Lebanese violinist and composer Layale Chaker's musical world lies at the intersection of classical contemporary music, Jazz, Arabic Music, and improvisation. Her music, described as "entrancing", "innovative and vibrant", "pure poetry", and "gorgeous", defies genre while feeling perfectly at home in jazz, world, and classical festivals and series in major venues worldwide. As a violinist and composer, she has received commissions and presented performances and projects around Europe, the Middle-East, North and South America and Asia, as a soloist and with her ensemble Sarafand.
Layale released the album Inner Rhyme on In a Circle Records in 2019 with Sarafand. Dedicated to the sounds, rhythms, rhymes, shapes and forms of Arabic poetry, Inner Rhyme has been lauded by Songlines, NPR, the BBC Music Magazine, The New York Times, The Strad, Strings Magazine, and Jazz World, among others.
Programmes and projects
Suites for Sleeping Children
Ruinous Gods: Suites for Sleeping Children is a new opera-theatre piece about seven displaced children who have uppgivenhetssyndrom, or resignation syndrome, a rare trauma response to the state of living in the limbo of displacement.
“Moonchild: Songs from the Hinder Sea” is a program that explores the Baroque and Renaissance soundscape on different shores of the Mediterranean Sea, highlighting contrasts and similarities between seemingly disparate cultures, going back to their shared birthplace; that Hinder Sea - one of the Mediterrenean Sea's older denominations. The programme includes works arranged by Layale Chaker for baroque instrumentation, as well as a piece especially conceived by Chaker for Baroque improvising ensemble.
In Memoriam Edward Said
Création de Layale Chaker - 2021-2022
A 36-minute staged performance for string ensemble, with electronic tape of exclusive recordings from piano recitals by Edward Said at the American University of Beyrouth and at Princeton University. The disembodied sounds of Said's performance are intertwined with live music performed by 4 musicians who are gathered around an empty piano, creating resonance and counterpoint to their playing and to their voices.
Layale Chaker and her band Sarafand present their debut album Inner Rhyme, original works woven as a suite exploring the aesthetics of Arabic poetry. The works unveil musical threads that are mapped through the rhythmical cycles of the twelve classical Arabic poetic meters, the fluidity of oral and free forms, the abstraction of language into the physical contour of verses and the percussive potential of words. Beyond expression, the composition process captures the shape and essence of epic testimonials on life, death, war and love that make the heart of Arabic poetry.
“ Haunting yet quietly rigorous… Often there seems to be more breath than voice in these wordless poems, though other times Ms. Chaker draws full-bellied sounds, or sketches out silvery arpeggios.”
— Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim,
“... A beguiling debut that intertwines bright and beautiful strands... gorgeous, wine-dark
— Robin Hilton,
“Chaker, for her part, plays as one might sing, exhaling through every note with lyrical assurance. Despite the formidable control with which it's rendered, the music wraps its flesh around a fiercely driven nervous system.”
— Tyran Grillo