Notes | Photos
Multi-Ethnic Star Orchestra Presents
Its Fall Concert
Saturday, 05 October 2002 at West Los Angeles College
r o g r a m
Sultani Yegah: by Tamburi Cemil Bey--Arr.
This very well known piece is usually performed by 'ud and qanun players
as a showcase composition. There is little evidence that the opening
section of this piece was composed by Cemil Bey. Thematically the first
section fits the general style of an introduction, usually in slow tempo.
One can notice the change in meter in the slow introduction; it alternates
between 6/4 and 5/4. The longa is easily recognized by its lively duple
Shadd 'Araban: by Tamburi Cemil Bey--Arr. Nabil Azzam
Sama'i is a traditional instrumental genre in Arabic and Turkish music.
MESTO is presenting "Sama'I Shadd Araban" with a new arrangement
that includes, among other elements, solos for non-Middle Eastern instruments.
The fourth section (khana) features a new melodic line in the style
of a chorale with woodwinds and celli simultaneously playing with the
fast melody. Due to the long-established nature of this form, the arranger
was careful to take stylistic characterization into consideration and
maintain taste and craftsmanship while suiting ethnic music to a large
On Sunday: by Manos Hadjidakis--Arr. Shelly Cohen
The Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis began his musical career in Athens
as a writer of piano music. In 1946, he really found his true vocation
writing for films, an indeed was rewarded for his efforts by receiving
an Academy Award in 1960 for his song "Never On Sunday." Many
recordings have been made of this haunting tune which tells of a prostitute
in Greece who refused to work on Sunday, her day of rest. Listen to
traditional Greek rhythms and a simple but very attractive melody as
they carry you to the streets of Athens.
Many lyrics in different languages have been written to this melody.
Originally, it is a Turkish fold song from Istanbul--the Anatolian side.
The first line of the song reads, "while I was going to Uskudar"
(the name of the neighborhood). There is more than one rendition in
Arabic. Egyptians sing the tune with the lyrics, "Ya Banat Iskindiriyya"
(The Girls of Alexandria) and a Syrian version of the song is "Ghazali"
(My Beautiful Deer). Greek and Persian songs exist that use this same
When the popular song "Miserlou" was first introduced to the
Western audience, it was thought to be of Greek origin. That presumption
was recently contested in strange, contradictory ways. New studies by
musicologists have argued that the origins of this haunting melody may
lie not with the Greeks but possibly with age-old Hasidic music. Others
go farther to attribute "Miserlou" to Druze origins of Southern
Lebanon! But the tune "Miserlou" was composed by an unknown
composer in Hollywood. The name "Miserlou" in Turkish means
"The Egyptian" (in Arabic, Misr is the name of Egypt). In
any form though, this tune still rings pleasantly in our ears.
Carnival of Venice: by Antonio Paganini--Arr.
Khojayan, Solo Qanun
Originally, this was an Italian melody for which Antonio Paganini composed
his variations for violin. It has fast and complicated passages that
require a high degree of technique to perform on the violin. Performing
this composition on a folk instrument such as the qanun is truly unique.
The ability of Lilit Khojayan to perform these variations as well as
other complicated works places her among the top qanun performers in
Ya Libnan: by the Rahbani Brothers
Nabil Azzam, Solo Violin
"Bhibbak Ya Libnan" was sung by the celebrated singer Fairuz
at the height of Lebanon's civil war and rallied people from all factions
under one patriotic theme. The violin "sings" the vocal part
while the orchestra maintains the original accompaniment. The virtuosity
of the violinist highlights the mellow yet vibrant tone of this beautiful
composition by the Rahbanis.
Umri (You Are My Life), Song of Umm Kulthum: by M. 'Abd al-Wahhab
Laurette Ghoulam, Star Guest Singer
Thursday, February 5, 1964 was a landmark in the history of Arab music.
One didn't have to be a music lover to feel the event's significance
as the prime singer of the Arab World, Umm Kulthum, performed her first
song written by foremost Egyptian composer, M. 'Abd al-Wahhab. That
concert was aired live on nearly all Egypt's radio stations and electrified
the atmosphere. In Egypt, even news broadcasts on the radio were canceled
and streets experienced light traffic. Tonight is Laurette Ghoulam's
first performance with MESTO. Her professional interpretation of the
style of "Grand Songs" of Umm Kulthum and other singers has
won her a great deal of notoriety with her audiences. Her well-known
mastery of singing this genre of songs from Lebanon, Syria and Egypt
shows that Laurette Ghoulam's voice is pure, strong and has a good range.