Music From Syria and Beyond

One of the international events I attended this semester was a concert by Kenan Adnawi and Tareq Rantisi called “Music from Syria and Beyond.” Adnawi played the Oud and Rantisi played percussion. The extent of my exposure to Middle-Eastern music prior to this performance was pretty much limited to a few Lebanese pop songs, so listening to traditional Syrian music was definitely a new experience for me. I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the music that I heard in that performance. As a dancer, it can be hard for me to sit still when I hear music that I love, and my legs were shaking from excitement by the end of the show. My friends and I gushed about the concert the entire walk back to our dorms, and I could continue to gush here but I will limit myself to one moment in particular that I would like mention. Near the end of the performance, the musicians announced that they would be playing a medley of traditional songs and anyone who knew the words could sing along. As they started playing, many members of the audience jumped up, clapping in rhythm with the song and singing along. For me, the songs and the entire musical style were new and unfamiliar, but for others, these were songs they’d heard many times before and knew by heart. I really want to listen to more Middle-Eastern music now, and learn more about the history and art in those countries.


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