Arabic Violinist, Composer, Teacher

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In honor of the launch of my new maqam website, the demo version of what will become the new maqamlessons.com, I am making available an audio recording of one of my recent maqam classes here in New York City.  This class is from March 2nd, 2010, and in it I teach Maqam Nahawand.

Part 2 goes over Jins Kurd, Jins Bayati and Jins Kurd, with the song "Alf Leyla wu Layla" as illustration.

The URL of the new site is: http://samiabushumays.com/MaqamLessonsDemo.html

Direct download: Nahawand_Class_part2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:08 AM

In honor of the launch of my new maqam website, the demo version of what will become the new maqamlessons.com, I am making available an audio recording of one of my recent maqam classes here in New York City.  This class is from March 2nd, 2010, and in it I teach Maqam Nahawand.

Part 1 goes over Jins Nahawand and Jins Nahawand Murassaa, with the song "Min Hubbi Fiik Ya Gaari" as illustration.

Direct download: Nahawand_Class_part1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:02 AM

My paper presentation at the Society for Ethnomusicology's annual conference this past November, held in Mexico City, was a great success.  A few of the ethnomusicologists in attendance told me they thought I had done some groundbreaking work in providing a new schema to talk about the subject.  I'm currently working on revising the paper for publication; in the meantime, I'm making the drafts available here, for comments.  The paper I actually presented is on the subject of intonation in maqam, and here's that draft. [download]  That paper is drawn from a longer paper, addressing general issues of parallels in music and language cognition, and attempting the beginnings of explanations for those phenomena through network and information theory approaches.  That longer paper's draft is here. [download]

I'll be resuming my Maqam Classes in New York City starting Tuesday, January 19th, 2010, details here.
Category:general -- posted at: 4:33 PM

I'm starting to "get" facebook, as I posted on my status yesterday--an easier way to casually chat about what i'm up to regularly.  If you'd like to be my facebook friend, you can find me here:
http://www.facebook.com/sami.abu.shumays

But for a more extended description of what I've been up to--the end is in sight for my new Maqamlessons site.  The upgrade has been around 2 years in coming--slouching towards Bethlehem to be born, as Yeats would have it.  I've just completed the initial photoshop draft of the 33 maqam pages which will be on the site.  I guess I've learned through the process that there are 33 maqams I can claim to have apprehended--and it is clear to me that the process so far has shown me that, that I wasn't quite clear before going through it how many maqams I actually know, or what is the structure of the maqams I know.  Now I have a sense of that.

When I actually get around to the recording phase--which will be nearly the last phase of the project (... for whatever reason, I felt I needed to see the system in its entirety before starting to record for it... once I finish photoshop, then I will write all of the code, and then I will record the lessons, and then will code in their placement on the site...)--I suspect I will learn quite a bit more about what I know and what I've learned, in the last 11 years I've been learning Arabic music.

Coming soon!  ...Hopefully before I present my paper at the SEM conference in November.
Category:news -- posted at: 7:17 AM

Arabic Music Classes (Maqam)
taught by Sami Abu Shumays

Mondays 7:30-9:00pm
May 4, 11, 18, June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, July 6
*no class May 25th (memorial day)

Rates:      
    $15/class; $50 for 4 classes;
    $100 for all 9 classes.
    
(students may attend classes on a drop-in basis, and are not required to attend all 9 in the session)

@  Joria Productions
     www.joriaproductions.com
     260 W. 36th Street (7th/8th),
     3rd floor

Classes open to people with any level of music experience.  Sami leads the class in singing or playing melodies in a particular Maqam (Arabic melodic mode, similar to Raga in Indian Music).  Students imitate in a call-and-response fashion on their preferred instrument, or by singing, learning the building blocks of Arabic music in a way similar to how people learn language, by repeating common phrases.  Sami makes these classes accessible to all by presenting musical phrases that are short and clear enough for beginners to imitate, but which have subtleties and details that only the most advanced students will grasp.  Each class will focus on one maqam, and over the course of several classes students will gain an understanding of several different maqamat and an appreciation for the breadth of the maqam system.

www.maqamlessons.com for more information
Category:general -- posted at: 1:45 AM

In March of this year, the Brooklyn Arts Council (www.brooklynartscouncil.org) produced an amazing month-long festival featuring almost all of the performers of Arabic music in the New York City area, called Brooklyn MaqamZikrayat, my group, was honored to perform, alongside Safaafir, at Joe's Pub, on March 20th.

This is a complete recording of our set.  performing are:
myself, violin
Dimitri Mikelis, oud & accordion
Tareq Abboushi, buzuq
Johnny Farraj, percussion
Nikolai Ruskin, percussion

and featuring vocalists Salah Rajab (2,3) and Gaida (5,6,7)

Here's the program:

1.  Pickles, by Tareq Abboushi

2.  Gameel Gamal, by Farid el-Atrash
originally sung by Farid el-Atrash in the film Lahn il-Khulud ("Immortal Melody")

3.  Ana Lak Ala Tool, by Mohamed Abdel-Wahhab
originally sung by Abdel-Halim Hafiz in the film Ayyam wu Layali ("Days and Nights")

4.  Yasmeen, by Hussein Ahmed Ali
a dance piece for Naima Akif from the film Tamr Hinna

5.  Lughat iz-Zuhuur ("Il-Wardi Gameel"), by Zakaria Ahmed
originally sung by Umm Kulthum in the film Fatima

6.  Imta Hataaraf, by Mohamed el-'Asabgi
originally sung by Esmahan in the film Gharam wu Intiqam ("Love and Revenge")

7.  Min Hubbi Fiik Ya Gaari, by Atia Sharara
originally sung by Hurriyya Hassan in the film Ahibbak Ya Hassan ("I love you Hassan")
Direct download: PP_028_Zikrayat_JoesPub_mar_20_08.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:28 AM

I've been posting some writings in my position as Director of the Queens Community Arts Fund... thoughts about public art and arts funding.  Check out my blog at:

http://queenscouncilarts.org/blogs/qcaf/

The recent posts are of a more philosophical nature: see in particular "Italian Nights & the Value of Outdoor Arts Events" and "Helping You Help Yourselves, Part 1: Seeking the Support of Local Businesses"
Category:general -- posted at: 7:21 PM

Well, it's been a new life for me lately... I haven't been active with the podcasts or blog because I've been going through a lot of changes... though I'm embarrassed to say that I still have a few podcast recordings I haven't posted yet (especially a really good one from Sinan Erdemsel). 

So Zikrayat (www.zikrayatmusic.com) is kicking off its most exciting season yet with a performance tonight at Joe's Pub, as part of the Brooklyn Maqam festival that's been going on this month (sponsored by the Brooklyn Arts Council www.brooklynartscouncil.org)  I'm really excited and nervous, because it's our highest profile show to date and it's already sold out!  well, not technically--because the tickets are free--but all reservations have been taken, and Reuter's TV is coming to film and interview us...

We're performing back to back with Amir ElSaffar's (www.amirelsaffar.com) Iraqi Maqam group, Safaafir.  On Tuesday night both he and I had an interview at WBAI, and I also brought our oud player Dimitri Mikelis, and our new vocalist Salah Rajab, and we did some nice performing in the studio... it was nice to do a little back and forth with Amir.  You can listen to the interview & performances online at: http://archive.wbai.org/pls.php?mp3fil=17376 , or download the mp3 directly at: http://archive.wbai.org/files/mp3/080319_000001morc.MP3

We have a number of other exciting shows coming up this spring... check in with the Zikrayat website to find out more.  Robin and I have been crazy busy planning, organizing, and rehearsing for these shows (including another really exciting show slated for May 15th at the CUNY graduate center, which will be a multimedia presentation featuring live performances accompanying silently-projected clips of the vocal and dance numbers from Egyptian films that we'll be performing).

But my other big news is that I am now a full-time employee of the queens council on the arts (www.queenscouncilarts.org); I'm the new director of the Queens Community Arts Fund, which is the re-granting program of the Queens council... basically I administer money from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and JPMorgan Chase that we re-grant to artists and non-profit arts organizations in Queens.  for 2008 we gave $247,000 to 85 different artists and organizations.

A big part of my work is outreach to the Queens arts community, encouraging artists and organizations to apply for our grants--so if you are a Queens artist or know any Queens artists who might be interested in applying for grants through the Queens council, don't hesitate to contact me at 718-647-3377 x19 or email me at sshumays (at) queenscouncilarts (dot) org   applications for the 2009 funding cycle will be due this september and october.

