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Concert Review: Zikrayat, An Immersion In The Traditions of Arabic Music

Date: January 10, 2016
Venue: Drom (NY)

Review by Dawoud Kringle

Zikrayat, the Arab music and dance ensemble offered their first performance of 2016 at Drom, NYC. Led by violinist / composer / teacher Sami Abu Shumays, Zikrayat (the Arabic word for “memories”) presents the classical music and the dance traditions of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and the greater Arab World. They also perform rare music from the “golden age” of Egyptian musical cinema (1940’s-60’s), traditional and standard pieces, and original compositions in these styles.

The sound at Drom on this night was quiet, by “club” standards. Zikrayat had no need to overwhelm the listener. They knew, not thought but knew, the music was beautiful on its own terms. There was no need or urge to prove anything. The set began with a varied exploration of the traditions to which Zikrayat is devoted.

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