Musical Performance: George Ziadeh & Friends - From Al Andalus to Oum Kulthoum

Fri, March 5, 2010 9:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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George Ziadeh, Vocals and Oud, with

Tareq Abboushi, Buzuq and Vocals
Zafer Tawil, Oud, Percussion and Vocals
Amir ElSaffar, Santoor and Vocals
Johnny Farraj, Percussion and Vocals

Singer and oudist George Ziadeh offers Alwan audiences the listening pleasure of rare "muwashshahat" of the glories of Al Andalus to the passion of Umm Kulthoum from the golden age of Egypt.

Tickets: $15 available at the door or online here: (A surcharge applies - use printout as your ticket.)

Doors open at 8:30 p.m.

The Musicians

George Ziadeh was born and raised in Birzeit, Palestine, and pursued music from a young age. In 1986 he moved to the United States, where he studied ‘oud with Simon Shaheen and classical singing and voice with Youssef Kassab, with whom he has toured extensively across the country.George has performed and lectured with such ensembles and institutions as the University of Chicago’s Middle East Music Ensemble with Issa Boulos, the University of Colorado (Boulder), Alwan for the Arts, the United Nations (invited by Kofi Annan), and annually at the Columbia University Department of Ethnomusicology. In 2008, George was a featured solo and ensemble performer in the “Brooklyn Maqam” Festival of Arab Music. From 1995 to 1997 George taught at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Ramallah and at Birzeit University. George is considered an authority in maqam and Arab classical repertoire.

Tareq Abboushi is a multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, and graduate with honors from William Paterson University with a degree in Jazz Piano. Born and raised in Ramallah, he has played buzuq since 1997, and has performed with such notable musicians as Simon Shaheen, Omar Farouk Tekbilek, and Dan Zanes. His film work includes the award-winning Encounter Point (Best Musical Score, Bend Film Festival, 2006), as well as two films by Jonathan Demme: Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains and Rachel Getting Married. He has lectured and performed at Columbia University, NYU, Juilliard, Museum of the City of NY, the Children’s Museums of Brooklyn and Manhattan, and Alwan for the Arts, and last year taught Arab music at Agder University in Norway. His discography includes One with his band SHUSMO, Amir ElSaffar's Two Rivers and Dan Zanes’s Parades and Panoramas, House Party and Night Time!, winner of’s Best Children's CD (2002). Current projects include a new recording, Mumtastic, with SHUSMO.

Iraqi-American Amir ElSaffar is an accomplished jazz and classical trumpeter and santoor player who has collaborated with a variety of artists, including Cecil Taylor, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Vijay Iyer, and Daniel Barenboim. In 2002, ElSaffar put his New York career on hold to immerse himself in the music of his father 's homeland, the Iraqi maqam. He went on a tremendous quest, traveling to Iraq and throughout the Middle East and Europe in urgent pursuit of masters who could impart to him this centuries-old oral tradition. He quickly became versed in maqam, learning to play the santour (Iraqi hammered dulcimer) and to sing, and created new techniques for the trumpet that enable Arabic microtones and ornaments to be played in the rarest of fashion on this instrument. His 2007 release, Two Rivers (Pi Recordings), is a groundbreaking, emotionally charged work that invokes ancient Iraqi musical traditions and frames them in a modern jazz setting. Described by BBC World as "harrowing to absorb; full of as much beauty as pain," and by Downbeat as "hauntingly beautiful," the CD appeared on several top 10 lists of 2007, and was the Village Voice's runner-up debut jazz release of that year. He recently made his debut at the Jazz Gallery with a Gallery-commissioned work, "Within/Between."

Johnny Farraj studied Arab percussion with Michel Merhej Baklouk (Fairouz's veteran percussionist) and Karim Nagi, ‘oud with Simon Shaheen and Bassam Saba, and classical Arab singing with Rima Khcheich and Youssef Kassab. He has performed numerous times with Simon Shaheen, Najib Shaheen and Bassam Saba, and in such festivals as “Arabesque” at the Kennedy Center, Brooklyn Maqam, and Alwan’s Festival of Sacred Music. He is featured in Maqams of Baghdad by Safaafir with Amir El-Saffar, and on the soundtrack of Heather Raffo’s play, Nine Parts of Desire. He recorded Arab music tracks for Jonathan Demme’s award-winning documentary Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains and performed in his film Rachel Getting Married. Johnny created the Maqam World ( website to teach classical Arab music theory, and lectures on the subject in universities and museums across North America. He is currently working on a book about Arab music. Born and raised in Lebanon, Johnny is of Palestinian heritage.

Zafer Tawil is a virtuoso on ‘oud, violin, and qanun, and a master of Arabic percussion. Zafer has performed in concerts across the country, including performances with numerous musicians ranging from Sting to Arab music virtuosos Chab Mami, Simon Shaheen, Bassam Saba and George Ziadeh, to avant-garde composer/performer Elliot Sharpe. He was a featured composer and performer in acclaimed director Jonathan Demme's Oscar-nominated film Rachel Getting Married and is composing and performing for Demme’s next film project, Zeitoun, based on Dave Eggers’ book about Abdulrahman Zeitoun’s post-Hurricane Katrina odyssey. Zafer has worked on many collaboration concerts involving classical Indian and Persian music as well as arab/jazz fusion. He has held workshops on Arab music at many institutions and universities across the United States. A native of East Jerusalem, he resides in New York City.

Last updated: 2010-03-01 23:51:44

George Ziadeh
George Ziadeh

Alwan for the Arts

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