October 22, 2017
…What thrilling music — a sampler of contemporary Arab music performed by the composers that made me feel like I was awash in a living tradition, continuous, expansive, creative. And I so enjoyed the people around me — newly-met friends. – concert attendee
Of the many presentations we have held at Trinity Center for Urban Life, there was something extraordinary about this (DIS)PLACED concert, Music & Tales of Home, that took place on a Sunday afternoon. Hearty ushers led our guests -both longtime friends and newcomers to Al-Bustan- who gathered at their seats in preparation for a unique experience. The hall filled with reverent attention as storyteller and musicians took their place onstage, ultimately completing the mise-en-scène of performers and audience.
Narrator Denise Valentine recounted stories of migration and seeking home to accompany the melodies that audibly illustrated these journeys. Al-Bustan Ensemble members included Kinan Abou-afach on cello and Hafez Kotain on percussion, with guests Kinan Azmeh on clarinet and Issam Rafea on oud — all Syrian musicians living in the diaspora, three of whom are composers whose works were featured, along with the music of fellow composers Suad Bushnaq and Maias Al Yamani.
Their music resonated beautifully across the hall, eloquently framing the tale of the great human migration and a litany of drawn from the stories featured in (DIS)PLACED, ending with a plea for humanity to find our deeper, common roots.
Major support for (DIS)PLACED project is provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Additional support by Arab Fund for Arts and Culture and William Penn Foundation.