Saturday, October 10, 2020 –– Featuring LAMusArt’s own Timothy Maloof, Saffron Ensemble traveled with the audience through unique tones and original songs as the opening performance of LAMusArt Live!, a series of free virtual concerts premiering monthly. Maloof, alongside Daniel Corral, Lina Kaisey, and David Martinelli, illustrated the beauty and drama of the nuanced movements in traditional Southwest Asian and North Afrikan (SWANA) rhythm and sound in their 45-minute set.
Opening with “Basimun ‘an La’al” composed by Saleh Al-Mahdi, the four spectacular musicians presented an irreplaceable auditory magic led by the vocal melodies of Lina Kaisey. In the following piece, “Sama’i Shad Araban” by Tanburi Cemil Bey, Kaisey would later perform on the cello, accompanied by Timothy Maloof’s violin. Alternating from the tambourine to an African drum, David Martinelli painted the rhythm for the ever-rhythmic “Longa Shahnaz” by Adham Afandi, which carried the dance-like rhythm to this longa (a Turkish dance later introduced into Arabic music). Following the Afandi piece, the ensemble gave way for two songs from Sayed Darwish, “El Helwa” and “Zourouni Kouli” featuring several instrumentations that help depict Darwish’s intentions of combining Western music with Arabic to present a liberated Arab tone from its traditionally classical sound.
From the wonders of composer Riyad Al Sinbaati, Saffron Ensemble takes on Sinbaati piece “Longa Farah Faza,” an upbeat and heavily rhythmic song. This piece also displays what is considered one of the most authentic arabic taqisms (improvisations), which were often used as models to maqam music in middle eastern schools. Before the closing number, Young Professionals Advisory Board Chair Jumi Aluko introduced opportunities to participate in LAMusArt's programs and keep on the creative path as she introduced the Ensemble's closing number. Ending the set with great energy, Saffron Ensemble gifted us with a piece written by Timothy Maloof, entitled “Tfaadpo.” In this original piece, he blends sounds and highlights a sound unlike any other with his use of a yuccatarra, an instrument made by Maloof himself.
This virtual experience marks the beginning of a series of artists’ performances to come with LAMusArt Live!. RSVP for your favorite concerts at www.LAMusArt.org/season and join us each second Saturday of the month for more traditional and “not so traditional” artistic displays. November features Tablao: Noche de Flamenco followed by a special holiday performance featuring Maira Solis and Mariachi Tierra Mia.
Along with several other past and future performances, this event presents new sounds to students and highlights our faculty to pave the way for the appreciation of cultural music outside the boundaries of Western music. LAMusArt's mission is to provide the community of East Los Angeles with equitable and affordable access to multidisciplinary arts education programs and offer opportunities for underserved youth to partake in quality instruction regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status so they are afforded creative tools for success and social change. Join us on the creative path and watch LAMusArt Live! or learn from our celebrated teaching artists by enrolling in a class.
To register for classes and begin your journey through the arts, visit lamusart.org/programs for individual group classes in music, art, dance, and drama for students of all skill levels.