Wisaal Performs Arabic-influenced World Music

A Klezmer-influenced clarinet and an American folk mandolin join Arabic instruments, such as oud, percussion and bass, when Wisaal performs. “It’s a terrific group that creates a unique sound,” says Murray Gross. 

Traditional Arabic-influenced world music blends with Western rhythms and harmonic backgrounds when the Mediterranean fusion group Wisaal performs.

Wisaal, an Arabic word, means links, connections or unities, which reflect the group’s attempt to weave together Arabic, Klezmer, Indian and American influences. A Klezmer-influenced clarinet and an American folk mandolin join Arabic instruments, such as oud, percussion and bass.

The group performs at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, in the Remick Heritage Center at Alma College. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors 62 and up, and free for Alma College staff, students and youth 18 and under. Seating is reserved. Call (989) 463-7304 for ticket information.

“The performers in this group bring together various world music elements from different cultures,” says Murray Gross, assistant professor of music at Alma College. “It’s a terrific group that creates a unique sound.”

Based in Lansing, Wisaal aims to increase awareness and appreciation of world music traditions and their cultures through performances and educational workshops.

Members of Wisaal include Igor Houwat, oud; Will Cicola, clarinet; Ben Fuhrman, mandolin; Tim Patterson, bass; Ty Forquer, percussion; and Mike List, percussion. The group’s original compositions and extended improvisations showcase how the diverse traditions can engage in harmonious conversation.

“Wisaal is a musical journey to a world yet to be discovered,” notes Devon Anthony, a member of the board of directors at Art Reach in Mount Pleasant. “The combination of instruments from near and far mesmerize you with every piece … an unforgettable experience leaving you always hungry for more.”

Diane Wilson, creative director of Art Alley, says, “The music is top-notch, creative and inspiring. The members of the group share their raw emotion with the audience in such a way that we all feel like family.”

Wisaal has performed at the Wharton Center, Elderly Instruments, the White Crow Conservatory of Music and the Michigan Historical Museum and has been featured at the Concert of Colors, Arab Fest and the Miami University Global Rhythms Festival.

Story published on September 27, 2013
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