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Sultana Ensemble to lead evening of Middle East musical dialogue, Sept. 24
Sultana Ensemble to lead evening of Middle East musical dialogue, Sept. 24September 15, 2005Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
As the people of the Middle East enter a new chapter during this historic time of disengagement in Gaza, a gathering in Syracuse on Sept. 24 will express hope for a renewed relationship between Arabs and Jews through music, the language of peace.
Yoel Ben-Simhon and the Sultana Ensemble will lead an evening of Middle East musical dialogue, beginning at 7:30 p.m., in Syracuse University’s Hendricks Chapel. The event, which will be dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, is free and open to the public. Parking will be available in the Irving Garage. For more information, contact the Hendricks Chapel Dean’s Office at 443-2901.
The event is a collaborative effort, sponsored by the Syracuse Area Middle East Dialogue (SAMED) group; Hendricks Chapel; the LeMoyne Center for Peace and Global Studies; the Central New York Community Foundation; the Aloha Foundation; SU’s Judaic Studies Program; the Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflicts (PARC) in SU’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs; SU’s Middle Eastern Studies program; Hillel at SU; and the Mohamad El-Hindi Foundation.
“This will be an evening of great music and a celebration of these two rich traditions,” says the Rev. Thomas V. Wolfe, dean of Hendricks Chapel. “This collaboration of co-sponsors is much more than symbolic; it illustrates the common goodwill of these groups and their hope for the future. This concert represents what is possible now.”
Ben-Simhon, an Israeli of Moroccan parentage, has committed himself to researching the relationship between Jewish and Arabic music. He founded the Sultana Ensemble, drawing on the sounds of his Moroccan-Jewish heritage while using his experiences as a professional musician in the United States to reconnect this music to the Arab classical tradition.
“Music was one of the few spaces that Jews and Muslims in Arab lands could come together and share their creativity without boundaries,” says Ben-Simhon. “One of my goals is to preserve and promote Judeo-Arab and Middle Eastern music in general, and to create a dialogue between the two old traditions again.”
More information on the Sultana Ensemble can be found at http://www.sultanamusic.com.
SAMED was formed more than 20 years ago by seven representatives of each of three communities: Palestinians, Jews and concerned others. Since its founding, the group has worked locally, nationally and internationally to promote a peaceful solution to the conflict in the Middle East. More information aboutSAMED can be found at http://www.samed-syr.org.