Chicago Arabic Music Ensemble – Isthmus


Concert by the Mead Witter School of Music.

Press release : Chicago Arab Music Ensemble

Amro Helmy, oud / vocals

Majed Abu Ajamia, qanun / song

Kim Fleuchhaus, no / flute

Hannah Vis, cello

Don Skoog, percussion

Arabic music is considered exotic, foreign to the ear, yet it is one of the roots of Western tradition, distinct from but inseparable from European and New World music. CAME explores the songs, instruments, styles, and most importantly, the people who make the beautiful sounds of the Arab world to reveal the shared musical history of East and West.

The talented artists of CAME demonstrate the nay — a hauntingly sounding cane flute, cello, oud — a forerunner of the guitar, kanun — a pinched-finger zither, as well as the riqq (tambourine), tar (frame drum), and tabla (goblet drum) which became the percussion instruments of the European orchestra.

Their audience-friendly presentations explore styles from different Arab regions, then examine the poetry of the lyrics, the scale system and rhythmic modes so essential to music. But above all, they give life to the many peoples of the Arab world, to tell their stories and hear their voices reflected in ours. In this period of mistrust, CAME is building bridges of understanding through music, a language common to all.


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