For the first time in Sydney, classical Arabic music pieces are rearranged and performed with a modern touch to suit the Western ear. Highly acclaimed tarab musicians are presenting Middle Eastern music with an exciting and refreshing approach. Incorporating the guitar within the frame of a traditional Arabic music ensemble is a daring move; a famous Western piece will be performed with an Arabic flavour. A virtuoso performance can be expected.
MACAM Group, a not-for-profit association, was founded early last year to help promote local artists of mainly Arabic music and song. It aims to primarily support local talent, and provide a platform where professional tarab musicians can truly shine. MACAM aspires to bridge the gap between Western and Middle Eastern societies via a wonderful communicator, music.
MACAM Group’s projects include Tarab @ Twilight concert last August, Darbuka drumming lessons at Redfern Community Centre, facilitation of darbuka drumming music jams in Wollongong and Bulli, and its upcoming concert, Tarab @ Twilight, 26th of June.
Tarab at Twilight’s intriguing repertoire emphasises highly sophisticated compositions and music arrangements. The concert will feature a music ensemble of some of Sydney’s best masters of tarab, playing traditional Arabic instruments such as oud and qanun. Guest singer Rami El Mir is the winner of Studio El Fan’s silver medal, a renowned Lebanese talent show.
In recent years Sydney has witnessed an influx of highly professional masters of tarab, musicians who are leaders in their fields. All of the extremely talented musicians performing at this concert came to Australia on protection visas. These artists were forced to immigrate away from their countries of origin due to security reasons and unsettled political situations. They managed to land in a safe nation and gain security and peace of mind, however in return they have lost the opportunity to truly share their skills and brilliant capabilities.
Sadly, high quality Arabic musical performances, especially tarab music recitals have become quite rare, almost non-existent in Sydney. The aim of most Arabic concert promoters is solely commercial, and as a result musicians are suffering artistically. MACAM Group is endeavouring to open a window of opportunity where other doors have closed, and hopes that this will enrich the community as a whole.
Tarab @ Twilight was a huge success last year, gathering a very mixed audience with a large number of non-Arabic speakers. The group of musicians have worked diligently to ensure that their upcoming concert is inventive and spectacular. The aim is to captivate their audience with Middle Eastern tunes.
Tarab @ Twilight’s Organiser