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Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble to Perform with Guest Artists March 18

The Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble and guest artists will perform a program of music and dance from North Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and the larger region at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 18, in Harman Hall in the Performing Arts Center’s Christopher Cohan Center.

The ensemble will perform works by some of the most celebrated composers, performers and poets of the region, including Khaled, Rachid Taha, and Faudel from Algeria; Saber Rebai from Tunisia; Fairuz from Lebanon; Basma Jabr from Syria; Tanburi Cemil Bey from Turkey; and Nadhim al-Ghazali from Iraq.

The show will also include traditional and contemporary genres such as the muwashshah, one of the oldest continuously performed art-music genres in the world. Additional genres to be performed come from the shared music traditions of the Ottoman era, including the short introductory dulab and the more elaborate samai with its 10-beat metric mode.

The Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble is a multi-instrumental orchestra and choir with vocal and instrumental soloists.

Critically acclaimed guest artists joining the ensemble from the San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento areas will include Amel Tafsout on dance choreography, Ishmael on qanun (trapezoidal zither), Fathi Aljarrah on kamanja (Arabic violin), Hector Bezanis on nay (reed flute), and Fella Oudane on Arabic percussion.

San Luis Obispo dance directors Jenna Mitchell and Sandra Sarrouf will lead the dance troupe. Cal Poly Music Professor Ken Habib, a composer, performer and scholar in the field of ethnomusicology, will direct the show.

Tickets are $12 and $14 for the public and $9 and $12 for students. Event parking is sponsored by the PAC. Tickets are sold at the Cal Poly Ticket Office between noon and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. To order by phone, call 805-SLO-4TIX (805-756-4849). 

The Music Department offers a 10 percent discount to patrons who buy season tickets to four of its events through the Cal Poly Ticket Office; a 15 percent discount is given on tickets to five or more events.

The concert is sponsored by Cal Poly’s Music Department, College of Liberal Arts, and Instructionally Related Activities program. For more information, call the Music Department at 805-756-2406 or visit its calendar website.