African Swahili Music Lives On In Oman

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Tufts University presents African Music Ensemble, Wind Ensemble and Jazz Orchestra performances

The Omani empire in the 18th and 19th century ruled much of East Africa’s coast and the islands of Zanzibar — today a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania — with sailors bringing back instruments, music, dance and the language. That is why in the nation hugging the edge of the Arabian Peninsula, musicians wearing traditional Omani long white robes and hand woven hats beat African rhythms on their drums, swaying to music more easily found on the African continent than in the Middle East. “The music runs deep in us and is embedded in our culture, passed on by our ancestors,” said Kareema Ismail, a singer and dancer. “The Swahili beats in our music is a long tradition from Zanzibar. It is not something that will be replaced by contemporary music.” The oldest independent state in the Arab world, Oman has been ruled by the al-Said family since 1744. Zanzibar became a major trade hub, a slave center and the economic engine for the Omani empire.
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23, Music That Paints a Picture, a performance by the Tufts University Wind Ensemble, will also take place in the Distler Performance Hall at 1 p.m. as part of the Saturday Family and Childrens Concert Series. Tufts Wind Ensemble under the direction of John McCann invites children to combine its music with their imagination and crayons as all listen to pieces that portray a scene, image, or story. Come explore what it is in the music that inspires an understanding of the composers musical portraits. On Nov. 23, at 8 p.m., the university is pleased to present Jazz in North American Film, a concert by the Tufts Jazz Orchestra, in Goddard Chapel, located on the main academic quad at 3 The Green on Tufts Medford/Somerville campus. Under the direction of Joel LaRue Smith, the Tufts Jazz Orchestra performs jazz that has influenced North American film, including the music of Juan Tizol, Duke Ellington, Leonard Bernstein, Burt Bacharach and Johnny Mercer from films such as Bus Stop, West Side Story, Skyfall, Casino Royale, Alice, Sweet and Low Down and Casablanca. Enjoy the music in its original film version and with fresh, innovative arrangements!
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