I'm now in my second week of work here, and I'm really loving it.  The office is in the middle of Forest Park in Queens, my co-workers are great, and I'm gradually getting to meet more artists and organizations in Queens--so it's really rewarding.  Of course it is a major adjustment in my lifestyle, especially given that we've been so busy with performances, rehearsals, and preparations this last month...

I'll do my best to keep posting podcasts... though I'm not promising anything!  but I have a number of musicians that I keep talking about doing podcasts with... so if you check back, you may see some more posts eventually!


Category:general -- posted at: 4:54 PM

Well, in a few hours i'll be getting on a plane to San Francisco for a week of rehearsals, workshops and a concert with Aswat, a Bay-Area-based Arabic choir and orchestra--at which I'll be one of several guest artists, including a wonderful vocalist from Tunisia, Noureddine Kallel.  For any of you in the Bay Area, the concert will be this coming Saturday, Dec. 1st in San Mateo.  details can be found at Aswat's website, www.zawaya.org

I'll be giving a few maqam masterclasses on thursday evening and sunday afternoon, details at www.maqamlessons.com

I'm very much looking forward to seeing a lot of friends and students from Lark camp--I have to say, I really like the world music scene out there in northern california.  Unlike here in New York, it seems like a lot of musicians from a lot of different traditions know each other; they get together and explore each other's music quite a bit.  Here in New York, I know almost all of the Arab musicians & musicians who play for Middle Eastern Dance; but I know only a few Indian Musicians, and almost no musicians from other traditions... But I know they're out there!  (I'LL FIND YOU!!!)

But of course I'll miss my wife for a week.  We just had a lovely little vacation together in the Hudson Valley, at a place called Greenwood Lake, near Warwick, NY.  (we stayed at a wonderful inn called Anton's on the Lake www.antonsonthelake.com that I highly recommend).  We visited a spa, a winery, and a lovely art and craft town called Sugar Loaf, NY.  It was a nice little vacation; we went there last year, too, for some apple picking (you can see a sickeningly cute picture of us posing our faces in a cut-out painting of a lamb and a pig in front of an apple tree--from our trip last year--in my gallery).

So I'm off!
Category:general -- posted at: 4:49 PM

Before you listen, please take a minute and vote for us (Zikrayat) for the
2008 Independent Music Awards--we need your votes to win!
vote here: www.musiciansatlas.com
see the post below for more details.

This is our most recent performance from Alwan www.alwanforthearts.org
last Saturday night.  We had a great crowd and I think it was our best show yet!  The lineup was:

myself, on violin, vocals, rababa
Bridget Robbins, Nay
Tareq Abboushi, Buzuq, vocals
Dimitri Mikelis, Oud
Johnny Farraj, Riqq, vocals
Nikolai Ruskin, Tabla, vocals
     with
Salah Ragab on vocals
Gaida on vocals
     and
Dances by Dameshe, Leela, Nahara, and Yowalka

This is the first set of the show, and it featured Salah singing with us for the first time--he sang three songs beautifully; "Gameel Gamal," the second of the three, was really amazing. . . so full of soul and tarab; it's hard to believe he's performing for the first time--he's only 19, and has never sang publicly before this event!

Here's the set:
1.  Doulab Zanjaran   --(composed by myself)
2.  Pickles --(composed by Tareq Abboushi
3.  "Naima veil"--a dance number we found on an old film of Naima Akif called "Ahibbak Ya Hassan"; Dameshe did a solo to this number.
4.  "Ya-msahar eini" --a song for the pop singer Rami Ayash, featuring Salah Ragab
5.  "Gameel Gamal"--a song by Farid el-Atrash, featuring Salah; Nahara did a Shamadan solo (flaming candles on her head) to this number.
6.  "Yana Yana"--a song for Sabah, featuring Salah
7.  "Mafeesh Filoos"--a song for Lebanese singer Nasri Shams id-Din; with myself on vocals;  Dameshe, Leela, and Yowalka performed a group choreography to this number.

Enjoy!

Direct download: PPerform_027_2007-11-19.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:21 PM

Dear Friends, Listeners, Fans,

First, our Album "Zikrayat: Live at Lotus" has been named a Finalist in the 2008 Independent Music Awards!  I'm very excited, but I need your help: fan's votes will determine the final winner, and if we win they will make substantial promotional efforts for us in 2008, including selling our music in Border's Books.

