(photo credit: Kendall Messick)
Oud Festival stretches its scope This year’s Oud Festival – the event’s 11th edition – will be the biggest yet, with concerts taking place between November 11 and November 25, in both Jerusalem and Nazareth. Most of the shows will be held in Jerusalem, at a number of locations, including the Jerusalem Theater, Beit Shmuel and Confederation House. The latter venue’s director, Effie Benaya, is also artistic director of the festival.
One of the biggest draws, no doubt, will be the recently reformed Night Ark cross-cultural group which mixed jazz, ethnic music and soft rock to great effect in the Eighties and early Nineties. One of its members, Armenian-American oud player Ara Dinkjian is no stranger to these shores, having appeared at the festival several times before. Meanwhile, percussionist Yinon Muallem will team up with Turkish harpist Sirin Pancaroglu and accomplished kamanja (spike violin) player Mark Elyahu in an intriguing musical and cultural synergy with an unusual instrumental lineup.
One of the more ambitious slots in the festival program features Vocalist Maureen Nehedar and the Raanana Symphonette, along with musical director and conductor Dr. Michael Wolpe, pianist Daniel Shefi and oud player Or Tzarfati. The concert is entitled From Isfahan to Jerusalem
and will incorporate Persian folk songs and classical Hebrew songs, and the common ground between them.
Elsewhere in the foreign act section there is renowned Indian Qawwali Music vocalist Iqbal Ahmed Khan Nizami who combines the Sufi-based style with more contemporary motifs. In Jerusalem, Nizami will present a program of works by 13th century poet and musician Hazrat Amir Khusro. The Shin Ensemble from Georgia, which combines jazz-influenced ethnic music, folk dance and polyphonic song, should appeal to people who like to delve into music from different cultures and eras.
Music fans looking for something somewhat left field should enjoy the
Classics, Avant-garde and Oud show by Tzippi Fleischer. Fleischer hails
from a western classical music background but has immersed herself in
Arabic music in recent years. The concert incorporates videos,
recordings and stories about the process of composition.
festival slots that should bring in the crowds include a concert
featuring sometime rocker Ehud Banai alongside Galileean duo oud
player-violinist-vocalist George Samaan and percussionist-vocalist Salem
Darwish, and bass guitarist Gil Smetana, stellar oud player-violinist
Yair Dalal’s The Nightingale of Baghdad,
and Journey between Eastern and Western Traditions
with the Arab-Jewish Youth Orchestra conducted by Taiseer Elias.For more information about the Oud Festival: http://www.confederationhouse.org/english/