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The ecstatic fusion of Middle Eastern music and the jazz tradition lies at the heart and soul of a 17-piece ensemble, the Rivers of Sound orchestra, that creates a bridge between cultures that is both musically absorbing and emotionally charged – the UK debut of perhaps the most fascinating new group to emerge in today’s transglobal music.
Iraqi-American trumpeter, santur player, vocalist, and composer Amir ElSaffar has mastered these contrasting styles in a group of musicians from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, with age-old traditional instruments combining with a more familiar jazz language. Together, the group transcends established notions of style and convention, exploring improvisation and composition, the merging of musical languages, maqam and polyphony – and a sound that stirs the soul and lifts the spirit.
‘The idea is about fluidity: sounds flow into one another, overtones interact, as we come closer to a universal human sound’ Amir Elsaffar
‘Fresh, deep, intensely performed music…an organic amalgam’ Jazz Times
‘ElSaffar has moved beyond building bridges, his music has become the river.’ DownBeat