Journey to the Heart of the Iraqi Maqam
The Iraqi maqam (melodic mode), one of Iraq’s richest cultural offerings, features sophisticated melodies, infectious rhythms, and eloquent poetry. Hamid Al-Saadi, Iraq’s foremost purveyor of this centuries-old tradition, is renowned for his powerful voice and highly ornamented style, as well as his comprehensive knowledge of the intricate details of the music and poetry of Iraq. He studied with the legendary Yusuf Omar, who named Al-Saadi as his succcessor. Muhammed Al-Gubbenchi, who taught Omar and was probably the most influential maqam reciter in history, said that he considered Al-Saadi to be the “ideal link to pass on the maqam to future generations.” Al-Saadi is the only person from his generation to have memorized and mastered all 56 maqamat from the Baghdad repertoire, and is one of the few vocalists to keep this maqam alive today. He is joined by Safaafir, the only US-based ensemble dedicated to performing the Iraqi maqam in its traditional format. The group is led by Amir ElSaffar (santur—zither) and Dena El Saffar (joza—bowed stringed instrument, violin) of Iraqi descent and features Tim Moore on percussion and George Ziadeh on ‘oud.
$33–45, CMA members $30–40