Melodies of yesteryear

The Brooklyn Maqam Arab Music Festival, which concluded today, featured local musicians, bands, and dancers presenting Arab music traditions from Egypt, Yemen, Israel, Tunisia, Palestine, Iraq, Morocco, Syria, and Lebanon. “Maqam” is the Arabic word for the patterns that underlie traditional Arab music.

At Barbès in Park Slope on Thursday night, “Oud-off II: All About Oud” drew an overflow crowd. Palestinian oudists George Ziadeh and Zafer Tawil performed songs from Turkey, Morocco, Armenia, and elsewhere.

Obviously, I’m too late to spread the word about this festival. There are, however, many other opportunities in New York to hear traditional music of various cultures. I plan to put up a calendar of these events, but until then, here are a few:

  • The Museum at Eldridge Street’s Lost and Found Music Program presents concerts of music enjoyed by the synagogue’s parishioners a century ago. April 9: Music from Yiddish Celluloid. Metropolitan Klezmer performs imaginative arrangements of elements from Yiddish movie soundtracks. 7 pm, Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge St, Manhattan; $15.
  • The first Sunday of every month, The New York Packet performs maritime and immigration songs at the South Street Seaport Museum. April 6: With special guest David Jones: From London’s Isle of Dogs, Jones is the quintessential singer of sea ballads and music hall ditties. 3-5 pm, Melville Gallery at South Street Seaport Museum, 213 Water St, Manhattan. Donation is $5 (children $3); purchase tickets at 12 Fulton St.
  • April 12: The Seamen’s Church Institute and the Folk Music Society of New York present a sea chantey sing-along. 8-11 pm, Seamen’s Church Institute, 241 Water St, Manhattan. Bring instruments, voices, and songs. A small donation is requested.
  • May 8: Finnish, Estonian classical. Scandinavia House presents: Finnish cellist Jussi Makkonen and Estonian pianist Rait Karm will perform rarely heard Estonian music by composers Arvo Pärt, Heino Eller, and Artur Lemba along with well-known works by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, most notably his best pieces for violoncello and piano. 7:30 pm, 58 Park Ave, Manhattan, $15; students free.

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