So please take a minute to visit: the IMA jukebox at:
IMA Jukebox
and vote for us now.  If that link doesn't work, go to:
http://www.musiciansatlas.com/pages/IMAFinalist
click on "Album Finalists" and go to the category "Live Performances"
If you'd like to hear samples of other tracks from the album not included on the jukebox, please visit:
http://zikrayatmusic.com

The other news is, you can see for yourself, that i've updated and re-coded my website so that it and this blog page would be one entity rather than two.  I've been learning HTML and CSS coding over the last few months (in order to supplement my income a bit), and even though the website doesn't look that different--you can see the old site at
http://samimusicworld.com/archive/originalsite/index.html
I've entirely re-coded it into CSS to make it standards compliant.  The design is the original one by my wife; the new design doesn't change much visually, except changing most of the text into html rather than photoshop images.  you can view the source code if you like.

So, I know I keep saying i'm going to resume putting up regular podcasts (as well as the maqamlessons), and i will--thanks to all of you from all over the world who have written asking about them!--but it was suggested to me that i should actually start blogging, to keep fans and friends informed--and i realized that i haven't been taking full advantage of this page--i can put up blog posts in addition to podcast mp3s.  So this marks the start of that: i'll be putting up blog entries about what's going on with myself and zikrayat, in addition to podcast mp3s. 

Thanks for listening and writing!

Yours,
Sami
Direct download: IMAlogosmall.jpg
Category:general -- posted at: 5:36 PM

Amir ElSaffar, Iraqi-American Jazz Trumpet player, Singer and Santur player, discusses his newly released CD Two Rivers. He talks about the different ways he has combined Iraqi Music (of the Baghdad Maqam tradition) with Jazz in these pieces, and talks a little about his history with both kinds of music.

The CD is available now on Pi Recordings and at amazon.com

for more information on Amir and the album, please visit the Two Rivers myspace page and Amir's Website: www.amirelsaffar.com

CD release party at Joe's pub, Monday Oct. 22nd, 9:30pm

Direct download: PPerform_026_2007-10-10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

Anne Elise and I chat about The global youth village
http://globalyouthvillage.org/,
where we were teaching in July; and the Jefferson Center
http://jeffcenter.org/
in Roanoke, VA, where she is the educational programs coordinator
Direct download: PPerform_025_2007-09-20.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:11 PM

The young students at the Global Youth Village play 3 pieces (doulab bayati, doulab sikah, doulab hijaz) they learned by ear in their first week, and talk about how learning arabic music is different than the kinds of music they do. For more information on Global Youth Village, please visit: www.globalyouthvillage.org
Direct download: PPerform_024_2007-08-16.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:20 AM

This is the last podcast from last year's lark camp... as I depart for this year's camp...  The incomparable Brian Steeger, one of the true characters from lark camp, plays some music, makes us laugh, and gives his philosophical reflections on music.
Direct download: PPerform_023_2007-07-25.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:05 AM

Recorded after Lark Camp last year.  Mark and Ling Shien are a husband and wife musician team based in Marin County, CA, in the Bay area.  They've just released their latest CD "Spice Box" and updated their website:

www.helmmusic.com

In this podcast we highlight their musical diversity and chat about their history together.
Direct download: PPerfom_022_2007-07-14.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:33 AM

Bridget Robbins plays nay and flute; we play a turkish piece, a baroque flute duet, she plays an armenian piece, and we play some Arabic tunes... and some nice conversation...
Direct download: PPerfom_021_2007-06-25.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:39 PM

In honor of the release of our new CD, "Zikrayat: Live at Lotus,"
I have made a podcast featuring many of the pieces from the original performances that I had decided not to include on the CD.  My wife robin and I talk about the ensemble, the CD, and some of what we've done over the last year.

You can purchase the CD online at CDBaby and Amazon.  To those who do: thanks for supporting our dream!

If you haven't seen our website yet, please visit www.zikrayatmusic.com

The podcast is in two parts, see part B below.
Direct download: PPerform_020a_2007-05-25.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:53 AM

In the second half of the podcast, robin and I talk a little about our theatrical ambitions, our way of working together, and I talk about how I mastered the CD, with six 1-minute excerpts of "Yamma-l-amar" illustrating the steps I took.
Direct download: PPerform_020b_2007-05-25.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:50 AM

This is a lecture/demo on microtones.

