Syrian-American musicians raise voices as homeland suffers

Electronic artist and musician Samer Saem Eldahr
Updated 19 October 2017
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Syrian-American musicians raise voices as homeland suffers

DETROIT: When Samer Saem Eldahr finished university, he was ready to spread his wings and start his career. He planned a month away from home to discover and pursue his craft.
It is a similar story to many college graduates, with a notable exception: There would be no realistic option to return from Lebanon to his home in Aleppo, Syria, which was descending into war. He left behind his music and art studio containing most of his equipment and paintings.
Five years on, Eldahr has been rebuilding his life and art as a permanent US resident, living in Minneapolis with his wife and a child on the way. Under the name Hello Psychaleppo, he recently completed an album and is playing shows, including one Friday at the Arab American National Museum in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.
Hello Psychaleppo is among several Syrian-American acts on the road, sharing music and messages about their homeland as the conflict rages on. The Arab museum on Monday will host Amplify Peace, a national tour presented by the Syrian American Medical Society. The concert, which aims to raise money for Syrian relief efforts, includes rapper/poet Omar Offendum, funk and soul outfit Bassel & The Supernaturals and others.
Eldahr combines styles just as he does worlds. He describes his sound as “electro-tarab,” blending electronic music with the ethos of “tarab,” an Arabic word describing music’s emotional, ecstatic effect often associated with traditional artistic forms.
“I tried my best to separate those two worlds, my music and life ... but at a certain point they do meet,” he said.
In performance, he uses synthesizers, not traditional Arab instruments, but manipulates them to provide the “microtones” — pitches between those found in Western scales and common in Middle Eastern music — by using an effects machine called a “talk box.”
“I’m trying to find the link between our music memory back home and the new modern tools and what can adapt,” he said.
Offendum, a Syrian who was born in Saudi Arabia and came to the US in the mid-1980s as a young boy, also feels deeply connected to his parents’ birthplace. However, he said, the crisis should concern everybody: Some 5 million Syrians have fled their homeland since conflict there erupted in 2011, including his relatives.


Comedy fans in for a treat as Marlon Wayans to play Riyadh in May

Updated 24 April 2018
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Comedy fans in for a treat as Marlon Wayans to play Riyadh in May

  • Marlon Wayans is coming to Riyadh for his May 11
  • Event supported by the General Entertainment Authority, various sponsors, and organized by Future Dimensions Entertainment

RIYADH: Stand-up and comedy lovers are in for a special treat as international Hollywood star and part of the legendary Wayans family – Marlon Wayans is coming to Riyadh for his May 11 scheduled show at Princess Noura University Conference Center.
Supported by the General Entertainment Authority, various sponsors, and organized by Future Dimensions Entertainment who are committed to delivering distinguished entertainment events to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On this occasion, Ratib Abdo – Executive Manager at Future Dimensions Entertainment said, “Marlon Wayans is an international superstar and a distinguished figure in comedy; His movies have generated over 1.1 billion dollars in global revenue, not to mention he has been in the game for a very long time. It is going to be a fantastic show opening a new era of stand-up comedy events in the kingdom.”
The show will feature local talents, and Marlon Wayans will be delivering an exclusive to the masses. Having been in the entertainment industry for over 30 years, we can expect to witness a great evening from Marlon Wayans especially after the grand success on Netflix with his stand up show “Woke-ish,” and his hit TV sitcom on NBC “Marlon.”
People can find more details about the event on social media @Komedya1.0 and @MarlonWayans in addition to all sponsors websites and social media pages.
Tickets available at all Virgin Megastores outlets and online on ticketing box office through the link http://bit.ly/Marlonwayans
Don’t forget to use the hashtag: #MarlonWayansInRiyadh