Film Screening & Concert: Narratives & Sounds of Iraq: 3rd i NY & Alwan Present "Broken Record" with Safaafir in Concert

Sat, January 25, 2014 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

(View all film screening & concerts »)

Iraqi Double Bill: Film Screening of "BROKEN RECORD" by Parine Jaddo (in attendance) with Safaafir in Concert: Presenting the Iraqi Maqam in Concert


Film Screening Only: (Suggested Contribution) $10 General | $5 Students, Members & Seniors (Film Screening at 7pm)

Film Screening + Concert: $20 General | $15 for Students, Members & Seniors (Concert Begins at 8:30pm)

(Buy Now*)

(*A small online fee is applied)

Doors open at 6:30 pm

BROKEN RECORD, by Parine Jaddo, Iraq, 2012, 75mins (Arabic/Turkoman with English Subtitles) (Director in Attendance)

"I see all this hype around commemorating 10 years since the war started. For me it’s a yardstick for the huge fiasco that has resulted in a huge amount of loss." - Parine Jaddo

Broken Record is a poetic journey through Iraq in search of an Iraqi/Turkman song, which Parine Jaddo’s mother recorded with her brothers in 1960. Though the filmmaker knows the melody, she no longer remembers the lyrics and her curiosity takes her on a quest to Iraq, which unfolds with a rare insight to Iraq’s rich musical culture and heritage, much of which has been burnt or lost altogether.

Born in Iraq, Parine Jaddo completed her university studies in the United States at Howard University.

Iraqi Maqam Concert with Safaafir, featuring Amir ElSaffar on Santur & Vocals, with Guests

Inscribed in 2003 on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the Iraqi Maqam represents one of Iraq's richest cultural offerings. The maqam has been developed and refined by generations of masters in the cities of Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk, and Basra as well as in rural areas, who passed this highly sophisticated tradition orally in coffeehouses, courts, and salons over the centuries. The maqam's sophisticated melodies, infectious rhythms, and eloquent poetry, are a direct reflection of Iraq's history, geography, culture, and folklore; in it can be found the essence of all that is Iraqi.

Safaafir is a name that evokes the ancient art of coppersmithing in Iraq . Soug al-Safaafir, or the coppersmiths’ market, is a well-known market in Baghdad , memorable for the din of hammers on copper and the glowing beauty of each creation. The sound of the Iraqi Maqam has often been likened to the Soug al-Safaafir for the metallic timbre of the instruments and the percussive hammering of the ancient rhythms. Amir and Dena ElSaffar, brother and sister, come from a family of Safaafir (sing. Saffar), or coppersmiths, and it is from their ancestors’ legacy that the name of the ensemble was born. Since its inception in late 2005, Safaafir has performed throughout the US in concert halls, museums, universities, and private parties.

Amir ElSaffar put his career as a jazz trumpeter on hold in 2002 to travel to Iraq and explore the music of his ancestry, the Iraqi maqam. ElSaffar, who was born in the US in 1977 to an Iraqi father and an American mother, was already an accomplished trumpeter, having performed with many esteemed jazz and classical artists and winning several international competitions. He spent several years traveling in Iraq, throughout the Middle East and in Europe, where he encountered masters of the Iraqi maqam, such as Hamid al-Saadi, Baher al-Rajab, and Farida Mohammed Ali and her ensemble, as well as masters of various other Arabic musical styles. From these teachers, Amir learned to sing the maqam and to play the santour, a 96-string hammered-dulcimer that is native to Iraq, and quickly mastered a significant portion of the maqam repertoire. In 2005, Amir joined forces with his sister, Dena El Saffar, and her husband, Tim Moore, and formed Safaafir, the only ensemble in the US that performs the maqam in its traditional format. He has traveled and performed extensively with this group including to an international competition in Azerbaijan, where he was studying the mugham tradition, parallel to the maqam, for three months with various masters including Alim Qasimov on a Jerome Foundation grant. Hamid al-Saadi, Amir's teacher, who is one of the leading maqam singers in Iraq, regards Amir as one of the important carriers of this tradition in his generation, and has said "Amir is a great addition to the maqam…he is preserving the true essence of this music." In addition to his work with the traditionalmaqam, Amir is a jazz trumpeter and composer who has garnered international attention for his work incorporating aspects of the maqam and other Arab and Middle Eastern styles in a jazz context.

