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The Embassy Series Presents Jazz Program | Events

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The Embassy Series Presents Jazz Program
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WASHINGTON, DC – The Embassy Series will present a unique program of jazz and Iraqi maqam (traditional Iraqi folk music) in performances at the Iraqi Cultural Center (1630 Conn. Avenue NW) on May 11-12 at 7:30 p.m.. The program performance features Two Rivers Middle Eastern Ensemble, a six-piece group of Middle Eastern and Western creative artists who employ instruments that combine jazz with maqam. The two performances are supported by the Iraqi Embassy in Washington, DC.  “Many music instruments such as Al-Oud, Al-Santur and Tambourine were invented in Mesopotamia and the Sumerians were the first to compose the musical system,” said Jabir Habeb, Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to the United States of America. “This ancient music was shared by many ethnic groups who lived in this region including Arabs, Assyrians, Kurds, Armenians and Turks. Al-Maqams are a 400 year-old genre of Arab music were found in Iraq and considered by many as the foundation of Eastern Music."  Two Rivers’ performs, using folkloric and modern instruments such as thesantour and trumpet and will be sung in Arabic while dressed in ethnic outfits. “These unique performances are meant to emphasize Iraq’s music, history and cultural influence,” said Jerome Barry, founder and artistic director of The Embassy Series. “These artists are unique in the American scene and many are of Iraqi origin.” The group also was featured in a sold-out performance in October of 2010 sponsored by the Embassy Series, which was the first public performance after the Iraqi Cultural Center opened its doors earlier that year. Barry emphasizes the role the Embassy Series’ events play in “uniting people through musical diplomacy,” providing a forum that combines music with information about a country’s culture and history. The Embassy Series events often combines music from award-winning performers, along with food of that country, featured in after-concert receptions, interacting with diplomats of that country and socializing with people that appreciate fine music and camaraderie – thus the Embassy Series mission: “uniting people through musical diplomacy.” In its 18-year history, the Embassy Series has performed in more than 60 embassies, residences, chanceries and diplomatic missions. The Embassy Series was the first to perform at the newly opened embassies of several former Soviet bloc Eastern European countries in the 1990s to performances at the Cuban Interests Section and Vietnamese Embassy in 2005 to being the first to perform at the opening of the new Chinese Embassy in 2010. Tickets are $80, (including the after-concert reception) and are open to the public.
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