Fri, January 8, 2010 8:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts
A Concert Showcasing Music from the Eastern Mediterranean
Maeandros Ensemble with Mavrothi Kontanis
Co-produced by the Center for Traditional Music and Dance (CTMD).
Tickets: $20 at the door, or online here (service charge applies)
"Man fears time, time fears the pyramids." -Herodotus
It is almost impossible to imagine human civilization as we know it today without the achievements of societies of the Mediterranean basin. For milennia the Mediterranean was the center of the world, the cradle of civilization. City-states, empires, and peoples across the eastern and western Mediterranean have built a cultural super highway whose monuments and grandeur have stratified time, mesmerized and stood imagination in awe.
Communities across the Mediterranean basin have interacted for millennia, Whether through trade or marriage, curiosity or cultural exchange, pilgrimage or war. these exchanges have provided fertile contacts that have cross-pollinated cultures across the region. This is especially true on its eastern shores and adjacent hinterlands, where its peoples, Egyptians, Persians, Arabs, Hebrews, Armenians, Greeks, Mongols, Kurds, Assyrians, etc, have maintained a distinctiveness to their culture, while at the same time exchanging, borrowing, or sometimes stealing the knowledge of others. As history shows, these contacts have brought both harmony and strife, simultaneously offering common reference and competing counter narrative. Within the lands once ruled by the Ottomans: the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, and the Arab world, one encounters a diversity of styles that at the same time bare the common thread of shared experience. In music, most songs, whether delicate love ballads or spirited narratives, alternate between vocal melodies and instrumental interludes. Yet, just as diverse cultures assimilate the influences of others, local flavors persist with pride.
In the debut event of Alwan’s new series celebrating the multi-layered, cumulative traditions of the Mediterranean basin Alwan is proud to host a concert showcase of three distinct expressions of this broad cultural tradition: Meandros, Mavrothi Kontanis’s Greek Rebetika ensemble; Merita Halili, Albanian vocalist; and Zikrayat, Arab music and dance from the Golden Age of Egyptian Cinema. Through individual performances, these artists articulate the vitality of local musical idioms, while also integrating them into the fabric of Mediterranean culture.
About the Artists:
The Maeandros (ME + andros) Ensemble was created by oud player, singer and songwriter Mavrothi Kontanis, and performs traditional folk, urban and classical music of Greece and the Near East. Maeandros is the Ancient Greek name of the river that “meanders” throughout Asia Minor (modern–day Turkey). Just as this ancient and mighty river winds through distinct regions, the Maeandros Ensemble transports their audiences through various genres of related musical traditions from Asia Minor and the Aegean Region: folk songs of the countryside, urban songs from the city centers, Ottoman court music, and regionally inspired original works are all effortlessly intertwined in performance
Merita Halili is one of Albania’s top performers, renowned for her stunning voice, prodigious range and exquisite vocal technique. Raif Hyseni, originally from the Republic of Kosova (which recently proclaimed its independence from Serbia), leads the most sought-after Albanian music ensemble in the United States. Together their performances thrill with masterful interpretations of instrumentals and urban folk songs from both Albania and the Republic of Kosova. Recent performance highlights include engagements at The Kennedy Center, The Lied Center of Kansas, New York’s Lincoln Center and London’s famed Barbican Centre.
Zikrayat, led by violinist, composer and vocalist Sami Abu Shumays, and dancer Dameshe Shumays, and featuring lead vocalist Salah Rajab and a talented lineup of acoustic instrumentalists and Egyptian-style dancers, is a New York City-based Arabic music and dance group unique in presenting the classical and dance repertories of the Arab World side-by-side. Zikrayat places a special emphasis on repertory from the "Golden Age" of Egyptian cinema, especially from the 1940's 50's and 60's, and has developed a multi-media show featuring film clips from the period synchronized with live music and dance performances.
Last updated: 2010-01-06 00:58:55
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