Simon Shaheen will blend Arab music of Al-Andalus with the art of flamenco in Zafir: Musical Winds from North Africa to Andalucia on Saturday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m., in the Fine and Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $30 for the general public and $25 for seniors and students.

Shaheen’s program renews a relationship that began more than a thousand years ago. It reveals the commonalities of a music born in cultural centers of Iraq and Syria, blew like the wind (zafir) across the waters of the Mediterranean to Al-Andalus, blended with elements of Spanish music, and was brought back across the sea to North Africa where it flourished in the cities of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

The aim of both Arab classical music and flamenco is to achieve a heightened state of emotion, a feeling of ecstasy, known by the Arab musicians as tarab and by flamenco performers and enthusiasts as duende. This transcendent feeling is essential to both traditions.

This group of performers features the Al Qantara Ensemble, a core of musicians steeped in the art of Arab music led by virtuoso performer and composer, Simon Shaheen. He is one of the most significant Arab musicians, performers and composers of his generation, reflecting a legacy of Arabic music and forging ahead to new frontiers. He teaches at Berklee College of Music and is a recipient of the Heritage Award from the National Endowment of the Arts.

The group is joined by the internationally acclaimed Tunisian singer, Sonia M’Barek; flamenco vocalist/guitarist/pianist, Juan Pérez Rodríguez, and Auxi Fernandez, a young fiery dancer who complements the music with her sinuous arm movements and explosive footwork.

Tickets to Zafir: Musical Winds from North Africa to Andalucia and other upcoming performances can be purchased at, by calling (708) 974-5500, or at the Box Office located on the south end of the Fine and Performing Arts Center.


For news media inquiries, call Jessica Crotty, College and Community Relations coordinator, at (708) 974-5281, or e-mail her at