Voices of Afghanistan Comes to Hannaford Hall, 3/16

Voices of Afghanistan Comes to Hannaford Hall, 3/16

Portland Ovations presents Voices of Afghanistan, a traditional musical ensemble showcasing some of the finest musicians from Central Asia and Afghanistan at Hannaford Hall, USM Portland campus for an evening concert Saturday, March 16th at 8pm.

Voices of Afghanistan is comprised of legendary Afghan songstress Ustad Farida Mahwash and skilled musicians playing the tabla; harmonium; tula; and the rubab, an Afghan lute, played by rubab virtuoso and artistic director Homayoun Sakhi. Specializing in both traditional music of Afghanistan, its neighboring lands, and in bold contemporary works, a performance by Voices of Afghanistan is truly a journey through time and space, reprising the glories of the Afghan past, and reaching all the way to its increasingly global contemporary life and expression.

On their inaugural tour Voices of Afghanistan has created an acoustically rich repertoire that explores the interconnections between sacred and secular, traditional and contemporary, and the seeker and the sought. These musicians offer their music to all as an exquisite reminder of the tenacious presence of love that no war can ever crush. As the New York Times stated, "...an impressive ensemble [whose] music, alive with cyclic tabla rhythms and spiraling rubab phrases, somehow echoed the sounds and intensity of the times."

During a three day residency with Portland Ovations the Voices of Afghanistan ensemble will connect with our community on multiple levels through in-school workshops with elementary and college level students, at an artist share and gathering with local musicians, visiting the local mosque and much more.

One hour prior to the Voices of Afghanistan concert on March 16th at Hannaford Hall, Ovations Offstage offers a pre-performance lecture at 7pm. Writer and community organizer Reza Jalali reads from the book New Mainers: Portraits of Our Immigrant Neighbors. Telling the stories of twenty-five immigrants and how they came to Maine, New Mainers is "a provocative and unsettling book for the very reasons that immigration is such a difficult issue. Although the stories center on the experience of 25 individuals, they reflect, to some degree, on all of us." Additionally, Jalali presents an excerpt from his original play The Poets and the Assassin, a work that examines the history and contemporary lives of women in Iran. Jalali will discuss both works, providing a cultural context for understanding issues of gender in Muslim culture.

Tickets for Voices of Afghanistan are $29 for Ovations' Members, $32 for the general public and a limited amount of $10 student tickets, are also available. The New England Foundation for The Arts, the Center for Cultural Exchange Foundation and the Maine Community Foundation graciously provide support for the Voices of Afghanistan performance. To purchase tickets visit www.portlandovations.org, contact PortTIX at 207-842-0800 or visit the box office window at Merrill Auditorium.

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