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Quench the Thirsty فاصل اسق العطاش

  • Scandinavia House 58 Park Avenue New York, NY, 10016 United States (map)

The Syrian Music Preservation Initiative (SMPI) presents "Quench The Thirsty" with Takht Al-Nagham and Syrian vocalist Wajde Ayub.

This unique concert will feature a Waslah in maqam Rast, a musical suite, followed by one of the most beloved works in the classical Syrian repertoire, Isqil Al-’Itash, presented for the first time in the U.S. in its entirety.

Isqi Al-'Itash (Quench the Thirsty) itself had been nearly lost to history. As all great works of art are a true reflection of people's trials and tribulations, hopes and aspirations, the lyrics to Isqil Al-'Itash were written by Abdel Al-Salam Al-Nabulsi and the music was composed by Mohammad Al-Manbiji during a difficult drought in Aleppo back in 1776. Al-Manbiji begs his maker's forgiveness to release his people from their struggle. It is an eloquent adjuration to the Almighty set to over two hours of sincere and profound Mowashahat and Qasa'id. The work then nearly disappears from the annals of music until the efforts of the Syrian violinist Tawfiq Al-Sabbagh brought it back into recognition by recording it at Aleppo Radio. In the late 60's, Sabah Fakhri's legendary recording secured its position as one of the Arab world's most memorable and beloved artistic masterpieces.

In our event, also for the first time, the musical performance will be accompanied by two classical dance recitals; a "Samah" interval and a Sufi whirling dervish finale.

Takht Al-Nagham reflects the vision of its founder Samer Ali. It is a New York-based Arab chamber music group featuring the sound of a traditional takht (Arab chamber music ensemble) that is committed to performing the classical Syrian repertoire with traditionally all acoustic instruments. In order to familiarize audiences in the U.S. with the original structure of the musical traditions, the takht presents its sets, in the same manner, they were originally performed over a century ago. Participating in this performance will be 14 musicians and vocalists.

Leading the vocalists is Wajde Ayub, a classically-trained Syrian Mutrib. Mr. Ayub was born in Aleppo, Syria, and started to sing and play the Oud at an early age. For over twenty-five years, he has performed with most of the leading musical figures of Aleppo, like Amer Amouri, Safwan Al-Abed, and Shadi Jamil. Having toured in Europe and Latin America, he has performed in the U.S. since 2006. His primary focus is on the Waslah, an Arab musical suite that has a specific set of composed and improvised forms like Muwashshah, Taqasim, and Qasida, etc. Wajde Ayub is likely the most specialized singer of the Waslah in the U.S. today. He was trained to memorize dozens of classic Arabic compositions which he recites and improvises spontaneously during a given performance; a particularly demanding task for a takht. The members of the ensemble are hence required to be intimately familiar with an extensive repertoire base allowing them to seamlessly perform complex phrasing without the aid of musical notation.

Takht al-Nagham includes the following members:
Violin I: Samer Ali
Violin II: Insia Malik
Oud: Zafer Tawil
Qanun: Fouad Salloum
Riq/Daff: Johnny Farraj
Tabla/Daff: Nezih Antakli
Double bass: John Murchison
Male chorus: Sumar Frejat, Motasem Amayri, Emad Botros
Female chorus: Marwa Morgan, Khadidja Guendil, Nadeen El-Akkad
Samah dancer: Nicole Macotsis
Costume design and Choreography: Ramzi El-Edlibi
Whirling Dervish: Adnan Tarakji

The event includes an exhibition by Syrian artist Lukman Ahmad

Tickets: $25 advance, $30 at the door. Please visit the link