"Like two chemicals that flare upon touching, [Baronian's] music is a remarkable hybrid of two cultures.""From the first rich resonant tones of Naser Musa's oud it is rare to find such an exotic variety of rhythms and songs together...capturing the heart and soul of its cultural source. The [songs] all feature Naser Musa's smooth talent on vocals and each is uniquely different, with many subtleties and changes that make listening a satisfying pleasure." —Mesmera
—Boston Herald American
A beautiful concert for dancers and music lovers...Leave your worldly cares at the door, join us for a magical journey that weaves traditional Middle Eastern melodies and song with contemporary fusion compositions from Souren Baronian. Then travel along the Silk Road to the Gulf and listen to the desert music of the Bedouins known as khaliji, passionate songs of the Gulf Arabs, performed by oud master and vocalist Naser Musa and his ensemble. Naser Musa, Souren Baronian and friends perform to help raise funds for the new arts center for the greater Middle East, The Markaz (the center). One night only! Tickets just $25 General Admission/$35 Preferred, or $75 VIP front row seating plus a gift bag.
This is a benefit concert to support the new Arts Center for the Greater Middle East, The Markaz. Come enjoy the best of the best in Los Angeles and contribute to a worthy cause, The Markaz, fighting bias and intolerance, building a stronger Arab, Iranian, Middle Eastern community center.
NASER MUSA is recognized by critics of Middle Eastern music as a talented singer, a gifted songwriter, an oud virtuoso, an award winning composer, and a versatile studio musician. He has composed, arranged, and recorded numerous projects in the Middle East and in the United States. His recordings include the Arabia sound track; Khaliji, a collection of folk songs from the Arabian Gulf region; and Christmas and Beyond, a collection of Western Christmas carols and Arabic church hymns. Naser Musa appears on dozens of albums, including contributions on projects for Hollywood with John Debney and John Cameron among others. He has recorded with pop stars Shakira, Beyonce and Michael Sembello, and has shared the stage with Lebanese vocalists, Sabah and Ragheb Alame, and Egyptian vocalists, Hani Shaker and Hakim. Naser's oud was heard on the soundtrack of the film The Passion of the Christ by director Mel Gibson.
SOUREN BARONIAN grew up in Spanish Harlem riding two powerful currents of his creativity: his ethnic Armenian heritage, and jazz. His own music is an authentic organic hybrid of those two idioms. The sound of his band is truly unique, applying a jazz vocabulary and the bebop sensibility of Charlie Parker and Lester Young to Middle Eastern rhythms on traditional instruments such as the oud, qanun, G-clarinet and percussions.
Nathan Deuel is the author of Friday Was the Bomb, Five Years in the Middle East—a memoir about an American family that struggles to find stability in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey amidst political upheaval and personal dilemmas. Deuel will present Friday Was the Bomb at the Levantine Cultural Center on Thursday, Oct. 9, 7 pm. Listen to an NPR interview with Nathan Deuel.
In 2008, Deuel, a former editor at Rolling Stone and The Village Voice, and his wife, a National Public Radio foreign correspondent, moved to the deeply Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to see for themselves what was happening in the Middle East. There they had a daughter, and later, while his wife filed reports from Baghdad and Syria, car bombs erupted and one night a firefight raged outside the family's apartment in Beirut. Their marriage strained, and they struggled with the decision to stay or go home.
At once a meditation on fatherhood, an unusual memoir of a war correspondent's spouse, and a first-hand account from the front lines of the most historic events of recent days—the Arab Spring, the end of the Iraq war, and the unrest in Syria—Friday Was The Bomb is a searing collection of timely and absorbing essays.
In line with the Levantine Cultural Center's exploration of American foreign policy, this forum asks, How does the C.I.A. play a role in the Middle East and North Africa? Was Robert Ames, the subject of Kai Bird's bestselling biography, The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames, actually an ambassador for peace, particularly with respect to the Israelis and Palestinians? The book offers a "compelling portrait of the remarkable life and death of one of the most important operatives in CIA history— a man who, had he lived, might have helped heal the rift between Arabs and the West." The forum includes a book signing with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Kai Bird and public Q & A. This forum picks up where our previous forum in March 2014, America's Great Game: The C.I.A. and U.S. Middle East Foreign Policy, left off.
