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East meets East

Traditions of music form in separate corners of the world. They occasionally meet, and ideas are exchanged. These meetings do not happen at one point in time; they take decades and centuries to unfold, slowly transforming the receiving traditions. A tradition can be thought of as a ‘way of expressing’, which becomes a habit; a language. But whereas a particular language is incomprehensible to the foreign listener, music bridges the rigidities of words and talks to the intelligence of the heart. Music renders a service to the tradition that longs to show others its level of perfection.

And musical instruments bear the marks of this method; they are meticulously crafted to suit the slight acoustic nuances of the tradition’s approach to music. Although as old as humanity, instruments such as the Shakuhashi and the Nay have seldom met, because they come from distant places. The Nay is a piece of reed from the Middle East, and the Shakuhashi is bamboo from Japan. Although very simple in substance and shape, their sound has a strong character because they have grown to represent what they have inherited from the past.

When Kyle Kamal Helou and Bashir Saade made these two instruments converse, they knew they were confronting the laws of time. They found their first musical contact timid, both the Shakuhashi and the Nay imposing their characters, clinging on to their traditional aesthetics. The Shakuhashi is sharp and focused, the Nay fluid and warm. Yet the similarities were evident, both instruments having come to reflect similar ethical questions, the universality of being, and the intuition of the soul.

The impulsive improvisations of the nay have repeatedly crossed four traditional Japanese musical pieces. The Nay asks and the Shakuhashi answers. The result is four meditative encounters to share.

Kyle Kamal Helou: Shakuhachi
Bashir Saade: Nay

Doors open at 9 p.m.
Ticket: 25 000 L.L.

Metro Al Madina
Hamra, Saroulla Building(-2)
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Phone: 76-309363

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