culture.
    Thank you for regularly dropping by my blog. Congrats on finishing the A to Z Challenge. Every post was wonderful

    A to Z Reflections: Looking Back In Time

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It's been a fun month all round. Glad you enjoyed the posts...

      Delete
  18. Congrats on a brilliant series of posts - I can only imagine the level of research that went into them. Those geometric patterns are truly amazing - so complex. Congrats on reaching the end!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The mathematical principles underpinning them was only understood in the 20th century, would you believe? Yet the Arabs/Muslims have been producing them based on a string and pencil for a thousand years, what else to do but marvel?

      Thank you for your visits and comments here, your blog is an A-Z discovery for me.

      Delete
  19. I think I've saw some of those Zellige mosaics in some of my Moroccan friends' homes.
    Glad to see you finish the challenge.

    http://theglobaldig.blogspot.com/2017/04/z-is-for-zealous-book-tag-atozchallenge.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very likely. Moroccan mosaics are made and used quite widely there. Thanks for visiting!

      Delete
  20. Loved the Zellige mosiac bit on this post a lot Nilanjana - awesome work in sharing this!

    And the music and voices are mesmerising!!!
    Congrats for making it to the finishing line! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  21. I wouldn't worry too much about the length of your posts. They were very interesting and extremely educational.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The recommended word count for the A-Z is 300 or something...mine were way, way over that mark...even after trimming :) had a nerve wracking time editing stuff! thanks for the reassurance. And for reading.

      Delete
  22. Wonderfully done! I still have to go back and read most of them, and I will. You worked so hard to get all this information out there, thank you! Love the art of the mosaics. The nine pointed star represents the Baha'i Faith - I have them everywhere.
    Such beauty, talent and great contributions to all cultures!
    Now, take a break, you've earned it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Yolanda! The beauty they created and continue to create mesmerises me.

      I think the 'odd'-pointed stars have a gravity and delicacy that the 'even'-pointed ones don't possess, both are beyond beautiful. I didn't know that 9-pointed star represents the Baha'i faith - thank you for telling me!

      The A-Z upends my routines simply because of the time zones :) getting back to normal now :)

      See you soon!

      Delete
  23. You hit the jackpot with Z words. Nice job!

    Congratulations on not just completing the 2017 successfully, but doing it with informative high quality posts throughout April. Thanks for being a part of the Challenge once again.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for creating and hosting the Challenge! The A-Z is an integral part of my April, can't imagine the blogging world without it, and hope to be part of it again in the coming years.

      Delete
    2. Congratulations Nilanjana for successfully completing the challenge. And a special thank you for bringing us closer to Arabic culture! Enjoyed all your post...my favorite were about oman and Jordan...they made me nostalgic!
      Lets keep in touch.
      -----------------
      Anagha From Team Mocktailmommies

      Delete
    3. Thanks Anagha! Both were amazing places to visit. Glad you enjoyed them. Yes, please! to being in touch :) See you around.

      Delete
  24. I always wondered if that ululation had a name. And now I know. The mosaics are beautiful as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In Bengali it is actually called 'ulu' short and simple. Onomatopoeia does the trick.

      Delete
  25. Wow. The most epic Z post I've read this year. Seriously? That was an awesome bit of information/music/images.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for calling it a 'bit' and 'epic,' felt reassuring, :D and thank you for being here.

      Delete
  26. Such a wonderful way to wrap up the A to Z challenge, Nilanjana! I will be going back and re-reading the ones I missed when I have time. Well done!

    Emily | My Life In Ecuador

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thank you for all the beautiful music, art and culture, Nila. Your posts were educational and fascinating. No worries about the length. Well worth the time. Congratulations on completing the challenge successfully!

    ReplyDelete
  28. No need to apologise. I've enjoyed your posts, and, as you I've had a great time around here.
    -----
    Eva - Mail Adventures

    ReplyDelete