Performance: Ahel El Nagam @ Sweet Surrender Dessert Cafe (Louisville, KY)

Ahel El Nagam
Ahel El Nagam performing at Shiraz Mediterranean Grill in Louisville 24 July 2009

If you are reading this, it’s because it was written earlier today and set to future post as I will be performing at the Sweet Surrender Dessert Cafe in Louisville  (KY) when this autoposts.  The group I’ll be playing with is Ahel El Nagam, a Kentuckiana based Classical Arabic music group.

Ahel El Nagam’s bio:

Ahel El Nagam means, “people of the tune.” We are a new Middle Eastern music band in Louisville, KY. We were founded in April of 2007 and we are working hard to develop a repertoire full of traditional and classical Middle Eastern songs. We are available for cultural events, private parties, and shows at restaurants and coffee houses around Louisville as well as the greater tri-state (Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio) area.

More info about us and my relationship with the group may be found in a previous post.

Sweet Surrender is having a fundraiser for for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Details for the day long event follow:

On Thursday, March 24, Sweet Surrender Dessert Café will host a fundraiser to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. All day, from 10 AM to 10 PM, a sampling of 10 desserts will be offered for $15 per person. Coffee is included. A portion of the entire day’s proceeds will be given to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team in Training.

A whole 10” cake and other prizes will also be raffled off. Tickets for the raffle can be purchased for $2.00 each throughout the week. All of the proceeds from the raffle will go directly to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

In addition to great desserts and great prizes, live music will begin at 8 PM.

Continue reading “Performance: Ahel El Nagam @ Sweet Surrender Dessert Cafe (Louisville, KY)”

Thursday Rehearsal Reflections: Ahel El Nagam

Ahel El Nagam
Ahel El Nagam performing at Shiraz Mediterranean Grill in Louisville 24 July 2009

Tonight I’ll be rehearsing with one of my other bands, Ahel El Nagam (yes, the website is very much in need of updating–I’ll get to that when I have a chance-hah!).  We bill ourselves as Louisville’s Classical Arabic Band as most of our repertoire consists of, well, Classical Egyptian tunes as well as a number of folk and traditional tunes from Turkey, Armenia, Iraq, Andalusia, Israel and other countries and regions from the Middle East.  Ahel El Nagam means, roughly, “People of the Tune.”

The group formed sometime in the middle of 2007 and I believe my first performance with them was sometime during the Spring of 2008.  At it’s formation the group was four members strong with an instrumentation that ranged from oud, tabla (Egyptian tabla), flute/bellydance, electric sitar/mandolin.  The first couple of shows I played with them (with cello) we had a five member group.

Sadly, we’ve slowly lost “full time” members as folks move on, or move out of the area, or whatever.  The majority of the shows we’ve played the past couple of years have been pretty much what you see in the photo above, me on tabla (or cello) and Denise on oud (or tabla/riqq).  We’d both been far too busy the past few months to rehearse much less play a show, though with some upcoming gigs in the works we’re getting together for the first time since last fall (I believe). Continue reading “Thursday Rehearsal Reflections: Ahel El Nagam”

Ottoman Cello Suites

This is a project I’d been thinking about for some months now but just haven’t had the time to get around to for various reasons.  With the recent publication of Eric Siblin’s The Cello Suites as well as the general lacunae in conservatory Music History education regarding the music in portions of Europe during the Arabic, Byzantine, and especially the Ottoman Empire, I thought the new year might as well be the time to start.

It’s been nearly a year since I starting seriously considering doing solo recitals again.  One of the ideas I had back then was to do a program of just Ottoman compositions.  Over the past few months of reading and research I’m finding good structural parallels between the Bach cello suites and what are ostensibly called “suites” in Ottoman music (fasıl) and I thought that it might be an interesting experiment to take an Ottoman fasıl and give a solo cello performance of it.  There are any number of Ottoman pieces that I just absolutely adore, but working from an outsider’s perspective [of Ottoman music] makes it difficult to decide how to negotiate a number of the issues that come from such a project.

I don’t have the time to sort through (or even list) some of these issues in this post, but I think I will be using my blog as a sounding board for them as well as just a place to document some of my solutions as good or as bad as they may be.

Namaste and Wai

Kind of a cool photo of Carenza and me after our set at the Burlesque Benefit show (Punk Rock Night, the Melody Inn, 10-14-2006).  She is doing, what some belly dancers have adopted from India, the Namaste gesture. And though what I’m doing looks similar, I’m Thai, and in Thailand we do a similar greeting called Wai.

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Carenza bint Asia and Jon Silpayamanant giving each other "high wai's"

the rest of the photos from our set begins on this page (photo 597):
http://www.punkrocknight.com/gallery/album264?page=43

Of course, this came at the end of a set that consisted of one Bulgarian dance (Graovsko horo), one Albanian folk song that I sang (Ani Mori Nuse), two of our (il Troubadore) original pieces that we play for belly dancers: Sands – which is an Arabic/Indian fusion piece; and Sensitive which is an Egyptian styled ballad, one Bhangra Techno tune that we sing in Punjabi (Daler Menhdi’s Tunak Tunak), and on Columbian pop song that we sing in Spanish and Arabic (Shakira’s Ojos Asi). We like to cram in as many cultures into a set as possible, eh? 😛