Alhan Middle Eastern Ensemble
ALHAN will present a broad selection of Arabic and Turkish vocal and instrumental music ranging from Sufi melodies to contemporary popular songs. The program will begin with a traditional sama'i and andalusian muwashshahat and include a rendition of the Dhikr for nay. Another feature of the evening will be music of 20th century Egyptian composers including the popular song "Min Yishtiri-l-Wardi Minni" (Who wants to buy my flowers) by Riadh Al-Sunbati , and an instumental piece by Mohammed Abdel Wahab. The program will also include popular compositions of the Rahbani Brothers written for the great Lebanese singer, Fairuz. The ensemble features Eric LaPerna; riqq, darbuka and nay, Tom Kovacevic; oud, nay and vocals, Madeleine Hanna; lead vocals and frame drum and Lauren Hastings; violin.
The members of ALHAN bring many varied musical backgrounds to their exciting interpretation of Middle Eastern Music and have studied with master teachers from Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. They strive to convey authentic versions of the music with a contemporary flare. Their approach combines the diverse characteristics of the music, intricately composed and full of improvisation and ranging in mood inspired by vibrant timbres, sublime melodies, and spirited dance rhythms. They offer a truly rare opportunity to experience these rich and beautiful traditions of the Middle East.
ALHAN Middle Eastern Music Ensemble performs classical and popular Arabic and Turkish music of the 17th to the 21st centuries. Alhan's repertoire is drawn from compositions of some of the preeminent composers of Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Turkey. They also perform muwashshahat, a song form developed in 10th century Andalusia and performed throughout the modern Arab world. Alhan plays a number of instruments unique to Middle Eastern Music. The oud, on which the theory is given, is a short necked fretless lute. The riqq is basically a well- made tambourine which has a very developed technique including multiple hand positions and ways of striking the head and symbols. The nay is a rim blown bamboo flute which traces its ancestry back to Sumer. One of the distinct features of both Arabic and Ottoman music is the advanced system of maqamat or modes built on tetra chords and microtonal intervals. This system divides the western diatonic scale of 12 semitones into "quarter" tones. There are dozens of modes in current use today. The music also uses a number of iqa'at or rhythmic modes with patterns of five, seven, ten, fourteen, etc as common as three and four and measures that run to the length of twenty eight, forty four, etc beats. Middle Eastern Music, through its microtonal scales and complex meters seems capable of an almost unlimited range of melodic and expressive possibility.
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