On April 27, Philly’s world music lovers will have a special chance to hear Fathy Salama, one of Egypt’s top jazz pianists, in concert with the international ensemble of Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture.
Al-Bustan, through a variety of concert series and youth programs, promotes the appreciation and preservation of Arab culture and an Arab-American cultural identity through the arts and language, with the ultimate goal of better cross-cultural understanding between kids and adults of all backgrounds.
Salama, a student of jazz greats like Barry Harris, Hal Galper, Malik Osman, Pat Patrick, and Sun Ra, is the second guest artist for Al-Bustan’s 2014 spring season, and he’s visiting for a five-day residency of rehearsals, workshops, and concerts.
Salama is the only Arab composer ever to have won a Grammy award, for his 2004 album, Egypt, recorded with Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour. He has also won prestigious recognitions around the world for his performances and movie soundtracks. For the Al-Bustan concert, he’ll be playing with Al-Bustan music director and virtuoso violinist Hanna Khoury and the rest of the Takht Ensemble: Kinan Idnawi on the oud, Hicham Chami on the qanun, and Kinan Abou-afach on the cello, with Hafez El Ali Kotain on percussion.
And those who want a solo preview from the artist can attend “Making Music in Egypt: a Conversation with Fathy Salama” at the Penn Museum’s Sphinx Gallery on April 23 at 6pm. The evening will be a mix of live music and words from the artist about his career, incorporating “rhythmic traditions from the Far East, North Africa, and American Jazz.” The event is free and open to the public, though reservations are recommended.
“Egyptian Jazz and Contemporary Arab Music” is coming up on Sunday, April 27 at 4pm (tickets $30; $15 for students) at the Trinity Center for Urban Life, 22nd and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia. For tickets, more information, and a full list of Fathy Salama’s Philadelphia events, visit the Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture website.