We love our superheroes because they refuse to give up on us. We can analyze them out of existence, kill them, ban them, mock them, and still they return, patiently reminding us of who we are and what we wish we could be.
Because it all derived from Superman. I mean, I love all the characters, but Superman is just this perfect human pop-culture distillation of a really basic idea. He’s a good guy. He loves us. He will not stop in defending us. How beautiful is that? He’s like a sci-fi Jesus. He’ll never let you down. And only in fiction can that guy actually exist, because real guys will always let you down one way or another. We actually made up an idea that beautiful. That’s just cool to me. We made a little paper universe where all of the above is true.
Only nothing is impossible.
From the Program Notes:
“Even outside its mythic origins, the soulful sound of the oud was thought to possess medicinal properties. In the 9th century, the jurist Miwardi extolled its use in treating illness. “The oud invigorates the body. It places the temperament in equilibrium. It is a remedy… It calms and revives hearts.” Its sound is the voice of the soul- mellow yet profound, longing for love yet resigned to loneliness. It is said that the soul at first railed against the imprisonment of the body- it was only through the music of the oud that it could be coaxed back and reside in peace. Similarly, when the heart is unfeeling or burdened in bondage, the oud helps to wake it and shake off the slumber of apathy.”
The cry for freedom expressed during the Arab Spring resonates with similar awakenings throughout human history. Arabic melodies find their counterpart in African-American folk music, and Mozart himself told a tale of freedom from bondage in his Turkish-inflected Seraglio. Together, they speak to the eternal quest for liberty shared across the globe.
Internationally acclaimed oud virtuoso Simon Shaheen infuses his mastery of Arabic music into the Western classical form with a touch of jazz in the Chicago premiere of his Oud Concerto. Our Arab Spring concert pairs that with African-American composer William Levi Dawson, who similarly infused his Negro Folk Symphony with spirituals and other native forms. Mozart completes the picture.
Friday April 19 at 7:30PM
Harris Theater, Chicago – buy tickets
Saturday April 20 at 8:00PM
Wentz Concert Hall, Naperville – buy tickets
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Abduction from the Seraglio (Overture)
Simon Shaheen: Oud Concerto in C Minor
William Levi Dawson: Negro Folk Symphony
Mei-Ann Chen, Music Director and Conductor
Simon Shaheen, oud
The only thing that made me, or any of us, special was that no one in the whole of history would ever see the universe exactly the same way any other of us saw it.
New Article/Social Commentary/Review up at Arte y Vida Chicago:
“For the past ten years, the United States has been engaged in two major wars. The above statistics are casualty figures in those wars. The first war is well known. It is the media on a daily basis, causing national and global protests for something to be done. Featured in Presidential elections and debates, Congressional hearings and political campaigns, the first war gets people elected—or kicked out of office…
In contrast, the second war is nearly invisible. And it’s a war we are losing. Over the last ten years, nearly 5,500 people have been killed, more than doubling the casualties in the first war (whose own horrific total is roughly 2,086). In the last year alone, we have lost more than 500 lives, 200 more than the first war. Alongside that horrible violence are businesses and communities, families and neighbors living in poverty, crippled by one economic crisis after another. And yet, there are no national campaigns to find a way to end the violence, to end the bloodshed, to rebuild the community. Only recently—due to a combination of tragic deaths and a small, dedicated group of courageous people crying out for help—has it entered the national consciousness….
The first war is in Afghanistan. The second is the War of Chicago. More Americans have died since 2002 due to violence in Chicago (5,489) than in Afghanistan (2,086) or the Iraq War (4,486). To be plain, it’s not hyperbole to call the violence erupting daily in Chicago a war…”
Read More at:
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
“A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.”