Takht Al-Nagham

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Takht al-Nagham is a New York-based Arab ensemble featuring the sound of a traditional takht (Arab chamber music group). “Nagham” means melody or tune in Arabic, and is also used as a synonym for the Arab Maqam system. Following the vision of its founder Samer Ali, the group is committed to performing the classical Syrian repertoire with traditional acoustic instruments. In order to familiarize audiences in the U.S. with the original structure of the musical traditions, the takht presents its sets (called wasla in Arabic) in the same manner that they were originally performed.

Samer Ali: Violin

Gabriel Dahrieh, Violin

Insia Malek: Violin

Muhammad Qadri Dalal: Oud

Firas Zreik: Qanun

Johnny Farraj: Riqq

Joseph Ibrahim: Tabla

Nezih Antakli: Daff

John Murchison: Double bass

Fouad Salloum, Emad Botros, Sumar Frejat and Motasem Amayri: Chorus

Marwa Morgan, Zahra al-Zubaidi, Nadeen El-Akkad, Mehdyia Fassi, Khadidja Guendil: Chorus

Awj Ensemble

Awj Ensemble was founded by Samer Ali & Wassim Mukdad in Damascus, Syria 2007. Awj was an eight piece ensemble that focused on the traditional Syrian and Egyptian instrumental music. "Awj" means peak, summit or prosperity in Arabic, and is also used as a name of the "B half-flat" note (the 7th note in the Rast Maqam) in the Arabic Maqam system. The group was Damascus-based and performed regularly at the Danish Institute (Beit Al-Aqqad) in the old city, but also performed all over the Syrian geography: Aleppo, Latakia, and Tartus, etc. Due to the unfortunate civil war in our beloved Syria, Awj musical activities had to stop.  Awj had the following musicians:

Samer Ali: Violin

Wassim Mukdad: Oud

Rami Al-Jundi: Riqq

Omar Husni: Viola

Somar Ashkar: Cello

Ali Ahmad: Tabla/Daff

Majd Bilal: Qanun

Ahmad Daowd: Double Bass

This project presents a group of Syrian poets and musicians collaborating with visual artists to present poetry as a multi-sensory experience; readings and art with musical accompaniment. The multifaceted nature of this experience invites all three creative forms to transcend imposed creative boundaries and offer new experiential nuances.

Ta'sheeq was launched in Boston in May 2016. In the debut event, poets Hussam Jefee and Alma Nizam, accompanied by violinist Samer Ali, and works by visual artist Tammam Azzam, were all merged to create a new sensory experience in which poetry can be presented and received. 





Background Photo: Awj Ensemble @ Danish Institute (Beit Al-Aqqad) - Old City of Damascus, Syria, 2010

Copyright © 2019 Syrian Music Preservation Initiative Corp. a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization