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Visiting Presenter / Music

Faraj Abyad- Kisses of Poetry


*Doors open 8:00PM. Concert Begins at 8:30PM promptly.*

In this concert Faraj Abyad and his 7-piece ensemble will showcase compositions from his new album, Kisses of Poetry. This album is a compilation of music set to poetry from the great modern poets of the Arab world such as Nizar Qabbani and Ahmad Shouqi. In addition, to performing his new compositions, Faraj will perform known repertoire set to classical Arabic poetry by Oum Kalthoum and Abdel Halim Hafez keeping to the album’s theme to promote the beauty ofالعربية الفصحى (classical literary Arabic). The performance will be paired with a visual component projecting a work of great Iraqi artist Jewad Salim on a backdrop along with projections of poetry texts and translations. The poems sung throughout the evening highlight themes of co-existence and love.

During the evening, guest performer/guitarist John McCormick will premiere his composition "Dewman" in a duet format with Faraj Abyad.
This concert is in memory of Dewey Dellay (1954 - 2023)

Listen to Faraj Abyad- Kisses of Poetry on all platforms here:

About the band:
This unique group of award-winning musicians from Macedonia, Syria, Palestine, Turkey, Paris and Cuba come together to bring you a new sound. This fusion has elements of Classical-Arabic, Jazz, Afro-Cuban and Turkish sounds. This musical project experiments with the “Tarab” genre, bringing it to new cultures and perspectives.

Faraj Abyad: Vocals & Oud
Faraj Abyad is a Syrian-American composer and a multi-instrumentalist based in New York City, who specializes in performing traditional Arabic music. His goal as a musician and singer is to preserve and uphold the timeless beauty of ancestral Arabic music while advancing and progressing their historic melodies to appeal to the modern era. Although his primary role in his orchestra is singing and composing, he is also particularly skilled on oud, violin, and percussion. Faraj was one of the first Arabic composers to have an exclusive video filmed in the Islamic wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Additionally, Faraj was recently featured at Carnegie Hall on Arabic Language Day in 2021. In 2022, he was commissioned by Abu Dhabi Music Festival to produce an album of modern Tarab to the greats of classical Arabic poetry. This album was recorded in the legendary Power Station Studios in New York City where some of the greatest American musical icons have recorded their albums.

Ismail Luminovski: Clarinet and Director
The extraordinary clarinetist Ismail Lumanovski is a musical force of passion and dynamic virtuosity. Already of international distinction, Lumanovki has launched a major career as a soloist, chamber musician in both classical and crossover repertoire. His synergistic blend of natural talent and training combines the spirit of folk music with the discipline of classical music. His performances have been widely reviewed. The New York Times wrote of his work under Pierre Boulez, “the soloist — the brilliant, fearless young clarinetist Ismail Lumanovski — aligned himself with various instrumental contingents of the large

Tamer Pinarbasi: Qanun
Born in Turkey, Tamer Pinarbasi started his kanun lessons at the age of 10, made his first of hundreds of recordings at 13, with top Turkish artists. Starting age 17, he began concertizing throughout Europe, and he has shared his music with diverse audiences over the years. After years of musical training and thousands of performances throughout the world, Tamer moved to Unites States and branched out to explore Jazz, funk, flamenco, classical and contemporary music that has continued to this day. His diverse recordings reveal the range of his artistry from jazz standards to micro-tonal eastern music with string orchestrations as well as his unique compositions.

Dayramir Ganzalez: Piano
Dayramir began his professional career as a pianist and composer with former Irakere member, Oscar Valdes’ Afro-Cuban jazz ensemble Diákara at the age of 16. Since winning Havana’s JoJazz festival in 2004 and 2005, Dayramir has gone from winning three Cubadisco awards for his 2007 debut album “Dayramir & Habana enTRANCé” to becoming Berklee College of Music’s first Cuban national “Presidential Scholarship” recipient to performing in 15,000-seat stadiums with legends like Chucho and Bebo Valdes and headlining Carnegie Hall, representing the young generation of Afro-Cuban jazz.

