Posted by on November 27, 2012 in Blog

By Jennine Vari

Fall 2012 Intern

On Saturday December 1st, the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture will present Moroccan singer Karima Skalli at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery in Washington DC The concert is part of the music program’s annual Arab Music Concert Series, which presents world-renowned musicians in Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington DC

Karima Skalli is an accomplished vocalist from Casablanca, Morocco, who began singing at a young age. Since graduating from the Marrakesh Conservatory and winning an award for her singing, she has gained international success, performing at the Opera House in Cairo and prestigious festivals such as the Jarash Festival in Jordan and the Carthage Festival in Tunis. She has excels in the repertoire of Umm Kalthum, and the traditional music of Morocco, Andalusia, and Sufi music, although she has mastered a variety of styles. Skalli’s contributions also include reviving the wasla form of music in 2007 with her album Wasla, meaning “that which links”. It is a traditional form which describes a composition which combines five or more movements, similar to an Andalusian nouba. Her beautiful voice has earned the attention of other famous Arab musicians. Throughout her career, Skalli has also performed with Marcel Khalife for a concert celebrating the works of poet Mahmoud Darwish, as well as with oud virtuosos Said Chrabi and Naseer Chama.

By presenting such acclaimed artists, Al-Bustan strives to promote an appreciation for Arab culture and art. During the last 10 years, the organization has grown from a two-week summer camp program to a nonprofit focusing on cultural, language, and art education. It offers after-school and weekend programs, summer camp, and performances to students in the Philadelphia area, including instruction in art, music and language. The music program, led by director Hanna Khoury, a violinist and Pew Fellowship recipient, offers lessons and instruction for children and adults, while sponsoring an annual concert series celebrating Arabic music. One of the most entertaining features on the website is the Digital Education page, which is full of interactive tools for learning the Arabic alphabet and discovering the life and legacy of Umm Kalthum.  The music section also allows visitors to learn selected Arabic songs by enabling them to isolate specific instruments and learn the song piece by piece.

Saturday’s concert starts at 7:30pm in the Meyer Auditorium at the Freer Gallery. It is open to the public and free tickets can be found here, however seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Watch Karima Skalli perform at the Mawazine Festival here:



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