I demonstrate the wide variety of microtones in use in Arabic music (by my count, at least 12 within a half step);

I explain:
1. the problems with describing the microtones used in arabic maqams as "quarter-tones"--since they are not exactly a quarter of anything.
2. the problems with the Comma system (the system of 54 divisions of the octave)
3. the problem with seeking too systematic an explanation of the microtones.

And I offer a different approach to understanding and learning intonation in arabic music: through relationships with other notes, and in particular through melodies and melodic phrases.

For those of you interested in a more thorough, academic treatment of the subject, I am working on a paper to flesh out some of the details, which I will link to this page.  This podcast is intended for a general audience.

At the end, Johnny Farraj, of maqamworld fame, joins me for a few pieces.
Direct download: PPerform_019_2007-02-02.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:38 PM

This is half of a rehearsal for our showcase next week at the national convention of APAP (the Association of Performing Artist Presenters) here in New York City.  

It is a free concert, open to the public.  Jan 21, at 6:15 pm.  The show is 20 minutes long.  For more details, please see our website:
www.zikrayatmusic.com
Direct download: PPerform_018_2007-01-15.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:30 AM

Tareq, a longtime musical friend of mine, plays buzuq (a long-necked, fretted lute he refers to as "the banjo of the middle east"), and talks about his musical interests, from classical (he started playing piano at around age 5; his mother is a piano teacher at the Edward Said national music conservatory in Ramallah, Palestine) to jazz (he attended William Patterson University in New Jersey, getting a degree in Jazz Piano) to Arabic, to his own project, "Shusmo"--meaning "What's it's name?" in Arabic.  He plays one of the tunes from Shusmo's first album, as well as one of the tunes he's currently working on.  We finish with a duet improvisation in Maqam Hijaz.

To find out more about Tareq, and to listen to and purchase Shusmo's first CD (appropriately titled "One"), please visit www.shusmo.com and
myspace.com/shusmo1

I will add, by way of recommendation, that this CD is my favorite so-called "fusion" Album out there--actually one of the only ones I can stand!
Direct download: PPerform_017_2006-12-14.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:07 PM

Recorded in August at Lark Camp.

Faisal Zidan, a Syrian percussionist from the SF Bay area, plays riqq, sings muwashshahat with me, plays some complicated rhythms (including a 32-beat rhythm for the muwashshah "Ya Murru <Ujban"), & jams with me.
  He talks a little about his love for these old songs and complex rhythms, and how he started learning muwashshahat.  He also mentions his involvement with Kan Zaman.  He has no website, but he plugs his friend's percussion website www.iqaat.com.

you can hear a lot of Lark Camp in the background!


Direct download: PPerform_016_2006-11-05.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:29 PM

Ernie, one of the real characters of Lark Camp, plays buzuki, sings the blues, and plays flamenco guitar.  He also talks about the bands he almost was in ("The Monkees"), how Lark Camp was started, gives some advice to musicians, and tells stories about musicians and the music scene in California.

for more on Ernie, see his PAGE
as well as that of the Institute for Traditional Studies


Direct download: PPerform_015_2006-10-15.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:44 AM

This is an introduction to my other podcast feed, maqamlessons.

I took samples recorded from a class at Lark Camp this last August, and explain how the maqam lessons are structured & how best to use them.  I also talk a little about my teaching philosophy.
to subscribe to maqamlessons, please use RSS feed:
http://maqamlessons.com/rss
the blog page is www.maqamlessons.com

Direct download: Maqamlessons_001_2006-10-03.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:01 PM

Wael Kakish, the current director and one of the founders of Kan Zaman, a community-based Arabic music ensemble in Los Angeles, plays oud, sings a few songs, and talks about Kan Zaman.  We are also accompanied by percussionist Faisal Zidan, who will appear in a later podcast.  This podcast was recorded in August at Lark Camp.
For more information about Kan Zaman, please visit their website:
www.kanzaman.org
Direct download: PPerform_013_2006-09-18.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:57 PM

Part 2 --just a continuation of episode 11.
Direct download: PPerform_012_2006-09-01.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:14 AM

We compare some maqams shared by the Greeks, Turks, & Arabs: specifically, Sikah & Huzam, Rast, and Saba.  This podcast was recorded in camp 3 of Lark camp, in the Mendocino Woodlands in northern California.  Part 1 of a two-part episode. 

