The word has no equivalent in the English language. The esteemed ethnomusicologist Ali Jihad Racy wrote an entire book about it. Performers and audiences of Arabic music long for it, dream of it.
The word is tarab, and Racy said of it: “Listeners often describe their own musical sensations through such metaphors as becoming intoxicated and losing the sense of time. Comparably, musicians speak about a haunting sense of inspiration they sometimes experience before and while performing.”
Tarab is the goal of the The New York Arabic Orchestra (NYAO) and its cofounder and artistic director Bassam Saba, as the NYAO makes its first full-ensemble appearance in southeast Michigan on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, in an elegant annual gala fundraiser for the Arab American National Museum. The performance takes place in historic Orchestra Hall, home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and part of the Max M. Fisher Music Center complex in Midtown Detroit.
The NYAO is a culturally diverse group of musicians who come together around a common passion: Arabic music. Guest vocalists for the evening are classically trained lyric soprano Ghada Ghanem from Lebanon and Naji Youssef, a Lebanese jabali tenor in the style of Wadi’ Assafi. The orchestra is in the midst of a tour that has taken them to venues throughout Europe and the United States.
The program for the Detroit concert will be announced next month; it will include many favorite traditional melodies by artists who are beloved in the Arab World.
The gala concert takes place Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, at Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit, Mich., 48126. Concert-only tickets, $50-$150 may be purchased online at www.arabamericanmuseum.org. Patron tickets, $250; and Benefactor tickets, $500, may be purchased online at www.arabamericanmuseum.org or by calling 313.842.4748. A portion of the purchase price is tax deductible; see Museum website for details.
The New York Arabic Orchestra in concert:
The Arab American National Museum
The Arab American National Museum documents, preserves and presents Arab American history, culture and contributions. It is a project of ACCESS, a Dearborn, Michigan-based nonprofit human services and cultural organization. Learn more at www.arabamericanmuseum.org and www.accesscommunity.org.
The Arab American National Museum is a proud Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Read about the Affiliations program at http://affiliations.si.edu.
The Museum is located at 13624 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, MI, 48126. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday, Tuesday; Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission is $6 for adults; $3 for students, seniors and children 6-12; ages 5 and under, free. Call (313) 582-2266 for further information.