Detroit has quite a bit of two things … beautiful historic homes and world renowned musicians. The Victor Ghannam’s World Music Quartet at Palmer Woods Music in Homes concert this Saturday, March 19 at 8 pm will combine them.
The house that the concert takes place in is a 5,200-square-foot 1926 English Tudor-revival that is eclectically decorated with modern, antique and handmade furniture and artwork of local artists, as well as the owner’s photography.
Victor Ghannam is recognized worldwide for his combination of Middle Eastern music, jazz, Flamenco, rock ’n roll and exotic belly dancing music, with his instruments of choice … the oud and qanoun.
Ghannam has played his unique sound with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on its Sounds of Babylon series as well as on NPR’s Prairie Home Companion.
He is also a founder of the National Arab Orchestra and will perform with fellow members. They are Iraqi-born violinist Qusay Al-Ali; Ons Boukraa, one of Tunisia’s premier percussionists, and from India, Gursharan Yash Singh Sandhu, who plays percussion instruments of classical Indian music with ancient Hindu traditions.
It promises to be an evening filled with hypnotic sounds and global magic.
If you are not familiar with the qanoun and oud and here are some quick definitions.
The qanoun is more like lyre with 26 course strings and has a three-and-a-half octave range. It is played with tortoise shell picks, fingernails, or by hand.
The oud is a Middle Eastern version of the lute, and it comes in two distinct styles, Turkish and Arabic.
The oud is thought to have been invented during the early biblical by Lamech, the sixth grandson of Adam. The oldest visual proof of its existence is pictorials from Mesopotamia more than 5,000 years ago. This pear-shaped instrument is thought to have healing powers. It is used in Persian, Arabic, Greek, Turkish, Jewish, Byzantine, Azerbaijani, Armenian, North African (Chaabi, Classical, and Spanish Andalusian), Somali and Middle Eastern music.
With such a lengthy and varied history and with the plethora of genres used, Ghannam is an experience unto himself.
Along with the music, there will also be food and desert that reflect the style and feel of the music during intermission.
Palmer Woods Music in Homes 9th season showcases world-acclaimed jazz, classical and world music artists with Detroit roots who perform each month through June in architectural gems — Detroit’s Palmer Woods mansions, unique homes and gardens. Here musicians enrapture their audiences with musical journeys of sounds, imagination, traditions, and histories from the US, Latin America, Middle East, Asia, South Africa, and elsewhere.
Tickets for all concerts, $40 – $50, with discounts for groups of 10 or more, can be purchased at palmerwoods.org or by calling 313-891-2514. The address of the concert home in Palmer Woods is revealed when tickets are purchased. All concerts include receptions with creative and delicious menus that reflect the musical themes.
If you miss this one there are three more concerts coming up.
On April 9 the PUBLIQuartet will be there. PUBLIQuartet (PQ) incorporates classical and contemporary works, original compositions, and improvisations. Often collaborating with young composers, they present new works for string quartet. Detroit-born violinist Jannina Barefield Norpoth had an early classical start, soloing twice with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in her teens. She is now based in New York and works with PQ musicians violinist Curtis Stewart, violist Nick Revel and cellist Amanda Gookin.
An award-winning ensemble, PQ was selected as the Concert Artists Guild’s 2013 New Music/New Places Ensemble. In 2015, the group received the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming and sold-out their debut recital at Carnegie Hall.
On May 21 check out Orquesta La Inspiracion. It was founded by Puerto Rican congera Ozzie Rivera and is directed by pianist Bill Meyer. The group includes some of the Detroit area’s most talented and knowledgeable Latin musicians. You’ll hear the rhythms of salsa, merengue, cumbia and Afro-Caribbean jazz played in the garden of a Palmer Woods home.
June 17 brings the Planet D Nonet South Africa Project . PD9’s Township Jazz Project focuses on the music of great South African jazz artists, including Abdullah Ibrahim, Hugh Masekela, the Brotherhood of Breath, Winston “Mankunku” Ngozi and others. The group includes Justin Jozwiak, Daniel Bennett, and Joshua James, co-bandleader James O’Donnell on trumpet and percussion, trumpeter Ken Ferry, trombonist John Tbone Paxton, pianist Phillip Hale, Damon Warmack on electric bass, Akunda Hollis on djembe, and bandleader percussionist RJ Spangler. Spangler earned his first Motor City Music Award in 1982 with a band he co-founded, the Sun Messengers. The Planet D Nonet South Africa Project is known for playing swing, blues, space-age jazz and classic American songs.
The concert will be held in a tent set in the garden/green space adjacent to a Palmer Woods home. You can tour a portion of the home before the concert.
The final concert on June 18 is Blues to Broadway, Jazz & Beyond with Detroit native and Broadway, film, comedy and TV star David Alan Grier. He plays steel guitar and you’re likely to hear Mississippi Delta Blues, songs by Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters as well as American Songbook jazz and works from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.
Grier is a three-time Tony and Grammy nominee for his work in The First, where he starred as baseball legend Jackie Robinson, RACE, and Porgy and Bess.
His Detroit band includes guitarist A. Spencer Barefield, Toronto bassist David Young, and drummer Djallo Keita.
For more information on all concerts please go to http://palmerwoods.org/events/.