Middlebury

June 24, 2002

Contact: Travis Fahey
802-443-5794
tfahey@middlebury.edu
Posted: June 28, 2002

MIDDLEBURY, VT.-The Middlebury College Language School will present the Georges Lammam Ensemble at 7:30 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall on Saturday, July 13. The concert is free and open to the public. Traditional Arabic refreshments, including coffee and baklava, will be served at 7 p.m.

The ensemble has won critical acclaim for their classical and popular music performances that come from a vast repertoire of pan-Arabic music. The ensemble uses improvisation to elaborate on compositional ideas, which are explored mainly through instruments integral to the music of the Middle East. Those instruments include the kanoon, a harp, the muzhar, a drum, and the dumbeck, a clay drum. The violin and accordion also contribute to the ensemble's unique sound.

Ensemble leader Georges Lammam first performed with his brothers, Tony and Elias, who are an integral part of the ensemble, for a priest in the United Arab Emirates. When the priest gave the brothers an honorarium for their performance, the Lammams decided to make music their lives.

The brothers toured the region, playing in five-star hotels and securing spots on television and radio. In 1987, Georges came to Florida, soon making an impact on the American music scene. He quickly secured a music contract in San Francisco. In 1999, Elias came to join his brother and his signature instrument, the oriental accordion, became an integral part of the ensemble.

The brothers were soon performing throughout the world, but not just in the name of entertainment. Georges and his wife, Jeanette Cool, founded the Amorfia Productions Company, dedicated to the education and performance of Arabic music and dance. Three recordings have been produced through Amorfia, all of which are part of a curriculum for teaching and performance. Georges has taught ensemble and vocal classes at the University of California at Berkeley for four years. In addition, he has organized musical presentations at the 1st International Conference on Middle Eastern Dance at Orange Coast College in southern California.

Elias has been equally influential in the music world. A world-renowned oriental accordion performer, Elias has composed commercial music for Coca Cola, Gillette, and the Lipton Tea Company. He was recently invited to the 10th annual Cotati Accordion Festival, his performance at which earned him a standing ovation and a return engagement the following year. In 2000, he was the instructor for the Student Middle Eastern Instrumental Ensemble at the Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp in Mendocino, Calif.

In addition to performing as the ensemble's percussionist, Tony Lammam recently published a book of romantic poetry called, "Confessions from Rain" and has just completed a recording of poetry with musical accompaniment called "Echoes of Silence." Tony is noted for his knowledge of the vast array of classical rhythm patterns used in Arabic music and for his highly embellished and syncopated style.

Fouad Marzouk, the ensembles' fourth member, has studied and taught music in Cairo. Performing throughout the United States and Canada, Marzouk is regarded by critics as a virtuoso on the kanoon, a 72-stringed lap harp. Marzouk teaches harp lessons privately in San Francisco.

Neither Tony nor Fouad will be performing with George and Elias at the college event.

The ensemble's performance is being presented as part of the cultural accompaniment to the nine-week Arabic language program at Middlebury College, which promotes learning through immersion. Students in the Arabic school are only allowed to read Arabic books and newspapers, watch Arabic television and listen to the Arabic radio. In addition to the musical performance presented by the Lammam ensemble, the students will experience Arabic culture through cooking, religion and popular media.

For more information on the performance, call Elizabeth Sacheli at 443-3169 or email her at sacheli@middlebury.edu.

 

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