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At the Cultural Crossroads: Music and Culture of the Middle East

A festival featuring the Yuval Ron Ensemble

Sunday, May 20, 2007
1:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Northwest Auditorium, Sunset Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095

The Yuval Ron Ensemble—featuring Arab vocalist Najwa Gibran, Whirling Dervish Aziz, Armenian Duduk master Yegish Manukian—includes Arab and Jewish artists who come together to celebrate the musical traditions of Judaism, Sufism, and the Christian Armenian Church. Composer and world music producer Yuval Ron orchestrates the deep inter-cultural connection between these three traditions and the musical influences they share. The concert will feature songs of Sufi origin from Turkey, Jewish prayers from Morocco, Yemen, and Israel, as well as Armenian church chants. With the presence of Whirling Dervish Aziz, this program will be a feast for the senses!


1:00 PM

1:30 PM
Sacred Jewish Music: Mysticism of Sound (Workshop)
A demonstration of Hebrew prayers from the Middle East and North Africa performed on the Oud (Middle Eastern Lute). There will be a discussion of the history of these sacred music styles, as well as of their interrelationship and mutual influences with the Sufi traditions.  Featuring Israeli-born composer, record producer, performer and educator Yuval Ron

2:45 PM
Whirling: A Sufi Way of Sacred Movement (Workshop)
A demonstration of the Sufi practice of moving prayer-meditation (Whirling–Islamic Sufi tradition) and the use of sound in sacred trance settings from Turkey to Morocco. During this workshop volunteers will be asked to participate in the whirling movement to live devotional music. Featuring Aziz, an authentic Whirling Dervish of the Mevlevi Order.

4:00 PM
The Magic of the Armenian Woodwinds (Workshop)
A presentation of traditional Armenian Church chants, adapted to the unique Armenian woodwind instrument, the Duduk. There will be a discussion of the history of this ancient musical tradition and a demonstration of early Christian prayers performed on the Duduk. Featuring Armenian Duduk master Yeghish Manukian

5:00 PM

6:00 PM
JAM SESSION: Middle Eastern Styles and Improvisation
A group master-class in Middle Eastern music styles and expressive improvisational techniques. Students are invited to participate in accompaniment and improvisation along with the Yuval Ron Ensemble members.
Please bring your instruments!

7:30 PM
Featuring The Yuval Ron Ensemble, Najwa Gibran–vocal soloist, and Yeghish Manukian–duduk soloist.

Event is free of charge. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Preferential seating to students (with ID). To register, email  Make sure to include your name and student ID number. Reservations will be held until 1:30pm. For more info, please call (310) 825-5387.



Cost : Free

Center for Jewish Studies
(310) 825-5387

Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies, Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, Comparative Literature, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Center for Jewish Studies, Yitzhak Rabin Hillel Center for Jewish Life at UCLA, Dortort Center for Creativity in the Arts at UCLA, Maurice Amado Foundation, UCLA Office of the Dean of Humanities, UCLA Center for Intercultural Performances and the Foundation for World Arts / World Festival of Sacred Music, UCLA Center for the Study of Religion, Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel, Los Angeles Hillel Council, Loyola Marymount University, American Jewish University, Bruins for Israel, Jewish Student Union, Armenian Student Association, Students for Justice in Palestine, Leo Baeck Temple

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