Wednesday, July 15, 2015

ReOrient Forum & Festival 2015



Golden Thread’s upcoming ReOrient Festival in San Francisco is well known for innovative, spirited, and thought-provoking theatre from and about the Middle East. With short plays by playwrights from Iraq, Iran, Egypt, England, and the U.S., the latest ReOrient promises to be a one-of-a-kind exploration of this unique region and its theater, stories, and artists.

The festival will feature 8 short plays by leading and emerging Middle Eastern writers (see below). The month-long festival of short plays, which will begin on September 10, 2015, will conclude with a FREE weekend Forum, a convening of artists, activists and scholars aimed at expanding the dialogue on theatre and the Middle East .

THE PLAYS:

LOST KINGDOM
by Hassan Abdulrazzak, directed by Michael French

When a Lebanese-American FBI agent is called in to interrogate a fallen dictator, a twisted tango ensues that complicates black and white notions of good and evil.

PICKING UP THE SCENT
by Yussef El Guindi, directed by Evren Odcikin

Hisham, an archeologist, discovers an ancient perfume bottle in a war zone. As he digs deeper, his poet wife Nisrin questions if it’s worth risking his life for history.

COUNTING IN AL SHA’AB
by Emma Goldman-Sherman, directed by Erin Gilley

Life goes on for Mr. Hattab and a colorful cast of characters from his bustling Baghdad neighborhood despite a bomb going off in front of his grocery store.

BITTERENDERS
by Hannah Khalil, directed by Manijeh Mohamedi

Maha’s Palestinian family shares their East Jerusalem apartment with an Israeli family, until a surprising letter changes everything—or does it?

CEASEFIRE
by Ken Kaissar, directed by Evren Odcikin

Can a ceasefire allow Israeli and Lebanese soldiers patrolling the border to see each other as something other than enemy?

THE HOUSE (World Premiere)
by Tala Manassah and Mona Mansour, directed by Sara Razavi

Kamal, a Palestinian-American scientist, and his philosopher daughter Alia put on a play and take an imaginary trip to his childhood home.

When: September 10- October 4th

More Information: http://www.goldenthread.org/reorient-festival-2015/

THE FORUM:

The month-long festival of short plays will conclude with a FREE weekend Forum, a convening of artists, activists and scholars aimed at expanding the dialogue on theatre and the Middle East .

This year, Golden Thread presents Theatre Between Home & Exile, a panel exploring the ideas of home and language for Palestinian theatre artists around the world. Panelists include Palestinian-American playwright and activist, Ismail Khalidi, University of Haifa’s theatre professor and professional Massoud Haman and Ramallah based, emerging playwright Dalia Taha.

Panel: “Theatre Between Home and Exile: New Palestinian Voices” (Oct 3)

Panelists: Massoud Hamdan (Israel), Yasser Abu Shaqra (Syria/Turkey), Hannah Kahlil (UK),
Ismail Khalidi (USA), Dalia Taha (West Bank, OPT)

This panel will bring five unique voices in Palestinian theatre together to discuss the complexity of telling Palestinian stories at home and abroad. The panelists will explore various identities and voices that make up Palestinian identity in the face of globalization.

Concert: ReImagined Folk Songs with Saosan Jarjour (October 4, 2:30 PM)

An afternoon of Syrian folk songs with award-winning Syrian American soprano, Saousan Jarjour.

For more info see http://www.goldenthread.org/

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Arab Western Film about Sultan Basha Al Atrash

Syrian-American Director Faisal Attrache is currently working on a new short film that deserves much attention and support. Titled 'From the Mountain' this Arab western short focuses on Sultan Basha Al Atrash's fight for freedom against colonial oppression. Read about it below and consider donating at THIS LINK.

For more info, see the film's Facebook Page and this YouTube video/promo: https://youtu.be/wn9_VNE_7As






Thursday, July 2, 2015

Malek Jandali Honored by The Carnegie Corporation of New York




Syiran-American pianist/composer Malek Jandali was honored today as a 2015 Great Immigrant - The Pride of America by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.  Established in 1911, the Carnegie Corporation of New York is honoring a distinguished group of accomplished immigrants who have helped advance and enlighten our society, culture, and economy. Both The New York Times and The Guardian will feature the 38 honorees and their accomplishments on Independence Day, July 4,2015.

The 2015 Great Immigrants come from more than 30 countries around the world and represent leadership in a wide range of professions. They include Nobel laureates Arieh Warshel and Thomas C. Südhof; Google Engineering Director Craig Nevill-Manning; Metropolitan Museum of Art Director Thomas Campbell; Atlanta Braves coach Eddie Pérez; Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin; Pulitzer Prize-winners Geraldine Brooks and Anne Telnaes; actress Sofía Vergara; singer Thalía and television game show host Alex Trebek.



