Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Amir ElSaffar: Trumpeter, Santur player, and Vocalist

When your father comes form Iraq, you cannot really escape the great traditional music that comes form that land. That's why Amir ElSaffar embarked on a journey to learn this tradition. In 2002 he began studying the maqam tradition in Baghdad and London where he studied with the best in this traditional singing form.

ElSaffar has created new techniques to play microtones and ornaments that are idiomatic to Arab music but are not typically heard on the trumpet. As a composer, ElSaffar has used the microtones found in maqam music to create a unique approach to harmony and melody. He has been hailed by the NPR for his work on bringing the Iraqi Jazz blues into the States. The blues are the finest in Arabia, as no one tells a tear jerking story as well as Iraqi musicians has.

Among the places whre Amir took his show is the Jazz Institute of Chicago, and Chamber Music America. Amir contuines to develop a singular approach to integrating Middle Eastern tonalities and rhythms into an American jazz context, releasing three albums; Two Rivers (2006), Radif Suite (2010), and Inana (2011) to critical acclaim.

He tours with Alwan for the Arts, New York’s premiere center for Middle Eastern arts and culture. Amir's to appear next in Washington, DC for a concert.

Amir ElSaffar Iraqi Santour Solo: Maqam Rast


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