Where Rivers Meet: Songs and Stories from Masters of Arabic Music – Full Performance

By Chicago Folklore Ensemble. Recorded December 17, 2017 at Skokie Public Library. Part I: 2:45 The Nile River Featuring Amro Hosny Helmy, oud player and singer from Cairo, Egypt Part II: 39:15 The Jordan River Featuring Mary Hazboun, singer from…

Where Rivers Meet: Songs and Stories from Masters of Arabic Music – Full Performance

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By Chicago Folklore Ensemble.
Recorded December 17, 2017 at Skokie Public Library.

Part I: 2:45 The Nile River
Featuring Amro Hosny Helmy, oud player and singer from Cairo, Egypt
Part II: 39:15 The Jordan River
Featuring Mary Hazboun, singer from Bethlehem, Palestine
Part III: 1:21:55 The Shatt Al-Arab River
Featuring Edward Hanna, percussionist and singer from Basra, Iraq
Finale: 2:00:00 The Confluence

Along the banks of a river, people wash clothes, sing songs, and tell stories. Spices, fabrics, and melodies are carried downstream, and villages are woven together by the current. Today the Shatt Al-Arab, the Nile, and the Jordan converge at Lake Michigan as we explore the music and stories of three master musicians from Iraq, Egypt, and Palestine.

We gathered the material for this show in lessons and interviews with each master musician. The stories you hear are based on their own words, and we learned the songs under their guidance. It has been a joy and honor to learn from each of these musicians. They told us their personal accounts relating the history of the Middle East, taught us traditional styles of music from each country, and imparted deep wisdom that, in troubled times, has instilled in us a sense of hope.

THE ENSEMBLE:

Anita Darwish, narration
Edward Hanna, percussion and voice
Amro Hosny Helmy, oud and voice
Mary Hazboun, voice
Lucia Thomas, violin and oud
Sam Hyson, violin and accordion
Ellen Frolichstein, cello

Founded in 2015, Chicago Folklore Ensemble celebrates and promotes immigrant culture by interweaving oral history and traditional music in dynamic performances for string ensemble and storyteller. They have performed at TEDxUChicago, Old Town School of Folk Music, and many venues, festivals, schools, and libraries in the Chicagoland area. Where Rivers Meet is their third show, after The World in Chicago (2015), and Follow the Butterfly (2016). In 2016 they released an album-book pairing entitled The World in Chicago, with music and stories of master musicians from Argentina, Thailand, Jordan, Ghana, and Serbia. Books and CDs are available for purchase: http://www.chicagofolkloreensemble.org/

Chicago Folklore ensembles is raising money for future shows. If you would like support our programming, please go to http://www.crossingbordersmusic/donate and make sure to click “Add special instructions to the seller” and type “Chicago Folklore Ensemble.” All donations are tax deductible. Thank you for your support!

PROGRAM:

Part I: The Nile River نهر النيل
Featuring Amro Hosny Helmy, oud player and singer from Cairo, Egypt
• Musafirun Zeydu El-Khayalu – By Mohammed Abdel Wahab (Lyrics by Mahmoud Hassan Ismail)
• Mawood – Written for singer Abdel Halim Hafez by Baligh Hamdi (music) & Mohamed Hamza (lyrics)
• Mosh Baqi Mini – By Amro Hosny Helmy (Lyrics by Moustafa Eldaly)
• Aho Da Elly Sar – by Sayed Darwish
• Tala Al-Badru ‘Alayna – Traditional Islamic Nasheed
• Bahlem Bekilma – by Amro Hosny Helmy (Lyrics by Ashraf Elassawy & Moustafa Eldaly)

Part II: The Jordan River نهر الأردن
Featuring Mary Hazboun, singer from Bethlehem, Palestine
• “Who Am I, Without Exile?” – Poem by Mahmoud Darwish
• Ahmed Al-Arabi – Marcel Khalife (Lyrics by Mahmoud Darwish)
• We ‘Ayouneha – Palestinian Folklore
• ‘Ala Dal’ona – Palestinian Folklore
• Talat Al-Baroude – Palestinian Shel’ayat Folksong
• Rija Al-Khay – Samih Shqer
• Ahinu Ila Khoubzi Oumi – Marcel Khalife (Lyrics by Mahmoud Darwish)
• Yama Mwel Al-Hawa – Palestinian Folklore

Part III: The Shatt Al-Arab River شط العرب
Featuring Edward Hanna, percussionist from Basra, Iraq
• Khaf Allah Rabbak – Saleh Al-Kuwaiti
• ‘Ala Shatt Al-Arab Tehla – Hamid Al-Basri
• Ahya We Amut ‘Al-Basra – Traditional Basrahi Khashaba
• Nargiz Nargiz – Assyrian Folklore
• Sam’ai Lami – Ghanim Haddad
• Hadha Mu Ensaf Minnak – Saleh Al-Kuwaiti (Lyrics by Abdul Kerim Al-‘Allaf)
•Winn Ya Galub – Traditional Baghdadi Peste

Finale:
• Zourouni – By ‘Uthman al-Mawsili & Sayed Darwish

Thank you to Dimitriy Yakubov for shooting this video, and to Gene Nemirovsky for mixing the sound for both the video and the show. Thanks to Mary Hazboun for crafting most of the translations of Arabic lyrics, and to Lucie Van Der Elst for her artwork. This project was partially supported by Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

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