Zafer Tawil: Percussion
Zafer Tawil is a virtuoso on ‘oud, violin, and qanun, and a master of Arab percussion. Zafer has performed in concerts across the country, including performances with numerous musicians ranging from Sting to Arab music virtuosos Chab Mami, Simon Shaheen, Bassam Saba and George Ziadeh, to avant- garde composer/ performer Elliot Sharpe. He was a featured composer and performer in acclaimed director Jonathan Demme's Oscar-nominated film Rachel Getting Married and is composing and performing for Demme’s next film project, Zeitoun, based on Dave Eggers’ book about Abdulrahman Zeitoun’s post-Hurricane Katrina odyssey. Zafer has worked on many collaboration concerts involving classical Indian and Persian music as well as Arab/jazz fusion. He has held workshops on Arab music at many institutions and universities across the United States. A native of Jerusalem, Palestine, he resides in New York City.

François Moutin: Bass
A virtuoso bassist, François was born in Paris and received a doctorate in physics at the age of 24 before choosing to become a professional musician. He was a member of the legendary Martial Solal Trio, and at 29 began co-leading the Quintet Moutin with his twin brother Louis, a project which later evolved into the Moutin Reunion Quartet. He regularly composes and tours extensively with this group around Europe & the United States; he has performed in every important European Jazz Festival, and toured in over 30 countries around the world. In addition, François has worked with such musicians as: Antoine Hervé, André Ceccarelli, Jean-Michel Pilc, Randy Brecker, Dave Liebman, Toots Thielemans, James Moody, Terry Lyne Carrington, Michel Legrand, Birele Lagrene, Jimmy Heath, Monty Alexander, Lew Soloff, Billy Hart, Jeff Tain Watts, Ari Hoenig, Dave Binney, Adam Rogers, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Vijay Iyer, and Amir El Saffar. He was awarded the “Django Reinhardt Prize” by the French Jazz Academy (it’s their top award) in 2005, was nominated in the category Best Album of the Year at the “Victoires du Jazz” (French Grammy equivalent) in 2007; and was ranked in the category “Best Acoustic Bass Players” of the Downbeat poll in 2010.

Guillermo Guillén: Guitar
Guillermo Guillén began his career as a flamenco guitarist in France, in 1999, before moving to Seville, Spain, the heart of flamenco, in 2006. From 2007 to 2011, Guillén teamed up with the renowned flamenco singer Rocío Márquez and developed a great mastery of accompanying flamenco cante (singing) and baile (dance). The pair were awarded the prestigious “Lámpara Minera” prize at the International Festival del Cante de Las Minas de La Union (2008). Guillén and Márquez subsequently toured internationally and recorded several albums together. Guillén has worked as composer and arranger for international flamenco companies: “Cía Adriana Bilbao” (Spain), “Cía Helena Cueto” (France/Spain), “Cía Samantha Alcón” (France/Spain), and “Cía Flamenca La Caramelita” (Canada/France/Spain). Guillen has taught students at workshops worldwide, and worked as a teacher and accompanist with Esperanza Fernández and Miguel Vargas at the Flamenco Arts Center of Seville, Spain (2010-2012).

John McCormick: Twelve String Guitar
John McCormick is a multi-instrumentalist and composer who resides in New York City. His principal role in music is his long-standing engagement as a member of the Jazz Gallery Board of Directors. His principal instrument is guitar which he performs regularly at salons and small venues across the city and globally. He will be releasing his first album "Shadow Work" in the spring of 2024.

This event is brought to you by Abyad Productions in support of Education For Employment.

EFE is the leading nonprofit focused on youth employment across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), with a network of locally-run nonprofits across the region. With the largest youth population in the world (65% under age 30), this region is one of the hardest places in the world for young people to find a job with youth unemployment at 30%. EFE trains youth and connects them with their first job or business startup support. EFE has supported over 180,000 youth to enter the world of work (59% women). A brief overview film is here and their website is


Leonard Nimoy Thalia

Expected Run Time is 60 minutes

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