The Fifth String is an innovative fusion of traditional middle eastern music and classical chamber music. The music is centred around the Oud which acts as a bridge between the two generes and, indeed, between two deferent musical traditions.
The ensemble takes its name from 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 with having added a fifth string to the then four-stringed oud. According to legend. Ziryab coloured the first four strings so that they would symbolise Aristotles four temperaments. Then he added a fifth that would represent the soul. It is from this fifth string that the project draws its inspiration.
The Fifth String project was created by Bilal Irshed in 2011. The music consists of original compositions written by Bilal, combined with new arrengements of traditional Middle Eastern tunes. The sound and atmosphere of chamber music was then added to these compositions, serving to create a whole new musical experience and sound.