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Program Notes | Photos

Multi-Ethnic Star Orchestra Presents

The Dearborn, MI Concert

Saturday, 23 April 2005

at the Gala celebration and inauguration
of the Arab-American National Museum

P r o g r a m

Longa Kurdelli Hicazkar: by Kemani-Sebuh-Azzam
The longa form originated in Turkey and has spread throughout the Middle East. Written by the Turkish composer Sebuh, this longa is often performed by `ud and qanun virtuosi in Turkey and the Arab World. Nabil Azzam has added melodic and rhythmic themes throughout the composition, thus becoming entitled to add his name to the composer's.

Sama'i Kurd: by Yaqub Tatyus--arr. Nabil Azzam
This Sama'i was the first piece to be arranged for MESTO when the orchestra emerged in 2000. It is composed in maqam (music mode) kurd that shares the same steps as the Western phregean mode; Spanish Flamenco music uses the same scale. So far, in every concert MESTO performs a new Sama'i. Nabil Azzam's daring arrangement of this genre has created an encouraging reaction by his colleagues; thus, creating a dialogue on how to approach traditional music when one attempts to recreate what has become "traditions" or norms in a given music culture. MESTO has scored highly in that realm and it is so proud of this achievement.

Al-Nahr Al-Khalid:
by Muhammad `Abd al-Wahhab.

Arranged by Joseph Chamaa and Nabil Azzam

Alf Layla (One Thousand One Nights). By Baligh Hamdi. Arranged by Joseph Chamaa and Nabil Azzam
This is the instrumental introduction to a song of Umm Kulthum. Many composers have written long introductions for their songs as a marketing tool for their instrumental music. These pieces are often performed as independent instrumental compositions without the song itself. Joseph Chamaa successfully chose this composition to be arranged for Mesto.

A'tini al-Nay: by Najieb Hankash
Nabil Azzam, Solo Violin

This melody is originally a song by the celebrated Lebanese-American poet Khalil Gibran. It was recorded by star Lebanese singer Fairuz in the 1970s and scored immediate success. The title could be translated as "The Eternal Nay" (flute). In this performance Nabil Azzam plays the vocal part on his violin while leading the orchestra.

Three Songs Featuring Star Singer Woroud:


Sanarji'u Yawman (Nostalgia): Music and Lyrics by Rahabani Brothers.
Originally, this is one of hundreds of songs by the celebrated Lebanese singer Fairuz who, together with her husband Assi Rahabani and brother Mansour, established a new style and a new musical culture in Lebanon. The Rahabani fame was based on creating a wide variety of repertoire culminated by numerous musicals that they produced for Fairuz.

El Hilwa Di (This Pretty Girl): Sayyid Darwish
Egyptian composer Sayyid Darwish (d. 1923) is considered the pioneer of the new style. Among his contributions are the numerous musical plays in which he also participated as a singer and actor. Darwish left a number of short songs that were common among wide sectors of society. He is known as the "peoples' composer".

Yalla Ta'ala (Come Back Soon). Song of Leila Murad
Egyptian singer and movie satar Layla Murad had an interesting career spanning from singing to movie acting. Being the daughter and sister of famous composers, Zaki Murad and Munir Murad shaped her style. She was known for her sweet and expressive voice. Though performing in a popular style, she maintained the purity of musical traditions. Layla Murad was both admired by a wide audience as well as by top composers of Egypt.

Inta Umri (You Are My Life), Song of Umm Kulthum: by M. 'Abd al-Wahhab
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.

Tutah: By Farid el-Atrache (Syria, 1921-Egypt 1975)
Not too many composers in Egypt pay attention to "pure" instrumental compositions. El-Atrache (who was himself and incredible singer and `ud virtuoso) composed about sixty of these--relatively short--instrumental compositions. Farid el-Atrache presents different rhythms and melodic themes depicting happy moods suitable for dance. Tutah is a good example of these instrumental works.

Medley: Ashiq Al-Ruh, Watani Habibi and El-Amh:
by Muhammad `Abd al-Wahhab.

Arranged by Joseph Chamaa and Nabil Azzam

Ya Zahratan:
by Farid El-Atrache.

Arranged by Nabil Azzam

The Crescent: By Nabil Azzam
In 1998, Nabil Azzam composed The Crescent as a wedding march with an Indian theme. Characterized by a lyrical and romantic melody with four distinctive themes, the piece is performed by the composer on violin, accompanied by a drone on the Indian tamboura , in addition to a variety of percussion instruments including tablah, udu, riqq and cymbals.
The introduction is played on the buzuq (long neck lute).

Four More Songs Featuring Star Singer Woroud:


Til'it Ya Mahla: by Sayyid Darwish

Nassam 'Alayna: Fayrouz, by Rahbani Brothers

Kan Ez-Zaman: Fayrouz, by Elias Rahbani

Akhasmak Ah: Nancy 'Ajram, by Muhammad Sa'ad


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