Art in the press

Concert celebrates Middle Eastern musical traditions: Arab-American community

Concert celebrates Middle Eastern musical traditions: Arab-American community celebrated during March 6th concert and dance performance at the White Plains Performing Arts Center. (arts news)

Westchester County Business Journal; 3/1/2004; van Buren, Tom

Among the various cultures represented in Westchester, there is perhaps less of an awareness of the thriving Arab-American communities in Yonkers and elsewhere in the county. On March 6th, the Westchester Arts Council invites the public to participate in an exalting musical sampling of local Arab-American culture during Funun Al Jalia, Arabic for "Arts in the Community," an evening of music and dance at the White Plains Performing Arts Center.

The main event of the evening will be Yonkers resident Ali Hamideh and his ensemble of musicians from, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. Concert goers will feel as though they are exploring the rich culture, ancient traditions, and beautiful landscapes of the Middle East. With instruments including the "daf," the "kanun," the "'ud," the "tableh," and the "riqq" many concert-goers Hill be treated to sounds that they have never heard before. Special guest performances of Levantine debkeh dancers of the Palestinian Birzeit University Alumni Association debkeh dance troupe, with their traditional costumes, will add to the festive feel of the evening.

The Westchester Arts Council's Folklore program is an initiative to identify and support the richness of traditional arts and culture throughout the county. The program celebrates folk artists whose work comes from the traditional values and aesthetics of their communities. In showcasing the Arab cultural arts here in Westchester, we wanted to help bring focus to the rich tapestry of a civilization that did so much to preserve the wisdom of the ancient world, and whose music in particular echoes a blend of poetry, lyricism and expressive creativity that has been carried down through an unbroken chain of tradition from the 7th Century to the present.
We hope that people who are curious about the range of expression in the Arab communities Hill take this chance to come to share in the beauty and subtlety of these arts. In addition to Funun Al Jalia, the Westchester Arts Council held a program called The Arts of Haiti on January 30th, and is holding its Fifth Annual Irish House Party on April 16th, featuring the all-female Irish Music Sensation Cherish the Ladies. The Worlds of Westchester concert series is made possible with support from HSBC Bank, the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), and PACE University. For tickets, visit the White Plains Performing Arts Box office at 11 City Place, Fifth Floor, or call: (888) 977-2250.

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