Takht al-Nagham with Lubana al-Quntar

Roulette Intermedium , 509 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

Takht al-Nagham, the performing ensemble of the Syrian Music Preservation Initiative, is committed to playing the classical and folk Syrian repertoire that is rarely heard in the US. This acclaimed New York-based ensemble features the sound of a traditional takht (Arab chamber music group). Directed by violinist and founder Samer Ali, who grew up and studied violin in Syria, Takht al-Nagham includes musicians on qanun (zither), oud (lute), nay (flute), bass, percussion (tabla, daff, riqq), and vocals. Their program features Iski al-‘Itash (Quench the Thirsty), a masterpiece of classical Arab music that is the oldest work in the Syrian repertoire. The piece, an eloquent appeal to the Almighty during the 1776 Aleppo drought, had nearly disappeared from the annals of music until the efforts of Syrian violinist Tawfiq Al-Sabbagh brought it back into recognition by recording it at Aleppo Radio. In the 1960s, vocalist Sabah Fakhri’s legendary recording secured its position as one of the Arab world’s most beloved works.