Qwest TV (qwest.tv) is a celebration of unique talents, traditions, and rhythms. With more than a thousand music-related experiences on offer, the video streaming service strives to be the world’s home for jazz, soul, funk, classical, and world music. Co-founded and curated by Quincy Jones, the channel preserves the richness of history, ...
Music cannot be confined. That’s the message jazz composer and multi-instrumentalist Ibrahim Maalouf conveys in one of his first major performances this year, a lavishly shot performance at the Arènes de Nîmes, a Roman-era amphitheater. The video experience is a Qwest TV Original, only the third in Qwest’s history, perfectly capturing the streaming video service’s devotion to great music that bounds across borders and genres.
“This time has been challenging for musicians, for music lovers, for all of us. We need music’s guidance and comfort now more than ever,” reflects Qwest TV co-founder and CEO Reza Ackbaraly. “Yet the challenges have pushed us toward greater creativity and allowed us to work with innovative artists like Ibrahim in wonderful new ways. We are thrilled to be able to collaborate on this unique concert together.”
Exclusive to Qwest TV, this Original, Ibrahim Maalouf - A few melodies at Amphitheatre of Nîmes will debut on November 5, 2020 at 9pm via the service’s SVOD platform worldwide and its live linear channels (available on Samsung TV+ and Huawei in Europe), the day before the release of Maalouf’s latest album, 40 Melodies, a series of pieces to mark his 40th birthday.
“We have only done two Qwest TV Originals prior to this work with Ibrahim,” explains Ackbaraly. “Both celebrate Qwest TV’s co-founder Quincy Jones. One presents Jones’s 85th birthday at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2018 and the second a gala concert in Paris in his honor. We’re inspired to bring more experiences like this one to our viewers, especially in a time when other musical events are limited.” (Interested viewers can check them out on Qwest TV’s SVOD platform for free.)
The limitations of lockdown inspired the Original’s format. The venue had to be outside. There would be no cheering crowds, but there would be a small collective of musicians, pouring everything into their performance. “We decided to do a concert that was ‘unconfined,’” says Maalouf, “kind of like the way people do unplugged concerts.”
Though no audience was present, Maalouf fills the space--one of Europe’s most stunning and best preserved amphitheaters that regularly held 24,000 spectators--with his wide-ranging music. Drawing on his roots in Lebanon, yet tirelessly incorporating impactful globe-trotting sounds, jazz idioms, and pop hooks, Maalouf has forged a stellar reputation as a performer, selling out major European and American venues, and as a film composer. At the peak of his powers for this Qwest TV concert, he makes the grand venue vibrate with life.
“The Arena at Nîmes is enormous,” Maalouf recounts. “Yet the void created by the absence of an audience, strangely and paradoxically, filled the space.” Music helped resolve the paradox, moving through moods and varied instrumentation and visual settings. Some moments are contemplative, with a sharp emotional focus on Maalouf’s swirling trumpet lines. Some are sweeping and celebratory, with a socially distanced orchestra of students rounding out Maalouf’s bold compositions.
“We wanted to convey all the colors and energies of this remarkable artist and his work,” says Ackbaraly. “He refuses to be confined to a single style or approach, and this is the same way we at Qwest TV experience the world’s music, as a force for change and inspiration that goes beyond a single genre or sound.”
About Qwest TV
Qwest TV (qwest.tv) is a celebration of unique talents, traditions, and rhythms. With more than a thousand music-related experiences on offer, the video streaming service strives to be the world’s home for music excellence. Co-founded and curated by Quincy Jones, the channel preserves the richness of history, while reflecting the present-day beauty and reality of culturally and racially diverse people.
About Ibrahim Maalouf
One of the most popular instrumentalists and composers in France today, Maalouf was born in Beirut, Lebanon, a place and culture that continues to inspire him. He has released 15 albums, composed 10 orchestral works, and scored numerous popular feature films and documentaries, winning awards for his compositions and scores across Europe. He has collaborated with everyone from Sting to Amadou & Mariam. His latest album, 40 Melodies (release: November 6, 2020), pares his musical vision down to its roots: Maalouf’s trumpet, his close collaborator Francois Delporte’s guitar, and 40 melodies, each with a tale of its own.