Master of Traditional Iraqi Music Performs at Cleveland Museum of Art

Wed 1/29 @ 7:30PM

The Cleveland Museum of Art’s performance series gives Clevelanders a chance to sample forms of music emanating from cultures whose traditions, musical and otherwise, might be unfamiliar to them — often performed by the most important figures in those genres.

It’s likely not too many here know much about Iraqi maqam, described as featuring “sophisticated melodies, infectious rhythms, and eloquent poetry.” Hamid Al-Saadi is one of Iraq’s chief purveyor of this ancient art form, who studied with some of his most influential predecessors. Al-Saadi is the only contemporary who has memorized and mastered all 56 of the Baghdad repertoire maqamat and he continues to work to keep alive the traditions they represent.

When he performs at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gartner auditorium, he’ll be joined by U.S.-based Safaafir, the only group in his country who performs maqam in the traditional format. Safaafir features Iraq-American siblings Amir ElSaffar on santur, a form of zither, and Dena ElSaffar on joza, a bowed string instruments, along with Dena’s husband, percussionist Tim Moore.

Tickets are $30-$45.


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