Middle Eastern concert to weave mystical spell at Schoolhouse | TheUnion.com

Middle Eastern concert to weave mystical spell at Schoolhouse

Belly dancing, Persian hand drums and finger cymbals weave a mystical spell Saturday when the musical group Helm joins with dancers to perform a special evening concert of Egyptian, Andalusian, Turkish and Balkan folk music at the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center.

Helm will offer a special percussion and zils (finger cymbals) workshop for dancers and musicians in the afternoon.

The local dance ensembles are Shakina Sahar and Venus Serpentina.

Helm member Mark Bell has traveled and studied percussion extensively throughout the Arabic world. He plays various Arabic and Persian hand drums, as well as instruments of the tambourine/ frame drum family. He is the winner of a 2005 Grammy award for his tracks on “Beautiful Dreamer – Songs of Stephen Foster.”

Bell’s musical partner Ling Shien plays mismar (an Arabic oboe), nai (an Arabic flute) and other assorted Arabic woodwinds and rebaba, a member of the violin family. She draws upon her study of Arabic music theory as well as her time spent in Egypt to create her compositions. Her background in Western classical music and her ability to distinguish quarter tones enabled her to successfully adapt to the complexities of Middle Eastern music.

WHAT: Traditional Middle Eastern music, dance and workshop

WHEN: Saturday: Workshop 2-4 p.m.; concert 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: The North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center on the San Juan Ridge

ADMISSION: Concert: $12 for nonmembers, $10 for members; for workshop: $30 registration

INFORMATION: Call 265-2826 or e-mail ncscc@nccn.net.

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