All concerts will be held at the 40th Street Field, the beautiful green space adjacent to the Walnut West Free Library at 40th and Walnut Streets. All shows begin at 6pm. THESE SHOWS ARE NOT AT THE ROTUNDA.
For Immediate Release
EXPANDED 40TH STREET SUMMER SERIES KICKS OFF MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND with Brooklyn Qawwali Party (performing & reworking music of the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan)!
(Philadelphia, PA) - University of Pennsylvania, University City District (UCD), and The Rotunda are pleased to announce the 2013 (and newly-expanded!) concert calendar for the annual 40th Street Summer Series, the free outdoor performance series in University City.
Scheduled for the last Saturdays in May to September, the 40th Street Summer Series will transform the 40th Street Field into a family-friendly center of global sounds and good vibrations.
These free outdoor performances will feature internationally-renowned ensembles including Brooklyn Qawwali Party (performing/reworking the music of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan), the whimsicalPhiladelphia Ukulele Orchestra, the Millennial Territory Orchestra (performing the music of Sly and The Family Stone), Spaceship Aloha(featuring Man Man's Chris Powell), and more to be announced.
All concerts will be held at the 40th Street Field, the beautiful green space adjacent to the Walnut West Free Library at 40th and Walnut Streets. All shows begin at 6pm.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/155368037956719/
Complimentary (first come, first served) Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream and pretzels will also be given out during the performances.
Saturday May 25 | Brooklyn Qawwali Party
Brooklyn Qawwali Party is a thunderous 11-piece brass band from NYC that reworks 700 year-old Pakistani Sufi Music (called Qawwali; think gospel music goes to Pakistan) into a sound that gets folks dancing, shaking, sweating, and even whirling! Paying tribute to one of the world's great vocalists, BQP formed to honor the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, reworking his thunderous songs for this eclectic orchestra. Funky, smart, and loving, BQP captures the joyful spirit of this Pakistani folk music in a unique instrumental blend of jazz and Qawwali. It's a good time, it's from the heart, and it's like nothing you've ever heard.
A singer does not acquire the nickname "The Voice From Heaven" for no good reason. And anyone that has ever heard Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan knows this moniker to be fitting. Yet Nusrat was more than a singer; he was an ambassador of Sufi/Islamic culture and art, as well as the modern seed of a seven-hundred-year-old lineage of qawwali singers. In his all-too-brief life, he transformed the folk music of Pakistan into something ready for - some would say craved by - global audiences.
While alive Nusrat attained the stature and respect of artists like Bob Marley and Fela Kuti, and yet, outside of his own forward-thinking projects (alongside Michael Brook, Peter Gabriel and Eddie Vedder), little has evolved the qawwali form. Until we consider Brooklyn Qawwali Party, that is.
Qawwali music, which includes a deceptively simple arrangement of harmonium, tablas, handclaps and numerous vocalists, is extremely complex in presentation. The music is not, however, complicated to listen to. Audiences are immediately drawn in by the lush textures of vocals, and the repetitive themes underlying each song, which may last for fifteen or twenty minutes. Like life, qawwals create songs that move in waves and express numerous and contradictory emotions simultaneously.
The Wall Street Journal recently wrote "[BQP's] the most innovative adaptation of [Qawwali legend] Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's music yet." Full article: http://tinyurl.com/7rypvx9
Opening the evening will be Members of Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture's resident takht ensemble:
Hafez El Ali Kotain, an accomplished master percussionist, is fluent in both Arab and Latin rhythms - a fluency he honed in his native countries of Syria and Venezuela. He began studying the doumbek in Syria at the age of seven, first performed on stage at age nine, and went on to study with master Syrian percussionist Hady Jazan, winning the national percussion competitions in Syria for five consecutive years. In Venezuela he studied percussion at the TMV Institute for Music in Valencia, where he also taught a variety of percussion styles blending Arab and Latino music to youth. Kotain has toured with Syrian singer George Wassouf in Canada and the US, and has performed in Philadelphia with acclaimed artist Sting and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Kotain has worked with Al-Bustan for over four years as a performer and teacher in various school and community-based programs.
Kinan Idnawi joined the High Music Institute in Damascus, Syria in 2003 where he studied oud with Azerbaijani expert Askar Ali Akbar and graduated in 2008. Idnawi has since accompanied Marcel Khalife in his Al-Mayadeen Ensemble in Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Austria, and Lebanon, and has played with the Qatar Philharmonic, under the direction of world renowned Maestro Lorin Maazel. He toured with the Qatar Philharmonic in 2009, and performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Theater des Champs-Elysees in Paris, La Scala in Milan, and Teatro Massimo in Palermo where he played the Arabian Concerto composed by Marcel Khalife. In 2009, he won first place in the International Oud Competition in Beirut, Lebanon.
The 40th Street Summer Series is sponsored by AroundPhilly, BenFM, Ben & Jerry's, Campus Philly, Philadelphia City Paper, Daily Pennsylvanian, Grid Magazine, Homewood Suites, Philly Pretzel Factory, Metro, Philadelphia Weekly, Philly Fun Guide, UC Review, UCNet, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Visit the official website for the 2013 40th Street Summer Series: http://universitycity.org/40th-street-summer-series