Join acclaimed trumpeter and composer Amir ElSaffar and his Two Rivers sextet to discover a transcendent space where musical boundaries dissolve. ElSaffar’s sonic tapestries meld Western jazz and Iraqi maqam to create a new sound that’s “hypnotic and utterly unique” (Time Out Chicago).
American-born ElSaffar learned Iraqi maqam, a highly sophisticated system of melodic modes in classical Arabic music, from a master of the tradition — Hamid Al-Saddi, renowned for his commanding vocals and deep knowledge of the Baghdad repertoire. Al-Saddi will join ElSaffar on stage for a powerful performance between teacher and student.
Opening the evening are special guests, Spiral Modes, a Toronto-based band led by qanun player and composer Sanaz Nakhjavani. The group formed in 2017 at the Museum following a jam session with members of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. Spiral Mode’s members originate from Iran, Syria, and Greece, and their musical explorations extend past borders into the greater Middle East and Mediterranean. Rooted in improvisation, the group creates unique experiences.
This show is part of our 2018/19 Performing Arts season, The Other Side of Fear, featuring acclaimed artists who have transcended fear through music, dance, and spoken word.