Abraham Salman

Qanun player

Salman was Qanun virtuoso, considered one of the finest in the Middle East. Being blind from the age of two, he studied music as a child in Baghdad’s school for blind Jewish children. The school was established in the 1920s by qanun player Yusef Za’arur, and many of the students who showed musical aptitude were taught to become musicians in order to secure their ability to earn a living; indeed, Salman became a member of the Baghdad Radio Orchestra. He became known all over the Arab world and was the favored accompanist of some of the best-known Arab singers in Iraq. Salman immigrated to Israel in 1950, and was a prominent member of the Israel Broadcast Authority’s Oriental music orchestra until the late 1980s. His virtuosity was also idiomatic, and he performed a variety of genres, from Iraqi maqam to Egyptian-styled tarab along with Western repertoire arranged for qanun. He wrote music for film and participated in several genre-bending recordings. Among such projects were his collaborations with Danny Sanderson and Kaveret on the album “Pugi in Pita,” and with Sanderson on the hit “What’s up with your show-offing?” (ma ha-daween shelakh).



Private recording by Warkov in Salman’s home with violinist Simon Shaheen. Includes four samai-s and four exceptional taqasim, 1980.

Playlist of 90 videos created by Jonah Nelson.

Rare recordings of Salman playing ‘ud: two taqasim (maqams bayat and siga, recorded 1970) Then six taqasim on the qanun: maqam nakriz (1970), hijaz kar (1964), ajam (1961), zanjuwan (1964), suznak (1961), nahawand (1973). Followed (at minute 32:16) by a piece for qanun and symphony (title/composer unknown), followed by Joseph Rabiah (a blind Iraqi-Jewish musician) taqsim rast on cello (1970) all recorded by Israel radio (tape compiled by NLI).

A short film about Salmen (Hebrew).


Selected recordings:

The all CD Saltana ll, Abraheem salman, qanun.

Taksim Bayat Mawzoun

Taqsim kanun kurd.

Taqsim kanun rast.

The last takasim.

Kanun Bayat Shuri

Taqsim kanun bambi

Taqsim Kanun Maqam Saba

Taqsim kanun shuri bambi.

Taqsim Kanun Maqam Suznak

Taqsim Qanun.

Taqasim Qanun Maqam Rast Turkish Style



Shohat, Ella. (2008). “The Buena Vista Baghdad Club.” In Jewish Topographies: Visions of Space, Traditions of Place. Brauch Julia, Anna Lipphardt and Alexandra Nocke, eds. Aldershot, UK & Burlington, VT: Ashgate P. 314- 317

Jewish Professional Musicians in Iraq and Israel, Revisited by Esther Warkov.

Kanoon player Abraham Salman dies, Obituary in Point of No Return.


"ראה את הצלילים"

.מת אברהם סלמן, נגן הקאנון של תזמורת קול ישראל בערבית", בן שלו, עיתון הארץ"


Sources by Esther Warkov.