Greek Rebetika and Smyrnaica music by the Smyrna Time Machine; visit them on the web at: www.rebetes.com
Visit Turkish oud player Sinan Erdemsel on the web at: www.oudist.com
to find out about Lark Camp, visit: www.larkcamp.com
to find out about Sinan's Music and Dance camp in Turkey, visit: www.orientalcamp.com

Direct download: PPerform_011_2006-08-13.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:38 PM

Johnny plays riqq & demonstrates similar rhythms in 4/4, & shows how they can be interchanged.  we use a few examples from pieces, and a little improvisation on these rhythms
Direct download: PPerform_010_2006-07-14.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:56 PM

I play a number of different short instrumental pieces of the genre Doulab (pl. dawalib), which is used to introduce a mode, a song, or an improvisation. I play some traditional syrian & egyptian dawalib, two from the Iraqi Maqam repertory, and four of my own composition.
Direct download: PPerform_009_2006-07-02.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:03 PM

Anne Elise Thomas plays Qanun, an Arabic trapezoidal zither. We play doulab kurd and she improvises a bit. We chat about music pedagogy in Egypt & her recently completed thesis (congratulations, Dr. Thomas!!!). we end with the Samai Kurd by Abdu Dagher (a famous Egyptian violinist).
Direct download: PPerform_008_2006-05-24.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:31 PM

Nicole plays frame drum with me, talks about how she got into percussion in Minneapolis, her recent visit to New Orleans, her photographs from Morocco, and her upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia. She also talks about working with Michel Merhej on his percussion book. for more information about Nicole, and to see her photographs from Morocco, please visit www.nicolelecorgne.com
Direct download: PPerform_007_2006-05-08.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:39 AM

My wife Robin ("Dameshe") plays zills with me on Tamr hinna, talks about Egyptian film star and dancer Naima Akif, how she and I got interested in Egyptian Film music, and what we've been doing with Zikrayat, our new ensemble. To hear our new demos, please visit www.zikrayatmusic.com To read robin's article about dance, please visit www.thehipcircle.com
Direct download: PPerform_006_2006-04-15.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:45 PM

Brian starts with an improvisation, we play one of his pieces (Aqsaq Nakriz), and we chat about the Oud, the Guitar, and his jazz playing in New Orleans and New York. We end with part of Mohamed Abdel Wahhab's "Beladil Mahbuub." For more information about Brian and his various projects, please visit his website www.brianprunka.com
Direct download: PPerform_005_2006-04-08.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:38 PM

Johnny talks about the riqq, (a tambourine-like hand drum) and its role in Arabic Music; He talks about the Takht (typical classical ensemble) and being Zabit il-Iqa (the leader of the rhythm), and demonstrates several styles of playing and several different rhythms; Nikolai Ruskin and I play along. for more information from Johnny about Arabic music, see also www.maqamworld.com
Direct download: PPerform_004_2006-03-22.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:11 PM

Amir ElSaffar plays santour, an ancient Iraqi instrument (similar to a hammered dulcimer), and sings selections from Maqam Hwayzawi. We talk a little about how the Iraqi Maqam is different from other Arab music repertories, and Amir illustrates with examples from Hwayzawi. We chat about how he got into Iraqi music, his upcoming jazz commission in Philadelphia, and how he got to be so good at English. Amir's new website is:www.amirelsaffar.com For more information on his performance in Philadelphia on March 25th, please visit www.paintedbride.org for details about his performance with Zikrayat in New York on March 16th, please visit www.zikrayatmusic.com
Direct download: PPerform_003_2006-03-12.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:18 PM

Multi-instrumentalist Nikolai Ruskin plays the low C Nay (Arabic end-blown cane flute), with me accompanying on Rababa (Egyptian folk bowed string instrument). Nikolai discusses his feelings about the Nay, how he got into Arabic music, and how he thinks non-Arabs can learn Arabic music. for more information on the Cornell Middle Eastern Music Ensemble in Ithaca, NY, please visit: www.arts.cornell.edu/cmeme/ for more information about Nikolai, please visit: www.nikolairuskin.com/
Direct download: PPerform_002_2006-03-03.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:35 PM

I start with a long improvisation in Maqam Rast, and have a short discussion of the history of the violin in Arabic Music
Direct download: PPerform_001_2006-02-24.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:39 PM

I play the music I played for Robin to come down the aisle in our wedding last year, explain my intent with the podcast, and end with a new composition.
Direct download: PPerform_000_2006-02-17.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:35 PM