Oud friends trumpet unity

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In partnership with Abu Dhabi Festival 2023, world-renowned Iraqi oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma joins internationally acclaimed American jazz icon Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) for the United States tour of Middle East Meditations fusing jazz rhythms with Arabic maqam throughout January and February. The nine-time Grammy Award-winning jazz legend first performed with the acclaimed oud maestro and UNESCO Artist for Peace at Abu Dhabi Festival 2017 when the two gave an unforgettable soulful performance at Emirates Palace.

Founder Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo

The US tour, held as part of the Abroad Programme of the 20th-anniversay edition of Abu Dhabi Festival under the theme, The Will for Evolution, marks the first time Shamma will perform his oud compositions at Jazz at Lincoln Center, with the JLCO which will include new works arranged by Marsalis and members of the orchestra. It is also the first of its kind collaboration with an Iraqi artist for the JLCO.

Commenting on the power of music and collaboration to bring cultures and people together, Her Excellency Huda Alkhamis- Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and Founder and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “The U.S. tour of Middle East Meditations celebrates the fusion of traditional Arabic music with iconic jazz rhythms for the first time at Jazz at Lincoln Center and several world-renowned stages. In line with Abu Dhabi Festival’s commitment to strengthen the presence of Arab artists abroad, Iraqi oud maestro Nasser Shamma joins Grammy awardwinning American jazz star Wynton Marsalis for the first oud collaboration with the Jazz Lincoln Center Orchestra, performing his greatest works including Lady of the Gardens, A World Without Fear and O Sail Flows in the River Tigris among others. “By bringing together two legends of the music world following their historic collaboration at Abu Dhabi Festival 2017, we reaffirm the significant role music and plays in advancing crosscultural diplomacy, understanding and bringing humanity closer together.”

Wynton Marsalis and Naseer Shamma Tour

Naseer Shamma said: “The tour is the culmination of my partnership with Abu Dhabi Festival for 20 years now, during which we managed to present the concept of the globalisation of oud, sharing our Arabic culture and heritage. Our partnership yielded many achievements one of which is today’s tour with the Jazz legend Wynton Marsalis and the new genre we are presenting for the first time in the world.” Shamma is appearing in concerts that started on 20 January to 4 February and is performing the compositions, Al Nuba, Carthage, Inanna & Dumuzi, Lady of the Gardens, O Sail Flows in the River Tigris, Oud Jazz, Tomorrow’s Beautiful and A World Without Fear. The tour will come to major cities of US states including New York, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia.

Wynton Marsalis and Naseer Shamma in concert

The 2023 Abu Dhabi Festival programme is part of the contribution made by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation to the UAE capital’s designation as a UNESCO City of Music, further bolstering its role as a world leading musical center and incubator of an innovation-based resilient and sustainable cultural ecosystem. In its current edition, Abu Dhabi festival will present its extensive main line-up of events during the first three weeks of March, including several live and engaging performances and musical events. Meanwhile, local community events and other international performances will continue to take place throughout the year.

Audiences can book and purchase tickets via the following link https://2023.jazz.org/. For more information, please visit the Abu Dhabi Festival website: https://abudhabifestival. ae, and follow its digital platforms on: Facebook (abudhabifestival), Twitter (@abudhabi_fest), and Instagram (@abudhabifestival).

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