Art/ Dance Academy

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Sawt Al-Wadi

Posted by [email protected] on February 27, 2020 at 5:20 PM


Sawt al-Wadi

Posted on February 27, 2020 by Tales1001 Edit


SAWT AL-WADI = Voice from the Valley


Another momentous occasion at the Rose Center in Morristown, TN. The one spot you can find culture in Eastern TN outside of the little in Knoxville. The Rose Center presented am Arabic musical group. They were from UT. (University of TN). The concert was one of a kind. It just happens to be led by someone we had met before several times at UT functions. This is the incomparable Lillie Gordon a former professor at UT.


I remember her telling me a few years ago that she wanted to start a musical group of Arabic musicians. By this, I mean that all the music performed would be from the Middle Eastern/Arabic countries. Well, she has done exactly that! What a feat! Most of the musicians were Americans. They were trained well. The singers were amazing. Notably, the three women, who had very different voices. All excellent with true Arabic sound and feel. No


We invited some friends to be exposed to the real thing. There were six of us. I was afraid we might be the only ones in the room. The auditorium was filled. Out of curiosity, I believe! Most people in this area have no idea about the people or culture of the Middle East. Let alone the musical history. What is this Arab music? Aren’t they all terrorists? The room was filled and set up with tables. We had a center table reserved for us. We were obviously the only table with inside knowledge of the music and the traits of the people. There were several tables that came in from the Appalachian


Lillie made everyone feel welcome by explaining the instruments, and the type of music being played, the maqams and which country each piece came from. Everyone felt comfortable and understood. Lillie herself, besides singing, also played the violin and the oud. She also did all the announcing and explaining. She introduced each member. It was a spot of Middle Eastern graciousness. It was like being in a Middle Eastern home. Wonderful! The variety of of different areas was amazing.


Walid and I knew most of the music. Made me realize how much I miss the community and hearing the music live. It was like coming home for us. Even I, could sing along and I do not speak Arabic. It brought tears to my eyes. Thought of the days in Boston when we were out every day engulfed in this wonderful life of music and dance. Gone are the days of that Arabic connection that is so rich and tasteful. Even the big names in the ME do not get to come to America these days.


What a wonderful evening. It was exhilarating and amazing. I thank Lillie Gordon for her excellence in training these people. The male singer we enjoyed the most was Lebanese. He is a student getting his MD at UT. His name was Karim. Then there was Sumer a Palestinian girl with an amazing voice. Of course, then there was Lillie who was amazing. She played the oud, violin and sang. What an amazing treat. The music covered the areas of Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Sephardic Jewish, Iranian and Lebanese. A great blend of new and old from the areas.


I certainly hope that they will be back in our area. This corner of the world needs to feel the presence of people from other areas of the world. Or, even other areas of North America. It educates so people understand all people are human. Not to be afraid of people who think or play music a little differently Brings us all together as one family of humanity.


Until the next concert, we will support The Rose Center and the musicians and artists who frequent the center. It is a little piece of heaven for us in this place we call home after traveling the world. We have settled here and but so enjoy the culture of others.


Morwenna & Walid Assaf

[email protected]

760-715-2276 or 760-715-2220

Next concert at The Rose Center will be Fri, February 28th 7pm. Free and open to the public. Help us support the artists.

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The Rose Center "Author"


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Categories: Arabic Music, Author, Dance, Educator, Egyptian Dance, Events, Music & Rhythm, Orientale Dance and Folklore, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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