PHOTO CREDIT: David Sutton Studios
In 2001, musicians from Chicago's Muslim and Arabic professional music community and members of the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band came together to perform for the first time. Emerging out of that first encounter was a workshop-style ensemble that became known as the Salaam-Shalom Music Project, which has evolved to include members with Egyptian, Iraqi, Pakistani, Jordanian-Palestinian, Russian and American backgrounds. Their performance has a synergy combining acoustic music from the Middle East, East Asia and Eastern Europe.
In these times of religious and ethnic divisiveness, the Muslim, Jewish and Christian musicians of the Salaam-Shalom Music Project offer a more harmonious vision of creative collaboration. The ensemble draws from the wellsprings of ancestral folk songs and dances for their creativity, and sing each other’s repertoire in Arabic, French, Urdu, Yiddish and Hebrew. The Arabic oud (Arabic lute), daf (hand-held drum), ney (flute) as well as the klezmer violin and clarinet, weave together a fusion of folklore in an entrancing atmosphere of spirit and spirituality.
Salaam and Shalom are the Arabic and Hebrew words for "peace." A musical message of good will and harmony comes through the concerts in which the heritage of many cultures are shared and celebrated. Salaam, Shalom!