Students Organize for Syria at Columbia University are proud to host Yousef Shamoun and the Tarab Ensemble for a Night of Music from Aleppo. The concert will feature Muwashshahat and Qudud Halabiya as well as vocal and instrumental improvisations.
Often considered to be the epitome of songs in the Arab world—especially in the Levant— the Muwashshahat are strophic poems set to music. Of Andalusian inspiration, they treat the themes of love, longing and spirituality. They continue to be cherished and even composed by Syrians at home and abroad. The Qudud Halabiya are lighter songs in both standard and colloquial Arabic that are well-known around the Arab world today.
Yousef will be accompanied by:
Mohamed A. Alsiadi (Oud)
Zafer Tawil (Qanun)
Samer Ali (Violin)
Yaser Abustaif (Violin)
Mohamed Nabawi (Accordion)
Jawad Bohsina (Keyboard)
Carlo Fakhoury (Bass)
George Radi (Percussion)
Joseph Ibrahim (Percussion)
Najeeb Al-Sahoum (Percussion)
Nazir Al-Masri (Percussion)
Doors open at 6.30 PM. Light refereshments will be served after the concert.
To have a taste of what to expect:
-$5.50 student tickets ($8.50 after 3/5)
-$12.50 general admission ($15.50 after 3/5)
Youssef Shamoun was born in Aleppo, Syria. Aleppo is home to a strong tradition of composing and singing the Muwashshahat and the Qudud Halabiya. It is also known for its Tarab, a musical style which means “enchantment.” Youssef belongs to the school of great Aleppian singers such as Sabah Fakhri,Mohamad Khairy and Omar Al-Batsh. He is known for both his mastery of the mawwal (non-metric vocal improvisation) and for his powerful rendition of the Arabic Maqam. Youssef is passionate about both preserving the classical tradition of Muwashshahat while also experimenting and innovating with their style and structures. As an active member of the Syrian-American community, Youssef has performed in several events and countries throughout the US, as well as Canada, Europe and the Middle East.
Mohamed A. Alsiadi, Ph.D. (ABD) (Coordinator of the Arabic Language and Cultural Studies Program at Fordham University M.) Alsiadi received his B.A. from the Damascus Music Conservatory, where he specialized in oud performance and conducting. He studied with renowned oudist Nadim Al Darwish, the son of composer and scholar Ali Al Darwish, for many years. He performs on an Iraqi oud made by the oud master Yaroub Mohammed Fadel. A regular guest of international festivals both as a soloist and chamber musician, Alsiadi has recently performed at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, the national auditorium in Madrid, the historic Nidaros Cathedral in Norway, GUST University in Kuwait, and Merkin Hall in New York City. Other highlights include his debuts at Vienna Konserthaus in 2012 and Carnegie Hall in 2015. Alsiadi has also directed several concert series and festivals on Arabic music, and he has developed an extensive and exceptionally varied catalogue of Arabic music recordings. At various international conferences, he has presented research on song forms central to Middle Eastern music, namely Arabic-sung poetry called qasida, and the Aleppian Wasla, a song-form that is one of the foundations of Syrian songs. Alsiadi moved from Aleppo, Syria to New York City in 1996, becoming a professor of Arabic Language, Literature and Culture. He is currently the lead professor and director for the Arabic studies program at Fordham University, and he is the chair of the US-MidEast program at the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University. He is finalizing his doctorate in American Studies at Rutgers University and his research interests include Arab-American relations; the impact of Mideast-West relations on contemporary Arabic music and literature; and the diaspora of the Aleppian Wasla in the West.
Jerusalem-born Tawil is an accomplished Palestinian musician whose areas of expertise include the oud, violin, qanun, and Arab percussion. Zafer performs across the US and in the Middle East and holds workshops in oud technique and Arabic music theory. He was part of the Spirit of Fez U.S. Tour 2006 and has performed with some of the most celebrated world music artists, including violinist and oud master Simon Shaheen and Rai singer Cheb Mami. Zafer is continuously exploring the boundaries of Arab music, and has worked collaboratively on many concerts involving classical Indian and Persian music, as well as Jazz fusion. You can catch Zafer playing one of his many instruments at extravagant private celebrations near his Brooklyn neighborhood, and at cultural centers such as Alwan for the Arts in Manhattan.
Samer Ali is a traditional Arabic violinist. A native of Syria, he resides in New York City and is the founder of Takht AlNagham, a traditional Arabic music ensemble. He currently performs with the
National Arab Orchestra. He began studying western classical violin at the age of eight and later pursued intensive conservatory studies with Ali Mukhtar Babayev. He cofounded the Awj Arab music ensemble in Damascus, Syria in 2007, and performed with the Ugarit Ensemble. He studied the Aleppian musical traditions with Mohammad Qadri Dalal, and Arabic violin with Simon Shaheen. Samer has worked with musicians in the US and Syria, including Moncef Genoud, Bassam Saba, and Michel Merhej Baklouk. Samer received his M.D. from Tishreen University, and is currently a resident physician at Mount Sinai hospital.
From Casablanca, Morocco, Bohsina bought his first keyboard at age 12, and as he recounts it grew with him. Today he is one of NYC vocalists most requested and respected keyboardists. By 16, Bohsina was playing at social events throughout Casablanca. His passion was Rai music both from Algeria (such as Cheb Khaled) and from Northeastern Morocco, like the Oujda-based group Bouchmak, but he expanded his repertoire to encompass his audiences tastes, playing Moroccan shaabi, rai, khaligi (Arabian gulf music), Egyptian and Levantine classics and hits. Bohsina first came to the US in 1998 on tour with the Moroccan Jewish singer Binhas. Since then, he has played regularly at clubs such as Cedars of Lebanon, until its closing in 2001, and at social events throughout the metro area. Despite his North African origins, Bohsina often plays Arab Levantine and Egyptian classic folk and pop music for New York based Levantine singers, as performance opportunities for Moroccan music are rare. You can hear Bohsina regularly at Layaly Lounge in Manhattan.