Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Take a musical journey down the Silk Road with Arifa this Friday

Forever improvising, Arifa add Chinese, Persian and Bulgarian to their musical mix this Friday

For thousands of years, the Silk Road has carried trade and cultural exchanges from the Far East through to Europe and back again. This Friday, a double bill of artists will draw on these ancient world traditions to make music that transcends time and geography.

Amsterdam-based Arifa have an expansive sound that goes beyond musical genres and national boundaries. The four band members, who originate from Turkey (Sjahin During), Greece (Michalis Cholevas), Romania (Alex Simu) and Germany (Franz von Chossy), have already carved out a name for themselves with their eclectic musical forays into the Balkans and Anatolia.

In this new project, guest musicians, Xiaoxu Meng from China, Niusha Barimani from Iran and Vanya Valkova from Bulgaria add their own traditional stringed instruments and hauntingly beautiful traditional singing styles to Arifa’s melting pot of world sounds.

This exciting new blend has Songlines Magazine exclaiming: “Arifa strikes gold. This is music that can make you shiver with delight”.

Here’s a taste of this week’s Arifa concert here. 

The Lyres of Ur. Photo: British Musseum
Also performing this Friday are The Lyre Ensemble. Led by Stef Connor (The Unthanks, and composer-in-residence for Streetwise Opera), whose voice Resonance FM Joe Cushley describes as “eerily beautiful” and “perfect in evoking the Babylonian blues.”

The Ensemble will be building a musical bridge to ancient Mesopotamia using replicas of the 4,500 year-old Lyres of Ur (the world’s oldest surviving stringed instruments). Babylonian and Sumerian poems are transformed into contemporary songs, offering a fascinating window into a lost world, while lyrics prove to be as relevant today as they were in the past.

The concert is part of the Barbican’s Transcender season of contemporary music events and is supported by the Dutch Embassy.

Concert: Arifa and Voices from the East + The Lyre Ensemble
Date: Friday 25 September 2015
Start time: 7.30pm
Venue: Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, London N1 2UN
Admission: £20 (+ booking fee for online bookings)


Hear Arifa’s musical alchemy of Anatolian-Balkans beats at this year’s EFG Jazz Festival in London, 10 Nov. 2014

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