Not too long ago a jazzed-up remix of Kendrick Lamar’s resounding hit ‘Alright’ was released by Terrace Martin, now we have a jazz interpretation of Beyoncé’s girl power anthem ‘Run the World (Girls)‘. The source of this unusual remake of Bey’s 2011 hit is Ibrahim Maalouf, a French trumpet guru born in the Lebanese capital Beirut. To flee the civil war that devastated his homeland in the 1980s, Maalouf’s parents emigrated to Paris while he was still just a boy. It was here that he got his musical schooling though most of what he knows about the trumpet he learned from his dad who was himself an acclaimed trumpet player who invented the ‘quarter tone trumpet’. After his time in the Paris music conservatory, Maalouf went on to establish himself as a peerless trumpeter, winning several international competitions and composing for a variety of orchestras. He developed a reputation for fusing classical music with Arabic styles but he has played with a variety of artists from all over the world including Mali’s renowned Salif Keita and French singer-songwriter Jeanne Cherhal.
In September 2015 Ibrahim released two albums simultaneously, one of which was the critically acclaimed ‘Red & Black Light‘. This is one of, if not the, best charting albums in his eight album discography as a solo artist. One of the songs on this release was his take on Beyoncé’s unstoppable self-empowerment chant. While the pop queen’s original bristles with power and ferocity, Maalouf offers us a more melancholic interpretation straddled by echoing guitars and pulsating drums. He threads his horn between these pillars in his inimitable style which bears those dainty Eastern touches. In the newly released video for the song, set 12 years into the future, there are images of an underground uprising, inevitably led by a woman. The group is meeting underground because the powers that be have banned all public gatherings, according to the announcement made by the newscaster in the car radio at the beginning of the clip. The car belongs to two police officers who are presumably out to infiltrate the group. In the end we don’t know if they’ve been genuinely won over by the rebels or are just doing their job.
Miami Based, Internationally Known