Aswat Orchestra | McAninch Arts Center, College of DuPage | International | Chicago Reader

Aswat Orchestra Recommended All Ages Soundboard

When: Fri., March 13, 8 p.m. 2009

The last few times oud and violin virtuoso Simon Shaheen visited Chicago, he was leading his group Qantara, which combines centuries-old traditions from Turkey and the Middle East with jazz improvisation, Latin American rhythms, and Western classical music. Tonight Shaheen returns at the helm of the Aswat Orchestra, which plays a repertoire similar to the one that helped him make his stateside breakthrough. On his 1990 album The Music of Mohamed Abdel Wahab he paid homage to the Egyptian composer who, like his mentor Sayyed Darweesh, became one of the key figures in modern Arabic music by incorporating Western classical instrumentation and structures in the 20s and 30s. Wahab did much of his writing for theater and film, and his tunes, many of which were popularized by the legendary Umm Kalthoum, established a template that endures in the output of today’s Cairo pop machine. The Aswat Orchestra, more than a dozen players strong and joined by four vocalists (including brilliant Tunisian singer Sonia M’barek), will play songs by Wahab and fellow golden-age composers Farid al-Atrash and the Rahbani brothers. —Peter Margasak

Price: $50, $48 seniors, $40 children

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