When: Wed., Oct. 18, 7:30 p.m. 2017
ElSaffar’s Rivers of Sound Orchestra showcases 17 musicians from a broad spectrum of traditions, including Western classical instruments alongside oud, jowza, mridangam, buzuq, and dumbek; together, the group creates an entirely new musical language that transcends established notions of style and convention.
The highest ideal in maqam music is to reach a state of tarab, or musical ecstasy, which results from the melting away of borders as performers and audiences revel together in the music. As pitches and rhythms become fluid, so do cultural boundaries, and this transcultural approach combines improvisation and composition in a novel soundscape. Amir ElSaffar is an expert practitioner of both jazz and Iraqi maqam and shows off his large-scale ensemble to Ann Arbor for this special presentation; ElSaffar and select members of the group also provide the live music and original score for Ragamala Dance Company two nights later.