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October 6, 2004

Nadeem Dlaikan to Perform Arabic Music on Oct. 20 at the Library of Congress

Nadeem Dlaikan and his Arabic Music Ensemble from Detroit will present a noontime concert on Oct. 20 in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. The concert is a part of the American Folklife Center's concert series, "Homegrown 2004: The Music of America."

The Homegrown concert series presents the very best of traditional music and dance from a variety of folk cultures thriving in the United States. The series is co-sponsored by the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and the Folklore Society of Greater Washington. The Nadeem Dlaikan concert is also sponsored by the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C.

Homegrown concerts are held once a month from April through December. The concerts are free of charge and are presented from noon to 1 p.m. The closest Metro stops are Capitol South (blue and orange lines) and Union Station (red line).

Nadeem Dlaikan, a virtuoso nay (reed flute) musician, was honored with the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2002 and the Michigan Heritage Award in 1994. As a leader of Arab musicians and one of the primary forces in maintaining a thriving local and national Arab music scene, Dlaikan has greatly influenced the shape of musical life in Arab America.

Greater Detroit is home to the largest, most concentrated Arabic-speaking population in the United States. It represents some 12 nations; Shia, Sunni and Druze Muslims; and different Christian denominations. Despite the diversity of this population, they constitute a coherent community that supports several groups of musicians. Nadeem Dlaikan plays with all of these groups.

Born in 1941 in Alye, Lebanon, a mountain resort community close to Beirut, Dlaikan's first contact with the nay occurred when his brother brought one home. He found reed growing locally, made a copy of his brother's nay and taught himself to play. His parents disapproved of their son's obsession with the instrument because of its popular association with shepherds, but he persisted and, when Lebanon's foremost flutist Naim Bitar was featured on national television, his parents relented. Dlaikan then enrolled in the National Conservatory of Music.

After graduation Dlaikan moved to Beirut to begin his career as a professional musician. He played for Lebanon's folk dance ensemble and toured the Middle East. While playing at the United States Embassy for a July Fourth celebration, a staff member was impressed by the nay and urged Dlaikan to go to the United States. In 1969 Dlaikan accompanied Samir Tawfik, a popular Lebanese singer, to New York. After a year and a half in New York City, Dlaikan moved to Detroit.

As a premier craftsman, Dlaikan also makes and repairs flutes for himself, his students and other nay players who have immigrated to the United States and Canada. He grows reed in his backyard from which he makes mijwiz (double reed), munjarah (five hole, single reed), the nay (nine hole, single reed) and, on occasion, the oboe-like mizmar. Arabic music with its half and quarter tones has more keys than Western music; therefore, Nadeem travels with a briefcase containing 12 different flutes, each in one key, that together cover the entire scale.

Dlaikan plays a leading role in bringing Arabic music to new audiences while continuing to perform for appreciative Arab audiences. At the Library of Congress, he will be appearing with the Dearborn Traditional Ensemble.

Homegrown 2004: The Music of America Concert Series

Nov. 17: American Indian Music and Dance Troupe from Oklahoma
Co-sponsored with the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian
At noon in the Coolidge Auditorium

Dec. 8: Jerry Grcevich with Tamburitza Orchestra from Pennsylvania
At noon in the Coolidge Auditorium

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to "preserve and present American folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. The center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in the Library in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world. For more information, visit the center's Web site at www.loc.gov/folklife/.

Part of the Kennedy Center's Performing Arts for Everyone initiative, the Millennium Stage helps fulfill the center's mission to make performing arts widely accessible. The Millennium Stage introduces the performing arts to the local community and to millions of people who visit the center each year. These free, 6 p.m. performances are offered 365 days a year. Tickets are never required and daily broadcasts of Millennium Stage concerts are available on the Internet. For a schedule and information on how to access the broadcasts, visit the Kennedy Center Web site at http://kennedy-center.org.

The Folklore Society of Greater Washington was founded in 1964 to further the understanding, investigation, appreciation and performance of the traditional folk music and folklore of the American people. The society presents more than 200 folk events in the Washington area each year.

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PR 04-173
10/06/04
ISSN 0731-3527

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