The Department of Humanities and Arts will sponsor a concert by Palestine’s Dal’Ouna Ensemble on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. in Alden Hall. Showcasing a fusion of Palestinian folk, classical, jazz, and world music, with a special guest performance by Moroccan-born vocalist Nidal Ibourk.
In addition to the performance Tuesday evening, arrangements have been made for author Sandy Tolan to present a brief lecture earlier that morning, after which he will answer questions about his books. That lecture will take place in Spaulding Recital Hall (in the basement of Alden Hall) at 10 a.m.
Admission to both programs is free.
WPI is one of the stops on the Dal’Ouna Ensemble’s 2016 World Tour, titled “Children of the Stone.” The tour also serves as a fundraiser for the Al Kamandjati Music School in Ramallah. Musician and composer Ramzi Aburedwan, founder of the school, is part of the four-piece traveling ensemble. As a young man and successful violinist, he left Palestine and studied music in France. He returned to Palestine to create after-school vocal, instrumental, and classical theory programs for children, which evolved into the three-facility institution for which he has been praised. The music school sponsors workshops, camps, and festivals that promote musical education and cultural exchange year round.
Doug Weeks, coordinator of music, and associate head of the Department of Humanities and Arts, is an enthusiastic promoter of the music school and the Dal’Ouna Ensemble. He first became involved with the ensemble when he volunteered at the school as a teacher and mentor for a 10-day period one summer. That experience developed into a relationship with the school, and he spent parts of three more summers training and performing with young students.
Sandy Tolan, the award-winning author of best-seller, The Lemon Tree, has written a new book, Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land, which details the history of the school and its attempts to improve Palestinian-Israeli relations. Tolan’s book has been profiled and hailed in the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post Books, the BBC, and on NPR’s “Weekend Edition.” Coincidentally, for two weeks while researching the history of the Al Kamandjati Music School for his book, he was Weeks’s roommate while Weeks was teaching and performing in an intensive course of study. Tolan will be signing copies of his books at this concert.