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Director Selects: Amir ElSaffar

By Thor Steingraber

Amir ElSaffar is a musical magician. He can spin a thread for long stretches, luring listeners to lose themselves in a faraway world. These journeys almost always end in an exaltation, when he releases us back into the real world. His Iraqi-American upbringing can be found not only in the Middle Eastern harmonies and rhythms but more so, in the ways in which intersections abound everywhere.

ElSaffar has made an art of inter-weaving many sounds and cultures. His two previous appearances at The Soraya demonstrated his work in different ways – first, accompanying the dance company Ragamala; and later with his small ensemble in our Jazz Club. Now we welcome his large ensemble, with a bigger and broader collection of artists. Not only does this promise to be an incomparable musical experience, it stands as a symbol for how humanity can converge, both celebrating its differences and elevating something greater, built from what we share in common.


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