A Letter From Syria will be an evening of music saturated with unique scales, improvisation, and rhythmic grooves, all intermingled with freely constructed jazz. The original pieces within the show are rooted in Abou-afach’s recollections of his homeland Syria before the conflict, expressed through the Middle-Eastern-influenced modes and the rich harmonies of Jazz. In this blending of temporal and aesthetics styles, this music performance looks to the future while paying homage to the past.
Afach plays the cello and the oud, a lute-like instrument that often has no frets on the fingerboard, allowing an endless variety of pitch.
His cello solos — which often explore the wailing upper range of his instrument — also embrace the microtonal quality in Arabic music, giving the melodies a serpentine quality. Abou-afach has played with Yo-Yo Ma’s cross-cultural Silk Road Ensemble, and, locally, with the Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble, which drew him to Philadelphia in 2011.
Abou-afach will speak briefly after each piece and the event will be followed by a Q & A.