Singer Ahmed bin Ahmed Qassim

The extravagant musician
April 25, 2023

Singer Ahmed bin Ahmed Qassim

The extravagant musician
April 25, 2023

The first of April of each year coincides with the anniversary of the late Yemeni great musician, Ahmed bin Ahmed Qassim (who died in a traffic accident in Dhammar in April 1, 1993).

Fifty-five years is the entire life of the singer, who was born in one of the edges of the city of Aden in 1938, and was able, with much perseverance and learning, to create a leading position for himself in the map of singing, not only in Aden and Yemen, but also in the region.

He loved and adored music, and learned to play the Oud instrument under the hands of his coach musician Yahya Makki, when he was a student at Bazaraa Charity School in the early fifties, when the Aden Musical Symposium was at the height of its glow by which he was greatly influenced. He left Aden for Cairo in 1956 to study music at the Higher Institute of Arabic Music. It was said that the well-known Arab singer, Farid Al-Atrash supported his studying as he got to know him when he visited Aden in the same year and was impressed by his playing and singing.

In 1961 he graduated from the Higher Institute of Music, to return to Aden after that with innovative musical ideas, to constitute a remarkable addition to the lyrical color of Aden, which had begun to flourish through the Musical Symposium and the Musical Association and the contributions of its leaders, such as: Yahya Makki, Khalil Mohammad Khalil, Salem Bamadhaf, and the poet Mohammad Abdu Ghanem, and others.

After his return to Aden, he founded (Ahmed Qasim’s innovative band), in which he introduced some musical instruments that were not used in the city, such as the guitar and the accordion. He sponsored the emerge of the first female singing group of artists in Aden like; (Sabah Monassar, Rajaa Basudan, and Umm Al-Khair Ajami), whom he named as (The cute trio).

Moreover, he formed, with Lutfi Jaafar Aman, an influential duet so that they promoted the Adani music in the city of Aden to the ranks of pioneer innovation. He sang for many composers, including: Mohammad Abdo Ghanem, Saeed Al-Shaibani, Ali Mohammad Luqman, Ahmed Sharif Al-Rifa'ai, Ahmed Al-Jabri, Abdullah Abdul-Karim, Abdu Othman Mohammad, Farid Barakat, and some others.

Among his well-known songs:

"Water and Sand", "My love is brown skin and her Eyes", "In Your Eyelids, Magic Has Settled", "Out of my wish", "My Beloved Is Afraid of Days", "Whenever You Come to My Mind", "You Abandon and Forget Me", "By Accident We Met", "Oh Shame" "Oh my love, you've been gone for a long time", "Oh sweet, long distance", "Aden Aden", "Coffee fields", "I loved her", "My heart's lover fulfilled her promise", "From Odain, O God", "She said to me", “The passion has gone, O beloved,” “What is all this beauty?” “Oh sweet, O green color,” “We have begun,” “Oh, fawn, Passion lyric,” and others.

In addition, Qassim is known as the first Yemeni singer to experience cinematic acting, when he starred in the movie (My Love in Cairo), with the actress (Zizi Al-Badrawi) and the actor (Mahmoud Al-Meligy), in the sixties of the last century.

Singer Ahmed Fathi said about him:

“I got to know the musician Ahmed bin Ahmed Qassim when I was young, when he and many singers from all over Yemen used to come to the city of Hodeida during the concert seasons.

Hodeida city used to host most of the artists of Yemen, north and south, before and after the unification, in a season called the "concert season"; As we owned seven cinemas in the city, all of which were equipped with stages, and it used to host all celebrations of that season".

“It was then, by chance, that I met the late, great Ahmed Qassim. He was unusual singer, in his looks, his appearance, the way he played, and his distinctive voice. He was in fact different from the mainstream, and he encouraged me to move to the city of Aden, and there he sponsored me".

During that period - the late sixties of the last century - a celebration was organized for Ahmed Qassim, with the support of his two great colleagues, the late Mohammad Saad Abdullah and the late Mohammad Murshid Naji, to cover the costs of the Movie that Ahmed Qassim produced in Cairo. That was the first meeting that brought the three of us together in one concert. In fact, my participation was of great benefit to me as I recorded a remarkable presence, although, at that time, I had only memorized three songs, and the audience kept asking me to repeat them whenever I finished, until my presence was confirmed by the audience and I became familiar to them. This was a good opening for me at the beginning of my artistic career. He was an extraordinarily fluent Oud artist, and I learned from him the basics of playing the Oud. His tunes were different from the mainstream. His voice was coherent and beautiful, and his vocal ranges were great.”

The general color of his artistic output is the Arab color in fact, although he composed many local melodies and rhythms. But - on the whole - his color was Arab; When you listen to him - even if you do not know that he is from Yemen - you will say that he is an Arab artist from Egypt, through the method of composing, performing and playing" (1).

Further, the artist and music researcher Essam Khulaidi said about him:

Ahmed Qassim was an extravagant musician, distinguished, and an immortal singer. He is the owner of multiple and many musical preferences, and one of the pioneers of singing who took upon themselves the task of advancing Yemeni music and singing. He established new innovative musical forms, which carried on their sides a depth and a musical dimension with unparalleled connotations and visions, as this is evident in his interest in giving the musical aspect an important role, through which he was able to develop the Yemeni ear and uplift the musical taste and the sense of its expressive value by the Yemeni listener. Many factors and reasons enabled him to successfully achieve that new pioneer role, the most important of which are the following:

His outstanding early talent, his systematic scientific studies, the fertile cultural and artistic climate in the fifties, and the presence of a distinguished group of writers and poets from whom he benefited a lot, led by: the great poet and composer Lutfi Jaafar Aman, Dr. Mohammad Abdu Ghanem, the composer and poet Ali Mohammad Ali Luqman, Professor Mustafa Khader, the delicate poet Ahmed Al-Jabri, the poet Farid Barakat, Dr. Saeed Shaibani, the poet Abdullah Abdul Karim, the Mr. Ali Amman, the Mr. Ahmed Sharif Al-Rifai, the composer and poet Mohammad Saeed Jarada, the revered Mr. Idris Hanbala, the Mr. Abu Bakr Baghdadi, and others, in addition to his distinguished musical instruments which helped him to perform his early modernist and pioneering renaissance and foundational role and musical achievements” (2).

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