Iraqi Maqam and Religious Rituals with Hamed Al-Saadi & Amir Elsaffar

Tuesday November 19 at 6pm

Dana Room

John Cotton Dana Library

185 University Avenue


This lecture-performance explores the relationship between the centuries old Iraqi maqam tradition and religious rituals in Judaism, Christianity, Islam and beyond.

Hamed Al-Saadi is the leading expert and practitioner of the centuries old, now endangered, Iraqi maqam tradition. His knowledge of the repertoire is unmatched by any other reciter and his singing technique captures the nuances and richness of Iraqi maqam vocal performance. His book on Iraqi Maqam is one of the most comprehensive accounts and is a reference for any scholar or musician who intends to study this tradition.

Amir Elsaffar is a composer, trumpeter, santur player, and vocalist. He has been described as “uniquely poised to reconcile jazz and Arabic music,” (the Wire) and “one of the most promising figures in jazz today” (Chicago Tribune). As a composer, ElSaffar has used the subtle microtones found in Iraqi maqam music to create an innovative approach to harmony and melody.


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Glance at Hamed Al-Saadi and Amir Elsaffar at the Lincoln Center Atrium last spring:

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This event is presented by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Middle East South Asia Working Group & funded by the Cultural Programming Grant at Rutgers University-Newark.