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In this podcast series related to the Living in Harmony project, Dunya Habash considers the role of music in religious practice and interreligious encounter across the Middle East. Join her as she continues her journey across the Middle East through song and sound.
In Programme 5. On the Caravan Orchestra, Dr Katherine O'Lone, a researcher at the Woolf Institute, joins Dunya to discuss their recent journey with the Caravan Orchestra and Choir, a performance ensemble that made its debut three years ago at Yiddish Summer Weimar in Weimar, Germany. We followed the orchestra around Germany while they rehearsed and performed a blend of Yiddish and Arabic music, ending with three full-house concerts in Weimar, Leipzig, and Erfurt. We also interviewed the orchestra's musical directors, whom we will hear from throughout the episode. The goal of the project is to explore new soundscapes, finding new links between the apparently disparate religious and cultural worlds of Europe and the Middle East. Music students from Germany met Israeli Jewish and Palestinian Muslim and Christian musicians from Haifa to perform this eclectic repertoire. Besides exploring the musical connections between these repertoires, we also questioned the effectiveness of the project. Can past shared musical legacies connect modern disparate identities?
Also featuring Ilya Shneyveys, Sarah Myerson, Jiris Ballan, Luna Abu Nassar, Abigail Wood and Andreas Schmitgas.
Ilya Shneyveys is an international performer, accordionist and multi-instrumentalist, teacher, composer, arranger and producer of contemporary Jewish music, from klezmer and Yiddish folk song to fusion and experimental projects.
Sarah Myerson proudly serves the community of Kane Street Synagogue in Brooklyn, New York. She continues to write and perform new compositions, especially in Yiddish and Hebrew, and has developed a profile as a musician, speaker, educator and Yiddish dance teacher and leader.
Jiryis Ballan is a conductor, composer and buzuq player from Nazareth.
Luna Abu Nassar is a talented singer-songwriter comes from Nazareth – though she currently lives in Tel Aviv – and she sings both in Arabic and Hebrew.
Dr Abigail Wood was awarded a PhD in ethnomusicology at Cambridge University and is currently a senior lecturer in the music department at the University of Haifa, Israel.
Andreas Schmitges is a professional klezmer musician on the guitar and mandolin, a band leader, dance leader, author, festival organiser and Yiddish activist.
Programme 4. On Medieval Mystics explores musical and poetic aesthetics across faiths, in particular, their mystical branches. On 30 June 2019, the Woolf Institute partnered with Leo Baeck College London to host an evening of readings and recitation celebrating the beauty of mystical poetry and sacred chant within the Abrahamic faiths in an effort to showcase their common aesthetics and mutual aspirations for spiritual transcendence. In this episode, we will hear recordings from the evening, which were recorded live in the Woolf Institute Library.
Featuring performances by Vanessa Paloma Elbaz, Tali Artman and Cassy Sachar for the Judaic tradition, Wilf Jones and Mother Joanna Burton for the Christian tradition, and Imam Ali Tos and Dunya Habash for the Islamic tradition.
Dr Vanessa Paloma Elbaz is a Research Associate at the Faculty of Music, Cambridge University, working on the ERC-funded project Past and Present Musical Encounters Across the Strait of Gibraltar. Dr Elbaz received her PhD in Jewish Studies, Literature and Civilisation at Sorbonne University in Paris.
Dr Tali Artman was a former Research Fellow at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge. She studies Hebrew literature, folklore and folk literature.
Cassy Sachar is librarian at Leo Baeck College, London. She completed her MA in Library & Information Studies at UCL and has worked in art and academic libraries for the last 10 years.
Wilf Jones is a graduate in Music, Theology and Education, studying at the Albert-Ludwigs University, Freiburg, and teaching in a secondary school in Cambridge.
Mother Joanna Burton is Associate Lecturer at The Open University.
Imam Ali Tos is imam of the new Cambridge Mosque. He holds a BA in Theology from Selcuk University in Konya and an MA in Religious Studies from Howard University (USA).
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