The Levantine Cultural Center is pleased to welcome to Los Angeles for its debut concert the New York Andalus Ensemble, a group that performs the illustrious musical traditions of the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa. This diverse group of singers and instrumentalists presents a varied repertoire of songs in Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish, and Ladino, conjuring the cosmopolitanism of the Cordoba of al-Andalus. Performances weave together song with moments about the philosophical, linguistic, and theological intersections between faiths. Tickets are only $20 when reserving in advance ($25 at the door). Space is limited, RSVPs strongly advised. 323.413.2001.
About the Musicians
Samuel R. Thomas, artistic director, nay, oud, vocals, and bendir: Thomas is an ethnomusicologist and performer who has been forging an artist/scholar model for over fifteen years. His work centers on musics of the Middle East and North Africa, Jewish musics, and jazz traditions. Thomas is a lecturer at several campuses of the City University of New York, in music, interdisciplinary studies, and cultural studies, on topics including Muslim-Jewish confluences in music, philosophy, and poetics, American popular music, and diaspora studies. He is the artistic director of the New York Andalus Ensemble and the critically-acclaimed ensemble ASEFA.
Khadidja Guendil, vocals: Guendil, born in Oran, Algeria, was raised listening to the various musical traditions of her homeland. She studied music with her uncle, violinist/composer Djamel Benyelles, who influenced her connection to traditional Andalus music. She moved to New York City in 2007 to finish her bachelor's degree in corporate communications. Guendil sings in Arabic, Hebrew, and Spanish, and works on pronunciation techniques for ensemble choir performance.
Sjimon den Hollander, vocals: den Hollander was born in the Netherlands in 1960. He has a two masters degrees-in Arabic and Islamic Studies-and is currently enrolled in Yeshiva University's rabbinical program. He teaches and lectures on the subject of Jewish-Muslim interaction in theology and philology, on Arabic language, and on Judeo-Arabic philosophy.
Brandon Terzic, oud: Terzic, from Akron, Ohio, has been playing oud for twenty-three years. He has traveled and studied widely, in the Middle East and North Africa, performing in several different musical traditions from the region. He is bandleader of the Xalam Project, and works as an oud instructor in New York City.
Eylem Basaldi, violin: Turkish-born violinist: Basaldi was on the classical track at New England Conservatory when, twelve years ago, she took a class in Turkish folk music and rediscovered the sounds of her youth. She began pursuing her a love and passion for Mediterranean musical cultures, and now performs in a wide array of settings featuring Balkan, Middle Eastern, North African musical traditions. She is an instrumental instructor in New York City and travels widely as a performing artist in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East.
Dror Shahaf, darbukah, frame drums, flamenco guitar: Shahaf, born in southern Israel to a Yemenite family, began performing music at a young age. After living in Amsterdam and operating S House studios, Shahaf relocated to New York City to focus on performing. He is active in several different Middle Eastern music projects and has recently re-established his recording studio.