The National Orchestra for the Iraqi Musical Heritage chose the Iraqi favorite song "Hala Beek" by the artist Fadel Awad at the reception of Pope Francesco in the Grand Hall of Honor at Baghdad International Airport, where it became the world's most popular (trend) within a few hours, and the number of views exceeded a hundred million, As well as broadcasting it on 380 Arab and Western satellite channels.

“We have welcomed the Pope in our language, the language of traditional Iraqi music,” says the leader of the band, Maestro Alaa Majeed, expressing his happiness for choosing this song, so that, within minutes, it becomes a beloved global trend, delighting the followers and returning to them the idea of ​​nostalgia for the beautiful Iraq, the Iraq of art and civilization. 

Majeed confirms to Al-Jazeera Net that the idea of ​​receiving the Pope was at first routinely scheduled, to set up traditional Iraqi music only, but - according to him - he felt a lack of something, and it was necessary to say hello in a pure Iraqi accent, which made him rethink the way to celebrate completely.

Music is the answer

He continues: One day before the Pope's visit, I remembered the song "Hala Beek" and wrote it in the form of a note, and sent it to the band members, and asked them to practice the notes, and send their exercises to the group.

Maestro Alaa Majeed restores Iraqi heritage with Iraqi machines (Al-Jazeera)

"Of course, on the next day, when Iraq was on a date with the most important meeting, the band was able, through its leader, to repeat the exercises on the bus heading to Baghdad airport to receive the Pope, and with a voice resembling the aspiration of a bee, all the members were chanting loudly the words of the song inside the bus," Maestro Majeed says to Al Jazeera Net.

We heard the song "Hala Beik", performed by the National Orchestra for the Iraqi Musical Heritage at the reception of His Holiness Pope Francis in Dar Al Salam, Baghdad. This song was trained by the band on the bus as they went to the reception and came out with this beauty and sophistication.

The video is from the account of Maestro Alaa Majeed.

- Ibrahim bin Hatim # Al-Effendi (@al_afndee) March 6, 2021

And he continues, "We dealt with the story with absolute spontaneity and sincere and pure intention. The band members and the musicians from it chanted the words of the song welcoming the Pope with a real welcome, so we succeeded."

Despite the great fascination with receiving the Pope, and the views that exceeded the barrier of 150 million views within a day, and from various parts of the world, and on the screens of more than 35 channels that directly transmitted the welcome, some criticized the band, especially the section that performed the sword dance, considering that These artistic rituals are not part or inherited by the Iraqi people.

In response, Majeed explains that he chose this part and this dance because it is part of an Iraqi heritage full of varieties of dances. Many do not realize that the sword dance is a pure Iraqi folklore practiced by the people of the Iraqi desert, specifically the Samawah valley in southern Iraq and Anbar, in the west of the country, and this dance is by the sword. In particular, it's used to show off and welcome the guest.

The group participated in many Arab festivals (Al-Jazeera)

National Heritage Band

Maestro Alaa Majeed founded the National Orchestra for the Iraqi Musical Heritage in 1996 under the name "Babel Band", and was able to participate in several international forums that underwent many changes and changes after 2003, including the change of a number of supervisors on its management, to be permanently canceled in 2016 due to the absence of Support, lack of resources, and the absence of an important musical figure who adopts the continuity of the band, to be returned to Maestro Alaa Majeed, and reformulated with its current name, which is - according to his view - the most comprehensive and encyclopedic of Iraqi music.

The band focuses in its works and performances on the Iraqi traditional arts and music only, and uses only Iraqi instruments within the band, which are the oud, centaur, nay, qanun, rhythms, and Iraqi singing alone, and the maqam has an important share, in addition to rural and nomadic singing, as the band is established to create and synthesize the Iraqi heritage in a modern way and melodies. A young woman, according to Hendrin Hekmat, managing director of the band and professor of the daisy instrument at the Institute for Musical Studies of Al-Jazeera Net.

"The seventieth Iraqi songs have a distinct flavor and imprint on all Iraqis, and after the start of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) the era of romantic song and the time of passion ended, and a new era began for patriotic songs," noting that the band relies on restoring the spirit of the traditional Iraqi identity from Through music, singing, and even costumes that represent the folkloric form of Iraq.

The band includes players of different ages who combine experience and talent (Al-Jazeera)

One hundred musicians

Hikmat, who has belonged to the band for more than 20 years, notes that the band has returned to the cultural arena under the management of Maestro Alaa Majeed after its cancellation by approximately 35 players, after it had in the 1990s included more than two hundred musicians, to start a new phase and face stronger challenges, stressing that The purpose of the project is national and to show a bright front for the country, and the number has been increased to 57 after adding new players and students after being tested and put under experience, as each of them works hard and lovingly to present their popular heritage.

Ahmed believes that all the group's efforts are voluntary and free (Al-Jazeera)

Law player Abdel Moneim Ahmed believes that the presence of the band is necessary to deliver Iraqi music to the world, despite the fact that they provide all of this, voluntarily and for free, and without any support from an official or unofficial side.

He continues his speech to Al-Jazeera Net that during record periods we were able to present various shows with an Iraqi taste and with the presence of the finest professional musicians, as the band was previously able to present the Iraqi song and music in many international festivals, the most important of which is the Arab Music Festival in Cairo, and today it stands on its feet again to return to the previous one. Her era.

The group includes players of qanun, oud and other musical instruments (Al-Jazeera)

Oud player and Fine Arts Institute student Sarah Karim, 28, compares the band's continuous exercises with intense beehive exercises, as continuous training.

She tells Al-Jazeera Net that these exercises gave us all possible strength to welcome the Pope with dozens of musical instruments, and one day of preparations, and the atmosphere was enthusiastic and full of happiness.

Zahraa Nael confirms that reviving the popular Iraqi song is one of the band's main goals (Al-Jazeera)

As for the young Zahra Nael (18 years), she was able to reserve a seat for her in the national band despite her young age through the law machine that she has trained for more than 3 years, and she believes that the success of the national team lies in the different age groups that it includes and helps it reach different Community layers. And she affirms that reviving the popular Iraqi song, such as "Hala Beik" and other goals of the band, is one of the most prominent goals of the group.