Bassem Hawar, born in 1972 in Baghdad, Iraq, studied Iraqi and Oriental music with a focus on the Djoze at the conservatory in Baghdad. He also studied violin and musicology at the university.

For several years, he taught Djoze, violin, and music theory at the conservatory and music school in Baghdad. He played in various formations, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture such as Al Bayariq, Al Nahar al jadid, Babel, and the State Symphony Orchestra. Together with his brother Saad Mahmood, he founded the group Melodic.

Bassem Hawar – Djoze

Photo Bassem Hawar

Bassem Hawar builds his own instruments. He further developed the Djoze so that it can play all forms of Arabic and European music and is not limited to its traditional scope, the Iraqi Maqam. Instruments built according to his design are now known as “Bassem’s Djoze.”

Bassem has been living in Germany since 2000 and has established himself in the free music scene. He is a co-founder of the ensembles Lagash, Ahoar, and Sidare, with which he has performed internationally. Ahoar won the 1st prize at the regional competition Creole NRW in 2006 and the following year at the federal competition of the World Music Prize.

Currently, Bassem plays in numerous groups of various musical genres, ranging from classical Iraqi Maqam (Duo Melodic, Mesopotamiens) to European medieval music (Sanstierce, La Beltatz), Flamenco (Trio Ziryab), new music, and experimental jazz (Crossover Bagdad Köln). In 2018, he founded the Nouruz Ensemble, which further develops contemporary oriental art music. The ensemble was included in the “Musikkulturen” promotion program of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for the 2019/20 season.

Bassem Hawar is a recipient of the WDR Jazz Prize 2020 in the Musikkulturen category.