Dena El Saffar, of Iraqi and American heritage, was exposed to Arabic music in the suburbs of Chicago , where she grew up attending Iraqi gatherings with her family. She began learning the violin at the age of six. At age 17, completely engaged in classical music, she accompanied her father to Baghdad and became enchanted by the music of Iraq and the Middle East. In 1993, while obtaining a classical music degree from Indiana University , she founded the group Salaam, a Middle Eastern music ensemble which has performed throughout the United States. She has studied with Hamid Al-Saadi, Munis Sharifov, Mohammed Gomar and Anwar Abudragh, and has performed with the Master Musicians of Jajouka and Youssou N'dour. Dena, who plays the viola, violin, joza and kemanche, has also performed with Central Eurasian ensembles, salsa groups, bluegrass, blues and rock bands. She is the older sister of Amir, is married to percussionist Tim Moore, and is the mother of two: Jamil and Layla.

Tim Moore began playing drums at the age of 12. A natural percussionist, he gained experience in a variety of genres including jazz, blues, salsa and rock. After earning a computer science degree from Indiana University in 1989, he worked on the East and West Coasts as a computer programmer, but in 1993 he left that world in order to devote himself to music. In his quest to become a better, even more diverse musician, he began learning rhythms and instruments from around the world, eventually bringing his focus to Middle Eastern percussion. He has studied Iraqi-style percussion with Wessam Ayoub, Sattar al Saadi and Lateef al 'Abeedi. Tim plays the dumbek, riqq, naqqarat and bendir, tabl and zanbur as well as drum set and guitar.

Lety ElNaggar, of Mexican and Egyptian descent, has studied Jazz and Classical music on the saxophone, clarinet, and flute. She became interested in music from other parts of the globe upon moving to New York City to attend Columbia University, where she was afforded the opportunity to study Arab music in-depth through the Kluge Independent Research Fellowship. Among other projects, she has performed and toured with Afro-Colombian alternative rock band M.A.K.U. Soundsystem, multidisciplinary project Bella Gaia, Lebanese group Sukoon, and Middle Eastern ensemble Salaam. She continues to study various musical traditions from the Arab world and was recently awarded the Fulbright grant to study nay performance within the contexts of classical Arab and folkloric music in Egypt. She plans to continue incorporating her studies into composition of jazz and crossover music genres, which she currently performs on nay and soprano saxophone with her group Green Stop Start.


This project is made possible in part with public funds from NYSCA’s' Electronic Media and Film Presentation Funds grant program, administered by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes

About 3rd i NY

3rd I New York’s monthly film/video/media salon is designed by local filmmakers and cultural producers to showcase the works of independent media makers of South Asian, Central Asian, and Arab descent. Providing alternative forums for these filmmakers who often have few venues to showcase their work and whose cultures and histories are often demonized or misrepresented in mainstream media, not only increases their visibility, but also provides a social forum for peers and audiences to participate in an ongoing discussion.


3rdi NY Film Programming is made possible in part with public funds from the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by New York State Council on the Arts, and the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, both in partnership with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Alwan for the Arts hosts our monthly screenings series. We are thankful to the SINGH Foundation for acting as our fiscal sponsor


Alwan's music and film program are made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council. This presentation was also made possible, in part, with public funds from theNew York State Council on the Arts’ Electronic Media and Film Presentation Funds grant program, administered by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.

Last updated: 2015-05-26 11:26:48

"Broken Record" by Parine Jaddo
Parine Jaddo
Parine Jaddo
Safaafir, featuring Amir Elsaffar on vocals & santur
Safaafir, featuring Amir Elsaffar on vocals & santur

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