Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Hicham Chami and "Arabesque" at Georgetown University

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Hicham Chami and "Arabesque" at Georgetown University

Article excerpt

Hicham Chami, Kim Sopata and Rich Jankowsky of Chicago presented a concert at Georgetown University in Washington, DC on May 11 entitled. "Arabesque: An Evening of Classical Middle Eastern Music." The performance was a benefit for the Arab Studies Journal, published by students affiliated with Georgetown's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies.

Born in Tetuan, Morocco, Chami, the trio's musical director, has been playing qanun since he was 8, when he enrolled at the National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Rabat. He has been performing and recording with several ensembles throughout the U.S., and is the founder of the Chicago Classical Oriental Ensemble. His last distinction was the "Best Instrumentalist of Chicago," awarded by Chicago Magazine. The founder of Xauen Music, Inc., Chami serves on the board of Genesis at the Crossroads, and recently made a studio recording of the songs of Sayyed Darweesh along with 14 musicians from the U.S. and overseas. The CD, "Sayyed Darweesh: Soul of a People," will be released by Xauen Music this summer.

An accomplished musician in Chicago, Sopata performs as flautist for the Milwaukee, Elgin, and New World Symphonies, as well as with guitarist James Baur as The Avanti Duo. She has also performed as a soloist with the South Carolina Philharmonic and the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony. Sopata currently is pursuing a master's degree in ethnomusicology, with an emphasis on Middle Eastern music, from Bethel College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She writes music reviews for Flute Talk Magazine and recently published The Flute Lesson Handbook, a manual and assignment notebook for flute students.

Rich Jankowsky is a lecturer in ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago, where he has been a Javits Fellow and a Fulbright Fellow. He is an acclaimed percussionist on the darbuka, riqq and frame drum, and is a specialist in Tunisian music. His dissertation, entitled "The Other People": Music, Modernity, and Spirit Possession in the Stambeli of Tunis, explores a trance-and-possession music around which the black community of Tunis continues to define itself as both part of, and distinct from, local Arab identities and Sufi practices.

The concert program included works by Tatyus Effendi, the Rahbani Brothers, Isma'il Hakki Bik, Mohammed 'Abd El-Wahab, Riad Al-Sunbati, Sayyed Darweesh, and Anouar Brahem. …

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