Last month Malek Jandali released The Moonlight  طلع البدر, an original symphonic work for piano and orchestra recorded in Moscow with The Russian Philharmonic Orchestra. It is based on one of the oldest songs in Islamic culture, Tala Al Badru Alayna, dating back more than 1400 years. 

You can listen to this work below or at https://youtu.be/xPI-lf-oN8U

 

The Moonlight is now available on iTunes and CDBaby worldwide.



The Malek Jandali Trio performed in the UAE last month to sold out audiences in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Abu Dhabi Classic FM Radio featured Variations for Piano and Orchestra which is based on an ancient Syrian folk melody and is featured in the latest album Syrian Symphony.

Notes For My Homeland a short documentary film featured recently on National Geographic and premiered by the Newest Americans project at Rutgers University after the release of Syrian Symphony at Carnegie Hall.

BBC - NPR Music - VOA - NBC News - Al Arabiya TV - Fox News -
Al Jazeera - The Huffington Post - News 12 New Jersey - Al Hurra TV 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Santa Cruz Arabic Music Week



Check out this amazing event which is coming up on July 19-25 at Pleasure Point FDC in Santa Cruz, CA. Registration form and detailed schedule at THIS LINK.

This is a weeklong celebration of Arabic Music with instruction, workshops, performances in Arabic singing, instrumental music, percussion, and even a bit of dance. Instructors this year include Antoine Lammam for percussion, Elias Lammam, voice, maqam theory, ensemble, Arabic music history and subgenres, rhythms, improvisation and taqsim, Sarah Michael, assistant music director, Janelle Rodriguez, oriental dance, Carolé Acuña, flamenco, and Tina Enheduanna, oriental dance.

This year there will be two phases of the week-long event: a two-day Bootcamp for musicians new to Arabic music (less than 3 years experience) on July 19-20; and a four-day intensive for more advanced students of Arabic music. The week will end with an evening of performances for family, friends and the public. There will be additional performance opportunities in the evenings throughout the week.

Instruments: traditional Arabic instruments such as qanun, oud, riqq, rebab, etc., as well as traditional Western instruments: accordion, violin, bass, guitar & other strings, woodwinds, brass instruments, and keyboard; percussion instruments such as riqq (tambourine), tabla/doumbek, and various frame drums.

July 19-20: Intensive immersion program for musicians, drummers & singers who are new to Arabic music.
July 19 from 1-5 pm: Dancer-friendly overview of Arabic music including: learn to sing your first Arabic song, percussion, history, famous figures in Arabic music, & more.

July 21-25: A wide variety of classes in Arabic music, percussion & singing at a more advanced level.
Percussion-only track also available, afternoons from July 19-25. See registration form for details.

July 24: The participant ensemble will perform live music with dance performances by our dance faculty & workshop participants.

July 25: Full concert by the participant ensemble and our instructors (myself, Tony Lammam and Sarah Michael).

Both of the shows on July 24-25 are open to the public. Tickets just $5 adv or $10 at the door.

Evening Dance Program: Dance workshops with

Janelle Rodriguez, July 20-21,
Carole Acuna, Flamenco, July 22
Tina Enheduanna, July 23

Join the FB event page for updates:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1603223289894322/

Check out some new videos of our instructors on our Youtube channel at:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHYPKpehgeOX_32f_0NyaHw/videos?flow=grid&view=0&sort=p




Monday, May 25, 2015

Pierre Dulaine at Stanford on Friday May 29 (Noon + 7pm)

TWO events for Ballroom dancing legend Pierre Dulaine were planned at Stanford on Friday May 29 (see flier below):

1. Noon Lunch Talk at Language Center (Building 30-102): SEE VIDEO BELOW
Mr. Dulaine discussed his 'Dancing Classrooms' method which he applied in his award winning documentary Dancing in Jaffa to bring Arab and Jewish children together through dance. Mr. Dulaine spoke about the film, his journey into the world of dance and his experience as a Judge on the Arabic version of the TV show 'So You Think You Can Dance.' Includes audio-visual intro by Dr. Ramzi Salti.  See video at https://youtu.be/h2aQzq4H1qk



2. 7pm Screening of Dancing in Jaffa + Q&A with Pierre Dulaine (Building 260-113):
Arrive by 6:30 pm for a live performance by the Stanford Middle East Ensemble, followed by a screening of the film at 7 pm + Q&A with Mr. Dulaine (moderated by Ramzi Salti). Dinner Provided.  Watch video below or at https://youtu.be/uEQ1NAz6beo



Events were sponsored by the Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, The Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, Taube Center for Jewish Studies, Stanford Language Center, Division of Literatures Cultures and Languages, Department of Comparative Literature, The Department of Theater & Performance Studies (TAPS), ITALIC, Arab Students Association at Stanford, Hillel, Jewish Student Association, the Arab Film Festival and a generous artsCatalyst grant by the Stanford Arts Institute.

About Pierre Dulaine:



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Gibran Poetry Night w/ Ramzi Salti at Stanford (May 22 @ 6 pm)



Stanford Lecturer Dr. Ramzi Salti gave a talk about Lebanese Poet جبران خليل جبران / Khalil Gibran this Friday on May 22 at 6 pm at Stanford Markaz Resource Center at Stanford University.  The evening focused on Gibran's poems in Arabic, followed by elaboration and explanation in English--plus various musical renderings by Fairuz.

Here is a video recording of the event (https://youtu.be/B7vEClRcDKs) followed by pictures from the talk.




Pictures from Gibran Poetry Night at Stanford:









Saturday, May 16, 2015

5/12 Arabology Podcast Available

Arabology 9.10 Podcast https://soundcloud.com/arabology/arabology910

This episode of 'Arabology' aired on May 12, 2015.  The podcast includes new music by Algerian singer Souad Massi (based on Al Motanabi poem and translated to English) + the latest track by Egypt's Badrawies Project + Jordanian indie music by El Morabba3-المربّع and ZA'ED NA'ES زائد ناقص (ft. Muhammad Abdullah) + Morocco's OUM + various songs by Mike Massy and Maya Waked (both of whom are also interviewed). This podcast includes an inspiring interview with Hamza Chraibi, Founder of Arab Excellence, and an interview with writer Maisaa Al-Hatemi including a reading of one of her daring short stories in Arabic and English. Also includes a chat with Serge Bakalian, Executive Director of the Arab Film Festival, and a conversation with Adam Eltoukhy and Waleed Mohsen, Founders of Mohsen Arts Foundation + interview and Oud music by this year's grant winner Bangin Kanjo.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

San Francisco Premiere of "Intima" at Z Space




Intima is a fusion of visual art, dance, and music that investigates themes of self-discovery, conflict, loss and resolution. The cultural history of Syria, ranging from the Gilgamesh myth to the current, tragic war, inspired Tayeb Al-Hafez to bring these artists together.  This event is premiered on May 8 and 9 at Z Space in San Francisco.

Here is my interview with some members of the Intima Creative Team, recorded backstage after their SF premiere, featuring Tayeb Al-Hafez, Ilyas Iliya, Ali Kaaf, and Ashraf Kateb:



"Intima brings together artists with mutual respect and a shared vision.”
—Gregory Dawson, Choreographer

“Exploring the relationship between man, space, and death has always been a focus of my work. Intima enhances this exploration by incorporating the physical body at every step. Movement is an ever-present feature of the total performance, giving the visual display a unique dynamism.”
—Ali Kaaf, Visual Artist

“For me, Intima addressed many questions especially now as my native homeland of Syria struggles. Intima is now part of my creative arc, part of my humanity.”
—Ashraf Kateb, Music Director


Collage with Intima cast and crew



Ramzi Salti Interviewed on CHOU Radio 1450 AM

https://soundcloud.com/arabology/1450am


Arabology
radio host and Stanford Lecturer Dr. Ramzi Salti was recently interviewed by Maya Waked for her Lebanese radio show which airs on CHOU 1450 AM in Canada. Listen to an excerpt below or at https://soundcloud.com/arabology/1450am



Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pierre Dulaine at Stanford on May 29, 2015 (Noon + 7pm)

Legendary ballroom dancing champion Pierre Dulaine, who stars in the critically acclaimed documentary Dancing in Jaffa documentary (where he brought Arab and Jewish children together through his dancing method) will be at Stanford on May 29, 2015 for two events:  A talk at noon in 30-102 and a 7 pm screening of his film + Q&A with Mr. Dulaine himself in 260-113. See details below.

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, The Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, Taube Center for Jewish Studies, The Arab Film Festival, Stanford Language Center, Division of Literatures Cultures and Languages, Department of Comparative Literature, The Department of Theater & Performance Studies (TAPS), ITALIC, Arab Students Association at Stanford, Hillel, Jewish Student Association and a generous artsCatalyst grant by the Stanford Arts Institute.



Lunch event with Pierre Dulaine at the Language Center Building 30-102 at 1-2 pm:
Talk by ballroom dancing legend Pierre Dulaine about his 'Dancing Classrooms' method which he applied in his award winning documentary 'Dancing in Jaffa' to bring Arab and Jewish children together through dance. Mr. Dulaine will speak about the film, his journey into the world of dance and his experience as a Judge on the Arabic version of the TV show 'So You Think You Can Dance.' Talk features audio-visual presentation and free lunch.
See http://cddrl.fsi.stanford.edu/arabreform/events/talk-ballroom-dancing-legend-pierre-dulaine


7 pm screening + Q&A in Building 260-113:
Screening of the award winning documentary 'Dancing in Jaffa' starring Pierre Dulaine who will be in attendance and will participate in a Q&A session following the film. Free and open to the public. Dinner provided. Preceded by short performance by the Stanford Middle East Ensemble.

Pierre Dulaine Bio:

Pierre Dulaine was born in Jaffa, Palestine in 1944 to an Irish father and a Palestinian mother--both of whom fled the area in 1948. After eight months of moving several times, Dulaine's family settled in Amman, Jordan. In 1956, the Suez Crisis forced Dulaine's parents to flee the country, eventually resettling in Birmingham, England. In 1994 Dulaine founded the Dancing Classrooms program in New York City's public schools in which he encouraged children from various backgrounds to dance together. He later traveled to the city of his birth, Jaffa, to visit his childhood home and to make a film,Dancing in Jaffa, where he brought Israeli Arabs and Jews together through dance and music. His life was also fictionalized in the film Take the Lead starring Antonio Banderas. More recently, Pierre Duaine has gained much acclaim in the Arab world for his role as Judge on the Arabic version of the TV show 'So You Think You Can Dance' where he encouraged young Arab men and women to pursue dance as way of dealing with difficult circumstances and certain outdated social taboos.

Trailer: Dancing in Jaffa at https://youtu.be/Y_ctPdWh_PA

TedTalk by Pierre Dulaine at https://youtu.be/MqnbE5WRPEU?t=6m19s

Pierre Dulaine encourages Contestant/Dancer Ahmad Joudeh during 'So You Think You Can Dance' TV Show (Arabia) at https://youtu.be/5acMbA0Mqx0


STANFORD EVENTS:

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review of 'Sin Visa' Film


Sin Visa is an independent, poignant film that broaches the topic of immigration in a powerful, thoughtful and unique way.  At a time when immigrants seem to be systematically portrayed en masse by so many media outlets, this film succeeds in humanizing the immigrant experience by reminding us all of the individuality and uniqueness of every immigrant that has ever crossed the border.

Sensitively written, in Spanish, by Bassam Kassab, this 81-minute drama takes us upon the often horrifying journey of Marco, a 17-year old Mexican who crosses the border in search of work, security, and a better life.  What he finds instead is that the road ahead is filled with treachery, exploitation, and a total lack of humanity.

This is not to say that this film does not offer hope, for the script does introduce us to characters that actually help Marco in overcoming various obstacles while adjusting to his new life.  These multi-ethnic characters serve to underline the need for various immigrant communities to support each other and, as such, offer a fresh and realistic alternative to traditional immigrant narratives.

This film was brilliantly directed by Ana Simoes, nicely edited by Egyptian Director Maher Sabry, and features a moving performance by Edgar-Arturo Camacho-Gonzales in the part of Marco.  That strong lead serves to keep the film on track and enables us to truly understand the real and constant danger that defines the lives of so many immigrants to the US.  The rest of the cast is also quite impressive and, at times,  so believable that one starts feeling that one is watching a real-life documentary instead of a fictional drama.

The film's soundtrack is also quite worthy of praise and includes new songs, in Arabic and Spanish, by Lebanese singing sensation Mike Massy.  Massy's voice is perfectly suited for the kind of  ballads, lamentations and odes that set the somber mood of the film.  One of the songs 'Ya Ummi' (written in Arabic by Bassam Kassab and recorded by Mike Massy) is so heart wrenching that several members of the audience could be heard literally sobbing their hearts out.

This film is highly recommended for anyone who is seeking a different way of broaching the topic of immigration all over the world today.  It contains some scenes that can be disturbing for some but none of these are gratuitous or sensational in nature.  They are, however, quite haunting as one feels the after-effects of this film long after having watched it.

--Reviewed by Ramzi Salti, Ph.D. (Stanford University)

For more info, see http://www.zarcofilms.com/sin-visa.html
For my interview with Bassam Kassab: https://soundcloud.com/arabology/arabology99#t=15:33

SIN VISA TRAILER: https://youtu.be/3ckqLQlG7Mw


'Ya Immi' by Mike Massy (Sin Visa Soundtrack): https://youtu.be/Z_iNVTo9y9o


PICTURES FROM SIN VISA PREMIERE AT THE ROXIE (SAN FRANCISCO):


Sin Visa Cast at the Roxie

Actor Edgar-Arturo Camacho-Gonzales (left) with singer Mike Massy

Egyptian Director/Editor  Maher Sabry with Sin Visa Director Ana Simoes

Bassam Kassab and Mike Massy at Sin Visa After-Party

Friday, April 3, 2015

3/31 Arabology Podcast Available

https://soundcloud.com/arabology/arabology99

Arabology 9.9 aired on March 31, 2015 and included and interview with Bassam Kassab (who spoke about his film Sin Visa) as well as with 2 Arab women photographers whose work is currently exhibited at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford: Rania Matar and Tanya Habjouka.

The show also premiered a new song by Mike Massy titled 'Ya Immi' as well as Mashrou' Leila's new track called '3 Minutes.'  Other featured singers included Oum (Morocco), Macadi Nahhas (Jordan), Haifa Kamal (Jordan), Maya Waked (Lebanon/Canada), +Aziz (Kuwait), Rim Banna (Palestine), Zein Aljundi (Syria) and Aswat: the Bay Area Arabic Music Ensemble.

Listen to the podcast below or at https://soundcloud.com/arabology/arabology99



Friday, March 27, 2015

Arabology Interviews Arab Idol Winners

With Hazem Sharif (left) and Haitham Khalaily (right)

A special episode of Arabology 9.8 aired on March 26, 2015 and included an interview with Arab Idol 2014 winners Hazem Sharif (Syria) and Haitham Khalaily (Palestine). Both singers came to Stanford for the interview in which they spoke about their upcoming concert at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City and which takes place on Friday March 27 at 8pm (tickets at  www.foxrwc.com).  They also sang live on the show.

Listen to the segment below or at https://soundcloud.com/arabology/arabology98






Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Arabology Podcast Available (March 3, 2015)

Arabology 9.6 aired on March 3. 2015. Podcast includes Arabic music from North Africa and the Levant; Arabic and English translations by Stanford students of Arabic; Interview with Photographer Najib Joe Hakim; Interview with Jordanian Talk Show Host Jude Jweihan.



Playlist for Arabology Tuesday, 3 March 2015 1pm - 3pm
1. Generation Bass/ Super Strength/ Cairo Liberation Font Vol 1/GB
2. Gnawa Diffusion/ Ya Laymi/ World Reggae/ Putumayo World Music
3. Labess/ El Kass Yadour/ Identite/ Needlepoint Records
4. Rachid Taha, Now Or Never/ Zoom/ Naive
5. Khaled/ Bab Jenna (Gate Of Heaven)/C'est La Vie/ Universal Music France
6. Souad Massi/ Raoui / Women of Africa/ Putumayo World Music
7. Stanford Students of Arabic (Y1)speak Arabic
8. Badrawies & Hesham Watany/ Sa3at Sa3at/ Single/ NA
9. Luka/ Bashrab Hashish/ El Khayt wal 7ayt Soundtrack/ Directed by Mohamed Khaled
10. Report about 'She Who Tells A Sorry: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World' Exhibit at Stanford.
11. Interview with Najib Joe Hakim about his 'Home away from home' Photo Exhibit
12. Ahmet Baglama/ Baglama/ Single/ Ahmet Baglama
13. Hiba Tawaji/ Les moulins de mon coeur (Arabic)/ Watary
14. Maya Hobeika/ Law tiktibli byout / Ward/ Maya Hobeika
15. Interview with Jude Jweihan, Host of 'The Jude Show' (Jordan)
16. Ashraf Sweilem/ Toul Omry/ Toul Omry Soundtrack/ Ilyas Iliyya
17. Khan El Rouh/ Ya Welah/ Ya Welah/ Obay Al-Sha'arani
18. Emel Mathlouthi/ Dhalem (Tyrant)/ Kelmti Horra/ World Village
19. Tania Kassis/ Islamo- Christian Ave/ Single/ Tania Kassis


Ramzi Salti's Talk: Healing through Lebanese Music (EPIC Fellows, Stanford Global Studies, September 2020)

Watch full talk at https://youtu.be/LzAaUrZEq8k This audio-visual talk by Stanford Lecturer + Arabology program host Dr. Ramzi Salti was pre...