Transcending Conflict: A Celebration of Shared Traditions in Middle Eastern Music

On Monday, April 10, 2006, four Boston-area musicians of the Middle Eastern genre (oud, kanun, tabla, and violin) gathered at Brandeis to perform ten songs, five in Arabic and five of Jewish origin from various regions in the Middle East. Some of the songs were accompanied by a dancer. A discussion session followed the concert.

The event highlighted the similarities between Arabic and Jewish music of corresponding geographical areas. The rich traditions preserved by both cultures have many overlapping elements, some of which were highlighted by the performance. These elements underscored the commonality between Jews and Arabs, two groups which in the past few decades have been in a heightened state of conflict.

The performers were: Walid Zairi (oud), Theodoulos Vakanas (violin), Anastassia Zachariadou (kanun), Mishaal al-Omar (darbuka/percussion), Noam Smooha (vocals), and Manar Fawakhry (dance).

The event was coordinated by Dialogue On the Middle East, the Arab Culture Club.