‘Migration of Melody’ Concert at Ithaca College

By David Maley, September 1, 2017

‘Migration of Melody’ Concert at Ithaca College

A multimedia concert by Journey West — an ensemble whose wide-ranging repertoire includes Klezmer music, Middle Eastern music, music from across Europe and traditional American fiddle music — will be held at Ithaca College on Saturday, Sept. 9. The 8:15 p.m. performance in Hockett Family Recital Hall in the James J. Whalen Center for Music is free and open to the public.

Comprising five musicians who play 15 different instruments, Journey West tracks melodies and changing instrumentation, beginning in the Middle East, traveling through Eastern and Western Europe, and finally arriving in the United States. The program illuminates the primary factors in carrying melodies to distant lands: wars, imperialism, nomadic dispersions, mass emigrations due to political oppression and musical crazes that sweep the globe.

For this performance, Journey West will be joined by Imad Yassin, an Iraqi violinist, and Basam Batbouta, an oud player from Syria.

The concert will emphasize the relationship of Jewish musical traditions to the regions where Jews have lived, featuring selections from the Mizrahi (Middle Eastern and North African), Sephardic and Ashkenazic diasporas. Combining projected maps with music, the group will trace the Sephardic Diaspora as it left Spain in 1492.

Journey West grew out of the Cornell Middle Eastern Music Ensemble, with the goal of fostering unity and understanding between different cultures. The group supports and performs with refugee musicians and donates 5% of their income from performance fees and CD sales directly to UNHCR-The UN Refugee Agency. For more information, visit journeywestmusic.com.

The concert is sponsored by the Ithaca College Jewish Studies Program and cosponsored by the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs and the Department of Anthropology, along with Amnesty International Local Group 73.

For more information about the concert, contact Rebecca Lesses, associate professor and coordinator of the Jewish Studies Program, at rlesses@ithaca.edu or 607-274-3556.