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Om qiyan
About qiyan

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About Qiyan

Qiyan were highly educated slave-women av varying ethnic backgrounds who entertained at the muslim courts in former times. These women were highly prized poets, singers, instrumentalists and dancers, and were responsible for performing and spreading the works of the composers  of the period. 

As the Christian warlords conquered more and more of the muslim territories in Spain, i.e. al-Andalus/ Sepharad, qiyan were captured and taken back to the courts of Europe as booty.

"The first troubadour", William of Aquitaine (969 - 1030), grew up among qiyan and was surely influenced by them. The troubadour movement which started in Provence contributed to spreading their influence to the rest of Europe, as these travelling musicians moved from court to court   

Much more could be said about qiyan, but perhaps we should leave it at that! Suffice it to say that these our predecessors have forged and handed down a strong tradition of improvisation  and renewal. We like to think that we sail in their wake, sending on new ripples to the future...