Bilal Irshed & The Fifth String

fifth stringThe project takes its name from a 9th century Arab musician named Ziryab. He is considered to be the founder of the Andalusian musical tradition in the Arab world and was one of the pioneers of Arab influence on Spanish music. He is also credited for having added a fifth string to the then four-string oud. According to the legend Ziryab coloured the first four strings so that they would symbolise Aristotle’s four temperaments. Then he added a fifth string that would represent the soul. It is from this fifth string that the project draws its inspiration.

The Fifth String was created by Bilal and the music consists of original compositions combined with new arrangements of traditional Middle Eastern tunes. The sound and atmosphere of chamber music was the added to these compositions, serving to create a whole new musical experience and sound.

In 2011 the ensemble recorded and released their first album entitled ‘The Fifth String’. The recording took place in Copenhagen, Nazareth and and Bethlehem, which ensured that both the classical and the Middle Eastern parts were recorded by some of the best performers from both worlds. result was later mixed and mastered in Denmark. In January 2012, The Fifth String gave a very successful concert at Brorson’s Church in Copenhagen celebrating the release of the album.

Current  Line up:

Bilal Irshed – oud  •  Luciano Direnzo – violin  •  Toke Møldrup – cello  •  Joel Gonzalez – double bass  •  Yohan Ramon – percussion  •  Alexander Ølgaard – viola


Watch a short atmospheric video with Bilal Irshed & The Fifth String:


Watch a video clip from one of Bilal Irshed & The Fifth String’s concerts: