September 25, 2014
Press Release: Intercultural Journeys presents Farah Siraj
Farah to open the 2014/15 Songs for Peace concert season
Philadelphia, PA—Intercultural Journeys is pleased to announce the opening of its 2014/15 concert season with Jordanian virtuoso Farah Siraj. Farah will be joined by her band, a group of three musicians from New York City, as well as Brooklyn-based spiritchild, a self-described “freedom singer” and hip-hop artist. Farah has performed with Intercultural Journeys before, but this marks the first time that the singer will be presented with her diverse Arabian jazz, flamenco band. This concert also marks the first time that Farah and spiritchild have performed together live. Farah Siraj's music blends Middle Eastern influences with flamenco, jazz, bossa, and pop. Farah will perform several selections from her latest album Dunya, as well as selections from her previous works The Arabian Jazz Project and NOMAD.
In an interview Farah noted how honored she is to be the opener of the concert season, “My songs are for peace, and I stand for peace. So to open a music series with this theme is an honor.” Lindsey Crane, Intercultural Journeys’ Managing Director, added, “It was important for us to start the concert season with a bang, and that will happen with Farah. Farah stands for everything that Intercultural Journeys does. We are fortunate to have had a long relationship with her. Farah is a bandleader and the fact that she’s also female and Arab sends a powerful message; one that we are not only pleased to help her send, but that also complements our mission quite beautifully.”
The performance will take place on October 10 at the Ibrahim Theater in International House Philadelphia. Tickets are $15 for the general public. Discounts are available for members of International House. Student tickets are $8 with a valid ID. Tickets are sold through International House Philadelphia and may be purchased online at www.ihousephilly.org/IJ or by calling the International House Philadelphia box office at 215.387.5125, then press menu option 2.
About Farah Siraj
Named Jordan's “Musical Ambassadress”, Jordanian virtuoso Farah Siraj balances a career that spans the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Farah has performed at some of the world's most prestigious platforms, including the United Nations, Nobel Prize Hall, the World Economic Forum, the TV show Good Morning Live in the USA, MBC TV in the Middle East and the Antena de Oro Awards of Spain. Farah has performed before HM King Abdullah II and HM Queen Rania of Jordan, HM King Juan Carlos of Spain, HRH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and HE Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon. In addition, Farah represents Jordan annually on United Nations World Peace Day.
In 2011 Farah internationally released her album entitled NOMAD, funded personally by His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan. In NOMAD, Farah performs her original compositions, fusing influences of Middle Eastern music, flamenco, jazz, bossa and pop, with lyrics in Arabic, Spanish and English. The recordings took place in the Middle East, Spain and the USA, including more than 30 internationally acclaimed musicians from five different continents.
In early 2012, after the success of NOMAD, Farah presented the world premiere of her new work, entitled The Arabian Jazz Project, featuring original compositions and traditional middle eastern tunes set to a jazz context. As a result of the success of The Arabian Jazz Project, Farah was chosen as one of the “Summer Stars of Jazz” by New York's The Villager Newspaper, and named “the Norah Jones of the Middle East” by New York Time Out.
In addition to the productions of NOMAD and The Arabian Jazz Project, Farah currently leads an ethnically diverse quintet of Arabian Flamenco Jazz, with world-class musicians from the Middle East, Europe, the United States and South America, including music from all four regions. Farah studied at the prestigious Trinity College of Music in London and Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she was recognized for her lush Arabian vocals, as mentioned in the article “Out of Berklee, A Gift of Music” by the Boston Globe. Farah's music often expresses the reality of war and raises awareness for the urgent need for peace. In recognition of her humanitarian efforts, Farah was invited to perform at the 2012 United Nations Humanitarian Awards in New York. In addition, Farah's music was played before the United Nations Security Council before passing a legislation regarding the genocide in Darfur.
spiritchild, as he is known, is a freedom singer from the south Bronx by way of Brooklyn, who uses the arts to cultivate a cultural revolution. He integrates activism and hip hop music production as the founder of the Movement In Motion Artist & Activist Collective. As the Rhythmic Poet of the Hip Hop Fusion Band Mental Notes, he uses his music to converse with his audience to the injustices facing the poor and oppressed, inspiring action on environmental and social justice in New York City and around the world. No one attends a session with spiritchild without leaving encouraged. His ability to draw out creativity and confidence heals those around him, and is the catalyst for deep analysis and social change. He is an instructor for songwriting and artist at several public schools throughout New York, and facilitates that process internationally on seasonal tours in Africa, South East Asia, Europe and elsewhere. spiritchild has assisted with organizing regional conferences on climate change, he is highlighting disaster relief and environmental justice with black, brown and other oppressed people. He has also produced and recorded with and for award winning Grammy® nominee Maya Azucena, legendary Les Nubians, spoken word nuyorican poets champion Ainsley Burrows, X-Vandals & Ricanstructions very own N4P to name a few. Balance has been created by engaging and developing the youth with hip hop pedagogy as program director of One Mic and founder of One Mic Collective/Art Start working with youth offenders as well as in Children’s Village Dobbs Ferry New York Juvenile Detention Facility. He has also worked with and for intellectually disabled and psychologically diagnosed adults in the Bronx.
About Intercultural Journeys
Intercultural Journeys seeks to promote understanding in pursuit of peace amongst people of diverse faiths and cultures through dialogue and the presentation of world-class performances in music, dance, the spoken word, and other art forms. We believe that performances, done for the purpose of bringing people together that might otherwise be in conflict, give us the opportunity to play a small part in contributing to world peace.
We fulfill our mission by transforming the traditional concert series into a new model that pairs performances featuring world-class artists with a special engagement project that takes those same artists into a specific and often underserved community. We believe that education is the cornerstone of our mission. Our educational residency program, Dialogues in Music, is aimed at promoting tolerance, respect, and mutual cultural understanding in the city’s youth.
Intercultural Journeys was first founded in 2002 by Philadelphia Orchestra cellist Udi Bar-David, philanthropist Carole Haas Gravagno, Majid Alsayegh, and Sheldon L. Thompson. Together they saw the role that music could play in beginning a dialogue between people that might not otherwise speak to each other. Since then, Intercultural Journeys has held over 160 concerts, partnering with a diverse roster of both local and international artists, in the Greater Philadelphia area, across the United States, and abroad, in countries such as China, Spain, Italy, and Israel.
Intercultural Journeys presents Farah Siraj, with special guest spiritchild
October 10, 2014, 7:30pm
Vocals/Guitar: Farah Siraj
Guitar: Andreas Arnold
Electric bass: Andres Romistrovsky
Percussion: Marcelo Woloski
Special guest: spiritchild
All tickets $15 General Admission/ $10 International House Philadelphia members/ $8 Students
International House Philadelphia’s Ibrahim Theater
3701 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Public Contact Information:
Online Sales: ihousephilly.org/IJ
Phone: 215. 387. 5125 (menu option 2)