NOTES AGAINST TRUMP’S TRAVEL BAN: A musical response from the 7 Countries
A concert by Aswat Ensemble and Guest Performers showcasing the music of the Seven Countries listed on January 27th’s Executive Order
“These artists put on a stirring performance.” -BBC
“Presenting music from Libya, Yemen, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Iraq, the concert serves dual roles as ambassadorial outreach and as a healing salve.” -Gabe Meline, KQED
Internationally renowned performers from each of the seven countries listed in the January 27 travel ban will perform music from their homeland, assisted by the Aswat Ensemble. Reverend Michael Yoshi will reflect briefly on the executive order that interned the Japanese (including his parents) during WWII and the current ban against Muslims.
This special evening will start with Basma Edrees, a Juliard graduate who will play violin and sing a Muslim prayer of Supplication and will feature: Sudanese vocalist Salma Al Assal, Michael (Mohammed) Nejad, an Iranian musician who plays 45 instruments, Jalal Takesh, performing on Qanun (Arabic autoharp), Persian singer & Setar player Abolhassan Mokhtabad, and many others. Iman Hassen, a Somali American will be reading Somali poetry about the immigrant experience. Two pieces of music from each of the seven countries that are part of the Jan 27 travel ban will be performed. The songs may be religious, secular or folk, but in every case will showcase the most-loved, most-typical music from each country the music that makes people think of home. Translations of each song will be projected on a screen for the audience.
Music is a microcosm of a culture: it is the element that accompanies most rituals and rites. Its rhythmic structures are the pulse, its tonal/melodic structures are the soul, and its poetry is the language of the heart and mind. We are convinced that once one has experienced the artistic richness of another culture, they are much less likely to dehumanize them by seeing them through media-propagated stereotypes. -Nabila Mango, Aswat Ensemble Director
The Aswat (meaning voices in Arabic) Ensemble uses bowed and stringed instruments along with percussion; such as the violin, oud, qanun, tar and other drums. The performers include Iranian, Arab and American musicians.
Here is a video from Sudanese singer, Salma Al Aasal