Acre Festival to unite Jews and Arabs through music

Sarit Hadad, Shabbat services and North African rhythms will be part of a festival celebrating the musical heritage of Mediterranean peoples, both Jews and Muslims.

May 28, 2019 14:41
1 minute read.
Acre Festival to unite Jews and Arabs through music

The Firqat Alnoor Orchestra is comprised of Arab and haredi musicians. (photo credit: screenshot)

After last year's success, the Arabesque Festival will return to Acre for a second year of Mediterranean music. Appearing at the event to take place in June in the northern city of Acre will be Israeli superstars Sarit Hadad and Miri Mesika, both of whom come from Jewish families of Middle Eastern and Sephardi origin. 

Kamil Shajrawi, a long-time instructor at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, will conduct the 20-pace Almasia Orchestra from Nazareth as part of the five-day festival.

Shjrawi, who is an expert in classical Arabic music, said the festival will be an opportunity to "cross borders and reduce gaps." He said music is a language that "connects the members of society" and will eventually "affect our daily behavior in order to build a promising generation that has grown up on the values ​​of brotherhood and honor."

Also featured at the festival will be Andalusian classical music, which developed in North African countries such as Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. The violin and the oud, a guitar-like string instrument, will be prominently featured. Shjrawi is considered a master of both. 

The festival will also include a master class by leading artists from Israel and abroad. A symposium entitled "Music and a Common Culture" will be led by Maestro Tom Cohen, the director of the festival. A Kabbalat Shabbat service and Saturday morning Jewish prayers featuring Sephardi piyyutim (songs) will be conducted in various synagogues throughout the historic city, known in Hebrew as Akko.

Other performer will include the Firqat Alnoor Orchestra, comprised of Arab and haredi musicians, the Jerusalem Orchestra East West, Nancy Hawa, Moshe Louk and others.

The Arabesque Festival will be held from June 11 - June 15.

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