Art Co-Op

Am I an eternal optimist or does it seem as though stories like this one, of artistic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs, are becoming more common these days? A welcome trend, for sure:

The Palestinians and the Israelis get about equal stage time in Ms. Muskal’s version of “The Yellow Wind.” The piece features the vocalists Keren Hadar and Mira Awad singing in Hebrew and Arabic, and work by the Israeli poets Shaul Tchernichovsky, Natan Alterman and Natan Yonatan. The Arab poet Mahmoud Darwish’s “I Am From There,” featured in the composition, says: “I have learned and dismantled all the words in order to draw from them a single word: home.”

Brian Lehrer, the WNYC radio moderator and talk show host, will be the narrator.

Ms. Muskal took lessons in Arabic music and learned enough Arabic to set the words to music fluently.

Bassam Saba, a Long Island-based musician who plays the nay, an Arab flute, is onstage the whole time. He helped familiarize Ms. Muskal with Arabic music. “I saw how she thinks to force these two cultures together, composition-wise,” he said.

“It follows all the discovery and connections between people on earth now,” Mr. Saba continued. “People are looking for each other more. It represents this kind of cultural communication. For me, it was important to look for this marriage, coming from the Middle East.”

On a related note, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which emerged out of a cooperation between Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim, is still active and will tour again this summer.

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