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Ziryab


Abu l-Hasan 'Ali Ibn Nafi' (789–857;Arabic: أبو الحسن علي ابن نافع, زریاب‎‎) was a singer, oud player, composer, poet and teacher, who lived and worked in, Iraq, after that Northern Africa and during more than 30 years, in Andalusia of the medieval Islamic period. He was also known as a polymath, with knowledge in astronomy, geography, meteorology, botanics, cosmetics, culinary art and fashion. His nickname Ziryab comes from the Arabic word for jay-bird زرياب, pronounced "Ziryab", he is also known as Pájaro Negro (blackbird) in Spanish. He was active at the Umayyad court of Córdoba in Islamic Iberia. He first achieved notoriety at the Abbasid court in Baghdad, Iraq his birthplace, as a performer and student of the great Iraqi musician and composer, Ishaq al-Mawsili The Mawsili family was originally from the city of Kufa, Iraq.

Ziryab was a gifted pupil of Ishaq al-Mawsili (d. 850) where Ziryab got his first lessons. He left Baghdad during the reign of the Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun (d. 833) and moved to Córdoba in southern Iberian Peninsula, where he was accepted as court musician in the court of Abd ar-Rahman II of the Umayyad Dynasty (822–52).



  • Titus Burckhardt, "Die Maurische Kultur in Spanien.
  • Flight of the Blackbird Robert W. Lebling Jr., Saudi Aramco World July/August 2003.
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