Words Adorned: Andalusian Poetry and Music

Posted On:
04 January, 2015
Al-Bustan’s project “Words Adorned: Andalusian Poetry and Music” will premiere two new compositions by Arab-American composers Kareem Roustom and Kinan Abou-afach, who will take inspiration from Andalusian poetry (muwashshahat) and explore new avenues of musical language and expression. They will each compose a 20-minute musical suite for takht ensemble, chamber choir, and soloist.


Bryn Mawr College’s Goodhart Hall

The compositions will be presented on December 5, 2015 featuring Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble with The Crossing, a Philadelphia-based award-winning Western choir, and solo vocalist Dalal Abu Amneh. The repertoire will also feature four popular muwashshahat from the Levant and North Africa (by composers Rahbani Brothers from Lebanon and Taher Guizani from Tunisia). The concert will be presented as part of Bryn Mawr College’s  Performing Arts Series in Goodhart Hall at Bryn Mawr CollegeA series of events in Fall 2015 leading up to the concert will include five related scholarly talks, poetry readings, and music demonstrations held at Bryn Mawr, University of Pennsylvania, and Trinity Center for Urban Life.

Al-Bustan has launched an interactive website dedicated to this project to include an analysis of the cultural and historical context of Andalusian poetry, and will highlight the process of composing, rehearsing, and performing through videos, podcasts, photos, and print documentation. A CD with in-studio recording of the commissioned compositions will be produced in December, with printed booklet and accompanying music scores, lyrics, translations, and transliterations available for choir/music directors, educators and students. Visit Words Adorned Website for more information.

Crossing Choir
Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble
Dalal Abu Amneh
Dalal Abu Amneh







Kinan Abou-afach
Kinan Abou-afach
Kareem Roustom
Fragment of Arabic poem by Ibn Zamarak, Alhambra








This project is made possible largely by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture.