Yair Dalal:
WHEN: Saturday, November 4, 2006 at 7:30 PM

WHERE: Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York City
A unique performance in the four-day program
Back to Babylon: 2600 Years of Jewish Life in Iraq, November 2-5, 2006,
Exploring the venerable and multifaceted culture of Iraqi Jewry< During the first half of the 20th century, Jews were virtually the only instrumentalists in the Iraqi musical scene. All the musicians from Iraq who attended the first Arabic music congress in Cairo in 1932 were Jewish (but one). With the exile of the Jewish community in the 1950’s, many famous Iraqi Jewish musicians immigrated to Israel. Their legacy is still strong today, both in the preservation of the traditional Iraqi Maqam, and in its influence on contemporary Israeli music.

Yair Dalal’s musical program retraces the steps of the great Babylonian
musical heritage thorough the sacred songs rooted in the Iraqi Jewish
tradition. It will include traditional Sabbath Zemirot, pieces from the
Shevahot repertoire (songs of praise performed at communal gatherings),
and instrumental classics by Iraqi-Jewish composers like Salah and Daud

Born in 1955, composer, violinist and oud player Yair Dalal is one of
the most prolific Israeli ethnic musicians today. Over the last decade
he released nine albums, covering wide and varied cultural territories.
His work reflects the strong affinity he has for the desert and its
habitants. Dalal’s family came to Israel from Baghdad and he has
included a host of Iraqi traditional musical sources in his work.
Whether performing on his own, or with his Alol ensemble, Dalal creates
new Middle Eastern music by interweaving the traditions of Iraqi and
Jewish Arabic music with a range of influences originating from such
diverse cultural milieus as the Balkans and India. Dalal is one of a
handful of artists who preserve and sustain the Babylonian musical
heritage of the wonderful Jewish Iraqi musicians who emigrated from Iraq
to Israel in the 1950s, from whom he learned much of his craft. During
the past years, Dalal has collaborated with top musicians from all over
the globe, from different disciplines, including celebrated western
classical conductor Maestro Zubin Mehta, Jordi Savall and Hesperion XXI,
L.Shankar, Hamza el Din, Michel Bismuth, Ken Zuckerman, Armand Aamar,
Shlomo Mintz, Maurice el Medioni and Mustafa Raza, Cihar Askin,
Ensemble Kaboul, Adel Salameh, The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Kamerata
Jerusalem Orchestra, and more. He participates and lectures in the
Keshet Elyon Violin workshops, ISME – Music Education, European Network
for Traditional Music and Dance, Mendocino Middle East Music Camp, and
the Mediterranean Musical Dialogue in Israel.