His voice training took place through Qur'anic recitation in which fine precision in achieving correct tones and articulation of words is required. As a young man, Saadoun often substituted for the muezzin at his neighborhood mosque in the Al-Fadhl section of old Baghdad, calling Muslims to prayer. Having internalized the spiritual essence of a Middle Eastern/Islamic aesthetic, Saadoun has performed the music of Iraq and other parts of the Arab Middle East since childhood.
In the United States Saadoun pursued studies in acting and graduated from the Goodman Theatre at the Art Institute of Chicago. His many accomplishments as an actor included playing Dr. Aziz to Lillian Gish's Mrs. Moore in A Passage to India and working with such theatrical talents as Morris Carnovsky in Mother Courage and King Lear and Sam Wanamaker in MacBeth.
But throughout his life and studies, music has been a focal point for his intense musical energies. Saadoun thus decided to learn the oud or unfretted version of the lute, initially to better understand the musical structures of Middle Eastern music ? specifically the maqamat or modal structures, with their distinct ascending and descending scales ? and eventually to provide a reliable support for his singing voice (not easy, when one has perfect pitch). Saadoun was fortunate to be able to learn from close personal friends such as the pre-eminent Nubian musician Hamza El-Din, the Lebanese musician George Khayyat, and the Syrian oud-player Hussny El-Zaim..
He has performed at concerts and night clubs in many parts of the United States. Saadoun's unique musical expression emanates from the depth of his soul and transcends all geographical boundaries. A voice that stirs profound emotions and a technique that is at once powerful and sensuous represent the highest level of artistic expression.
You can sample Saadoun's music at http://www.saadounal-bayati.com/
AMG EXPERT REVIEW: "When Baghdad native Saadoun Al-Bayati moved from Iraq to Chicago ? a city that has attracted its share of Middle Eastern immigrants ? he continued to perform traditional Iraqi music. It was in 1973 that Samar Enterprises, a small indie label, released Songs of Iraq, which finds the Iraqi vocalist favoring a minimalist approach and employing only a few instruments. Al-Bayati's only accompaniment consists of percussion and an oud -- because the accompaniment is so spare, Al Bayati's vocals are really isolated. He doesn't have a lot of instruments to hide behind, but then, he doesn't need them. Al-Bayati is obviously a fine singer, and his soulfulness is impossible to miss on 'Samra,' 'Iraqi 6,' and other selections. Here's the bad news: this superb LP has long been out of print and has yet to be reissued on CD. So if you're able to track down a copy, grab it immediately." ~ Alex Henderson (2001)
Check out the artist's website:
1. Gypsy I
2. (a) Marrayna bikum, Hamid (b) Faug al-malama
3. Samra'u min qawm Isa
4. Iraqi 6
5. (a) Lamma anakhu (b) Faug an-nakhl faug
6. Gypsy II