Group seeks to open the eyes of Arab hearts through oriental quarter-note melodies.
The captivating music emanates from a humble room in a quiet suburb of Beirut. Music made uniquely “oriental” by its use of quarter notes, the sounds created by the musicians practicing inside are different from ones a Western ear would be used to.
Well suited to stringed instruments such as the oud and violin, the melody is surprising to hear emanate from an organ and piano. With the mere roll of a dial, modern electronics can recreate the notes—but not without the skill testifying to the musicians’ talent.
The quality draws in neighbors occasionally peering through the door.
Boutros Wehbe, a warm, cheerful man in his 50s, is one of the founders of I Can See, a music group set up two years ago with the aim of preserving the traditional forms and styles of Lebanese music.
“It was a dream for me,” he said, “to find musicians like these guys to play oriental music within the churches.”
“These guys” are not only professionally trained—they are also legally blind.
Wehbe, however, is fully sighted but a self-confessed untrained singer. Despite being the composer of two evangelical worship CDs, he is unable to read music. The words and notes he weaves together are all created in his head. But this only amplifies the professionalism and expertise of the others, displayed in their ability to quickly pick up on his ideas and make his creations a reality.
Each musician comes from a background of music training mostly within the context of Lebanon’s schools for the blind.
The group includes Milios Awad (“The Maestro” on piano), Ziad Pawli (double organ), Fadi Homsy (drums), Mohamad Rammal (darbuka), and Gabi Khalil (violin). Among them are many years of musical …