Musical Performance: POSTPONED Alwan Festival of Sacred Music presents TARAB: Lifting the Veil of the Senses - Arab Sufi

Sat, March 12, 2011 9:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

(View all musical performances »)



Taoufiq Ben Amor
- Vocals, Oud and Percussion
Ramzi El-Edlibi - Tabla, Riq, Daf and Dance
Zafer Tawil - Violin, Oud and Percussion
George Ziadeh - Oud and Vocals

About the Music:

Tarab, the intoxication induced by music, is the gate through which the Sufis cross into the world of true being, where they experience God as a whole. Music is used by many mystical traditions as a medium to experience the divine. The communal practice of music through repetitive chanting, rhythmic cycles and dance movements transports the devout into a state of trance where the laws of physics and reason, as we know them, are suspended. This is the moment when the veil of the senses is lifted to reveal a true station of complete being. States, ahwaal, are passing; stations, maqaamaat, remain.

Listen to TARAB perform Ibtihalat

About the Musicians:

Founded in 1998, TARAB is an ensemble of New York-based musicians who focus on studying and performing the classical Arabic repertoire, instrumental (with such genres as samai, lunga, dulab) and vocal, with special emphasis on the Andalusi Muwashah and Sufi repertoire. The ensemble also explores traditional folk music from various regions of the Arab world. Importance is given to improvisation, both vocal and instrumental, to allow each musician to explore the maqamat, or scales. The sets performed are generally in the form of a wasla, which is a suite of several pieces all sharing the same maqam. Since its foundation, Tarab has performed at several venues and festivals, such as Symphony Space, The Great Hall at Cooper Union, The Joseph Papp Theater, Bowery Ballroom, The Balkan Music Festival, Club Passim, York University Toronto and The University of Michigan. Tarab also composed soundtracks for two documentaries and one play.

Taoufiq Ben Amor (Vocals, Oud and Percussion)

Taoufiq Ben Amor is a Tunisian vocalist, percussionist and oud player. Taoufiq started learning percussion at an early age, then learned the Malouf (Andalusian repertoire) and sang with ensembles and choirs for many years. Fifteen years ago, he began studying the oud and the Arabic maqam system with various teachers such as Mohamed Labbad, Jamal Aslan and Simon Shaheen. For the last two decades, Taoufiq has been an active performer in the US and Canada and played in various venues including the Joseph Papp Theater, Symphony Space, Cooper Union, the Knitting Factory as well as several campuses. He is involved in several projects including fusion with North Indian, Flamenco and Iranian musicians. Taoufiq is also an educator, who researches and lectures on the subject and conducts workshops. Taoufiq is currently Professor of Arabic at Columbia University.

Ramzi El-Edlibi (Tabla, Riq, Daf and Dance)

Ramzi El Edlibi began his study of Arab dance and ballet at an early age in his native Lebanon with Mrs. Jarrar and Mr. Caracalla, historic figures in the development of Lebanese dance for the stage. Besides Edlibi’s formal training, social dances and music, such as debkah, were a part of everyday and night life. Edlibi went on to perform dance with the leading vocalists and dance companies of the Arab World such as Feiruz, Sabah, Wadi Al-Safi and Caracalla Dance Theatre. He then traveled abroad to perform and teach, while civil war raged in Lebanon, learning other dance traditions along the way. Since establishing himself in New York, Eldibi has continued his dance career, researching and presenting dances and music of the world.
Edlibi is Artistic Director of Dance Around the World, an Arts in Education program that brings dance and music to public schools.

Zafer Tawil (Violin, Oud and Percussion)

A virtuoso on oud, violin, and qanun, and a master of Arab percussion, Zafer Tawil has performed in concerts across the country, including performances with numerous musicians ranging from Sting to Arab music virtuosos Cheb Mami, Simon Shaheen, Bassam Saba, 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. Zafer is currently composing and performing for Demme’s next film project, Zeitoun, based on Dave Eggers’ book about Abdulrahman Zeitoun’s post-Hurricane Katrina odyssey. He has worked on many collaborative concerts involving classical Indian and Persian music as well as Arab/jazz fusions and has held workshops on Arab music at many institutions and universities across the United States. A native of Jerusalem, Palestine, he resides in New York City.

George Ziadeh (Oud and Vocals)

Born and raised in Birzeit, Palestine, George Ziadeh 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.


Regular: $20, available online here.
Students/Seniors/Members: $15, 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 8:30 p.m.

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

Last updated: 2011-03-08 18:37:30

Alwan for the Arts

16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor
(between Broad St. and Broadway)
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732-3261

Alwan Auction 2016

Join Our Mailing List:



Classes are currently being scheduled. Please check back soon for updates.



There are currently no upcoming events.


16 Beaver Street
4th Floor
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732 3261
Email Us

Alwan for the Arts is accessible to people with disabilities. Please call 646 732 3261 in advance, or, buzz at the door to arrange a ramp.

© 2020 Alwan for the Arts

Hosting donated by:, the Arabic Encyclopedia