Musical Performance: Alwan Festival of Sacred Music presents A.J. Racy: The Soul Remembers

Sat, February 19, 2011 9:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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In his long-awaited Alwan debut, the gifted and versatile Dr. A.J. Racy will give a solo performance in a program that evokes the mystical spirit of the Middle East, featuring instrumental works and improvisations by this Lebanese-born composer, multi-instrumentalist, scholar and UCLA ethnomusicologist.


Regular: $25, available online here.
Student/Senior/Member: $20, available online here.

A small surcharge is applied to each online ticket; use printout as your proof of purchase. Tickets are also available at the door. Doors open at 8:15 p.m.

About the Music

Listen to A.j. Racy perform Funeral Procession
Listen to A.J. Racy perform a mijwiz solo taqsim

The musical content in tonight's program derives from the classical musical traditions of the Ottoman Sufi world and displays the distinctive nuances of Racy’s own style. Several instruments will be heard, including the buzuq, a long-necked lute, the nay, a reed-flute cherished by several Sufi groups, especially the Mevlevi order established by Jalal al-Din Rumi in the 13th century, and the salamiyyah, a reed-flute used by Egyptian Sufi performers. The theme of the performance is inspired by the mystic notion of universality and the Sufi doctrines of Unity of Being and Divine Love. The program will offer an intimate experience of the spiritual and cultural ethos of the Middle East and of music’s transcendental power.

About the Artist

"Racy's Ancient Egypt CD ...immaculately performed throughout...a musical balm brimming with sublime consolation and reflection. Selected as one of CD Review Magazine's 50 Definitive World Music Recordings!"- CD Review

"Racy swirled ecstatic Sufi melodies on his flutelike nay...Beethoven weaves warm ornaments around his melodies in the slow (Ninth Symphony) movement, as Racy does on his nay." - Los Angeles Times

A. J. Racy
, Ph.D. is a performer, composer, and Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of California at Los Angeles. Born in the village of Marjeyoun in southern Lebanon, he comes from a well-known family of artists, scholars, and academicians. Racy is internationally recognized for his extraordinary musicianship and his numerous publications, including his award-winning book, Making Music in the Arab World: The Culture and Artistry of Tarab (Cambridge University Press, 2003). He is a master of many traditional instruments, particularly the nay, a reed-flute, and the buzuq, a long-necked fretted lute. He has performed extensively in Lebanon and has appeared in major U.S. theaters, such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Hollywood Bowl and at international venues, including the Beiteddine Festival in Lebanon, the Commonwealth Institute in England, the Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico, the School of Music of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and the Villa-Lobos Institute in Brazil. He has lectured widely in North America, as well as in Finland, Greece, Mauritius, Réunion, England, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, and throughout the Arab world. He has composed for and performed with the Kronos Quartet and the Sacramento Symphony Orchestra, as well as for feature and documentary films. He has performed with many renowned artists including, Kenny Burrell, Shujaat Khan, Tsun Yuen Lui, Sting, Tito Puente, Djivan Gasparyan, Wadi al-Safi, Cheb Khaled, and Shaykh Hamza Shakour. His music has been released on a number of CDs, including four Lyrichord albums, Ancient Egypt, Taqasim, Mystical Legacies, and When the Rivers Met, and on a Kronos Quartet release titled Caravan. Dr. Racy is the recipient of numerous honors and tributes from a variety of cultural institutions for his outstanding artistry and his continuous work toward greater intercultural understanding and cooperation.

Watch a short interview with Dr. Racy here.

Alwan's Festival of Sacred Music is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Sparkplug Foundation

Last updated: 2011-02-22 20:19:26

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