Arab Music From Baghdad to Andalusia - Turaath
Featuring Simon Shaheen and the Qantara Ensemble, Tunisian vocalist Sonia M’Barak, Spanish vocalist and guitarist Juan Perez Rodriguez, dancer Auxi Fernandez, and vocalist Elizabeth Ayoub.
Shaheen is one of the most significant Arab musicians, performers, and composers of his generation. His work incorporates and reflects a legacy of Arabic music, while it forges ahead to new frontiers, embracing many different styles in the process. This unique contribution to the world of arts was recognized in 1994 when Shaheen was honored with the prestigious National Heritage Award at the White House. Simon has also released four albums of his own: Saltanah (Water Lily Acoustics), Turath (CMP), Taqasim (Lyrichord), and Simon Shaheen: The Music of Mohamed Abdel Wahab (Axiom), while also contributing cuts to producer Bill Laswell’s fusion collective, Hallucination Engine (Island). He has contributed selections to soundtracks for The Sheltering Sky and Malcolm X, among others, and has composed the entire soundtrack for the United Nations-sponsored documentary, For Everyone Everywhere. Broadcast globally in December 1998, this film celebrated the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Human Rights Charter.
But perhaps his greatest success has come with Blue Flame (ARK21, 2001), where he leads his group, Qantara, on a labyrinthian journey through the world of fusion music to discover the heart of the Middle East. The album has been nominated for eleven Grammy Awards, and the band’s performances have been called “glorious.”
The band has toured during 2003 and 2004, playing concerts and festivals like Womad USA, Womad Sicily, the prestigious Newport Jazz Festival, and the Montreal Jazz Festival. Traveling throughout Europe and the Middle East, Qantara’s appearances have included: Beiteddine Festival in Lebanon; Les Mediterranean in France; New York’s Central Park Summer Stage; Stern Grove International Festival in San Francisco; Chicago World Music Festival; Royce Hall in Los Angeles; University Musical Society in Ann Arbor; Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis; International Souk Ukaz at the historic citadel in Amman, Jordan; and Yabous Festival in the historical Tombs of Kings in East Jerusalem amongst others. In Palestine, Shaheen conducts an annual weeklong music workshop designed for gifted children.
- Bassam Saba - Nay and Flute / New York
- Najib Shaheen - Oud / New York
- Peter Slavov - Upright Bass / New York
- Ali Amr - Qanun / Boston
- Layth Al Rubaye - Violin / Boston
- Naseem Al Atrash - Cello / Boston
- Tareq Rantisi - Percussion
- Dafer Tawil - Percussion
- Sonia M’Barak: Vocalist of Classical Arabic music and related genres
- Juan Perez Rodriguez: vocalist, pianist and guitarist, focusing on flamenco fusion
- Auxi Fernandez: dancer specializing in flamenco
- Elizabeth Ayoub: singer, songwriter and composer