Read a Washington Post review of The Good Spy.
On Saturday, December 13th, 2014, the Levantine Cultural Center will hold its year-end comedy benefit show with the New Sultans of Satire at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, in Long Beach. With a special tribute to Robin Williams, this evening brings together the top young Middle Eastern comedians at work together, including Aron Kader (Comedy Central's "Axis of Evil"), Tehran, Sammy Obeid, Marie-Thérèse Abou-Daoud, Sherwin Arae and Melissa Shoshahi. The Levantine Cultural will donate a portion of the proceeds to Kinder USA (Kids in Need of Development, Education, and Relief) to help deserving children in Gaza with medical needs following the summer war. The Levantine Cultural Center works to bridge political and religious divides that may exist between Americans and the Middle East/North Africa, by presenting arts and education programs in the spirit of exploration, discovery and unity.
Proceeds benefit the Levantine Cultural Center, a 501(c)3 founded 13 years ago as a grassroots nonprofit organization that champions a greater understanding of the Middle East/North Africa and our communities in diaspora.
[LOS ANGELES-May 29, 2014] From a design perspective, what do we really know about the Arab world, or Iraq's neighbor, Iran? A window into these cultures, which use the Arabic script for writing and design, will open here in Los Angeles on June 26, 2014, when LOCAL NOT LOCAL, a modern collection of contemporary expression, brings Arabic and Iranian typography and calligraphy to the Inside/Outside Gallery at the Levantine Cultural Center. These days it seems like everyone's got a favorite font and a philosophy of typography. But it's not just our Roman alphabet that gets translated into different shapes - all over the world, designers pick and choose scripts to suit the occasion. In LOCAL NOT LOCAL, co-curators Maece Seirafi and Pouya Jahanshahi present a collection of award-winning Arab and Iranian designers who demonstrate the creative possibilities and expressions that lurk in their native alphabets.
What shaped the C.I.A., and how does the agency play a role in our foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa? On Thursday, March 6, the Levantine Cultural Center presents a public forum and book signing with intelligence historian Hugh Wilford and former C.I.A. case officer Robert Baer, in conversation about the history of the agency's Arabists and the direction of U.S. Middle East foreign policy, particularly with respect to Israel, Iran and Syria. The discussion will be moderated by journalist and political commentator Robert Scheer. The program is made possible in part by Truthdig and LA Jews for Peace. KPFK 90.7 FM Pacifica Radio is a media sponsor.
What shaped the C.I.A., and how does the agency play a role in our foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa? The Levantine Cultural Center presents a public forum and book signing with intelligence historian Hugh Wilford and former C.I.A. case officer Robert Baer, in conversation about the history of the agency's Arabists and the direction of U.S. Middle East foreign policy, particularly with respect to Israel, Iran and Syria. The discussion will be moderated by journalist and political commentator Robert Scheer. The program is made possible in part by Truthdig and LA Jews for Peace. KPFK Pacifica Radio 90.7 FM is a media sponsor.
Hugh Wilford's new book is America's Great Game, The CIA's Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East. Robert Baer is a former CIA case officer who served everywhere from Iraq to the former Soviet Union. (The 2005 film Syriana, starring George Clooney, was an adaptation of several of his books about the intelligence world.) Baer is the author of See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism; Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude; and The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower. Robert Scheer is the editor-in-chief of the online news magazine Truthdig and a regular commentator on KCRW's Left, Right and Center.
On Thurs., Jan. 16, Bernard Radfar, author of the satirical epistolary collection Insincerely Yours, Letters From a Prankster, and now the novel, Mecca Pimp, a Novel of Love and Human Trafficking, will be in conversation live at the Levantine Cultural Center with serial interviewer Jordan Elgrably (James Baldwin, Milan Kundera, Nadine Gordimer, Harold Brodkey, Gilbert Sorrentino, Amy Tan, Edward Said et al), discussing the characters and situations in Mecca Pimp, in which the fictional Mary and Mark Black run a human trafficking empire in Saudi Arabia until Mary jets off to New York City. Whether their love endures is the subject of the novel.