Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ziryab – An Anonymous Personality in European history

Ziryab
A significant personality in Islamic culture remains anonymous in European history inspite of his single handedness in layingdown the groundwork for traditional Spanish music. He was a highly educated North African slave most popularly known as Ziryab or black bird which illustrates the beautiful voice and who was a head figure of the Andalusia music which wasdue to his colour of his skin and the quality of his singing Abu I-Hasan or Ali Ibn Nafi was a Persian or Kurdish musician, singer, composer, poet and also a teacher who worked and lived in Iraq, North Africa for more than thirty years in Andalus of the medieval Islamic period.

Known as a polymath he had vast knowledge in various other fields like geography, astronomy, meteorology, cosmetics, botanic, culinary as well as fashion. He was nicknamed Ziryab probably from a name of black singing bird in Arabic, a gold hunter or gold digger in Persian and is also known as Pajaro Negro, meaning blackbird in Spanish.

At the Umayyad court of Cordoba in Islamic Iberia, Ziryab was very active and received his first notoriety at the Abbasid court in Baghdad in Iraq which was his birthplace, as a great performer and student of the Iranian musician and composer, Ishaq al-Mawsili.

Introduced the Three Course Meal

Ziryab 1
Ziryab was a very talented person of Ishaq al-Mawsili and he left Baghdad at the time of Abbasid caliph al-Ma’mum’s reign and moved to Cordoba in Southern Iberian Peninsula and was accepted as court musician in the court of Abd al-Rahman II of the Umayyad Dynasty.

While he had a weakness for music, Ziryab’s innovation covered a variety of disciplines. It was he who invented numerous dyes and chemicals for clothing, makeup, hygiene, introduced the idea of seasonal fashions and brought about new styles and fabrics to theAndalusia peninsula.

He also introduced the structure of the traditional `three course meal’ of soup, entrée and the dessert and credits goes to him for popularizing shaving and short haircuts as a means of beating the scorching Mediterranean heat.

Developed the World’s First Underarm Deodorant

Ziryab 2
It is also believed that Ziryab had developed the world’s first underarm deodorant as well as an early type of toothpaste which was said to very effective as well as pleasant in taste making him the first person in history who would be smelling good at all time.

According to several historians, Ziryab was very popular for his black colour and his beautiful voice which gave him the nickname. He is also said to have improved the Laud or Oud by adding a fifth pair of strings, using an eagle’s beak or quill instead of a wooden one.

 Moreover he also dyed the four stings in a colour to symbolize the Aristotelian humours while the fifth string represented the soul. It is said that he created a unique style of musical performance and written songs which were performed in Iberia for a very long time. Besides this, he also influenced Spanish music and became the founder of Andalusia music tradition of North Africa.

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