Musical Performance: Yathrib: Michel Sajrawy & Friends

Sat, June 21, 2008 9:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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A celebration of the U.S. release of his CD "Yathrib"

9:00 p.m. (house opens at 8:30)
$15/ $10 students with a valid ID


Michel Sajrawy - Electric Guitar
Amir Elsaffar - Trumpet
Zafer Tawil - Tabla
And Special guest musicians


YATHRIB – the name of a city, also called Medina, a five-day foot march from Mekka. And accordingly, the second most holy city of Islam, where the Prophet Mohammad's grave lies in a magnificent mosque.

YATHRIB – fertile oasis, about 200 km land inwards east of the Red Sea. Surrounded by the wild foothills of the Hijaz massif. Home of Arab and Jewish tribes. Melting pot of these cultures.

YATHRIB – Debut album of MICHEL SAJRAWY, of a man and virtuoso guitarist, who like no other unites seemingly insurmountable differences with his vitality and with his music..

Michel Sajrawy's musical ambition has been to reconcile the jazz of western culture with the "Makamat“ of the Middle East, and Schoenberg's avant-garde, in order to develop and then perfect a completely new sound. Sajrawy creates the desired quarter note steps by bending the strings -- a very unusual, if not unique technique for interpreting “Makamat”. It spices the original sound with an almost bluesy sound, and does not require any additional alterations to the instrument. All that can be heard is the virtuoso result of the ingenious interaction of fingers and ear.

What the press have said:

"One of my Top albums of the year 2006."
Thomas Kohlruß, babyblaue-seiten

"With bubbling energy, virtuosity and occasionally unbelievable speed, the musician connects Makamat of the Arab Middle East to Jazz-Fusion, Rock and world music."
Michael Scheiner, die Lichtung

"I know that all things start in the deepest inside of human beings. In an area, so deeply hidden, that we call it soul. Michel Sajrawy’s album has just that enormous ability, to touch souls. It sure touched mine."
Fred Wheeler, Tokafi

"Michel is an inspiration. As a musician, he digs deep into an endless sea of emotion, passion, and drive."
Randy McElligott, CHUO-FM

"The music of the guitarist Michel Sajrawy can be described as [fusion X fusion] "squared". Unfamiliar therefore intriguing mix between fusion (electric jazz which combines rock elements) and Arabic music. Sajrawy appeared as an excellent guitarist and gifted composer. It was interesting to see how he moves naturally and elegantly between the linear, "squared" language of the fusion, and the wavy language of Arabic music."
Ben Shelan, Haaretz

"…While we have a good number of oriental music players, it's rare to see a jazz musician in Palestine. Perhaps Yathrib, debut album of the composer and guitar player Michel Sajrawy, is one of the rare jazz influenced productions of Palestine."
Najwan Darweesh, Al-Akhbar


Michel Sajrawy

Michel Sajrawy is a Palestinian guitarist & composer from Nazareth. He earned his Master's degree in film and TV scoring from London College of Music and Media. He has won different awards, competitions and worked with a number of internationally acclaimed musicians including Abboud Abdel'All, Bashir Abdel'All, Ahmad Al-Mukhtar, Samir Joubran, Franck Dhersin, Alex Carpani and Manfred Leuchter. In 2006 Ozella Music released his debut album "Yathrib", where he fuses jazz, rock, Arabic Middle Eastern with many other styles. With his band, he has played in different parts of Palestine, toured in Germany and played the Leipzig Jazz Festival (2006), played in Geneva, and the Jerusalem Festival (2007) where he met and jammed with Nigel Kennedy. He has composed and worked on music for film. In 2007 he recorded his second album "Writings On The Wall," which will be released later on this year.

Michel would like to give special thanks to Muna and Basem Hishmeh for their ongoing support and generosity.

Amir ElSaffar

Amir ElSaffar, trumpeter, composer, singer, and santoor player, is garnering an international reputation for his work, both in the traditional Iraqi Maqam and in jazz music. He is one of the few in the world that has mastered the Iraqi Maqam, both on the santoor (Iraqi hammered-dulcimer) and as a vocalist. Additionally, he has developed a new approach to playing the trumpet, which utilizes the microtuning and ornaments that are characteristic to Arabic music. His suite, Two Rivers, which combines Iraqi traditional music with Jazz, has received much critical acclaim and has received airplay on radio stations across the US and Canada.

Zafer Tawil

Zafer Tawil is an accomplished Palestinian musician based in New York City. He is a virtuoso on oud, violin, and qanun, and a master of Arabic percussion. Zafer performs in concerts, clubs, and at private events, and holds workshops in oud technique, and in Arabic music theory – across the US and in the Middle East, including a recent performance at Zankel Hall with Simon Shaheen. Zafer is constantly exploring the boundaries of Arabic music, and has worked on many collaboration concerts involving classical Indian and Persian music and Jazz fusion.

Last updated: 2008-06-06 11:52:01

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