News | 13 January 2012

Iraqi-Born Israeli Bringing Jewish Mid-East Music to UCSC


International composer, violinist, oud player, and singer Yair Dalal to present concert and lecture on campus, February 2-3, 2012.

Yair Dalal

Performing music that bridges both Arab and Israeli cultures, Yair Dalal comes to campus Feb. 2 and 3, for both an academic lecture and a public concert, presented by UCSC’s Jewish Studies Program in collaboration with the Music Department.

Living in Conflict” is a recent documentary film about five Israeli Jewish and Palestinian people, who use art, science, music and poetry as a way of surviving conflict in a region full of constant tension, violence, and uncertainty.

One of the individuals featured in that film is Yair Dalal, an Israeli Jew of Iraqi descent, who creates music that bridges both Arab and Israeli cultures.

On February 2 and 3, UCSC’s Jewish Studies Program will bring Dalal to campus for both an academic lecture and a public concert, presented in collaboration with the UCSC Music Department.

The concert will take place on Friday, February 3 at the Music Center Recital Hall, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Dalal will perform with percussionist Dror Sinai—founder of Rhythm Fusion, Inc. in Santa Cruz.

Dalal crafts new Middle Eastern music by interweaving the traditions of Iraqi and Jewish Arabic music with a multitude of cultural influences, ranging from the Balkans to India.

Born in 1955, Dalal’s family came to Israel from Baghdad, and his Iraqi roots are deeply embedded in his music.

Much of Dalal’s work reflects his extensive skills in both classical and Arabic music, and also reflects a strong affinity he has for the desert and its people.

He has recorded 11 albums over the past decade and performed in concerts worldwide—collaborating with top musicians from a variety of disciplines, including celebrated conductor Zubin Mehta, Jordi Savall and Hesperion XXI, L. Shankar, Hamza El Din, Mustafa Raza, Ensemble Kaboul, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Kamerata Jerusalem Orchestra.

Yair DalalThe day before the concert, Dalal will give a guest lecture at UCSC music lecturer Avi Tchamni’s class, Music of the Jews in the Lands of Islam.

“Jewish Studies is delighted to collaborate with the Arts Division in bringing Yair Dalal to Santa Cruz,” noted Murray Baumgarten, co-director of the UCSC Jewish Studies Program.

“His presentation on Thursday and his concert performance on Friday help us to bring a major and very often neglected aspect of Jewish cultural achievement to our students, the university community, and Santa Cruz,” Baumgarten added.

Tickets for Friday’s concert–part of the UCSC Arts Division’s Friday Night Live concert series–are $12 general,
$10 seniors, $8 youth and students w/ ID, available at and at the UCSC Ticket Office, (831) 459-2159.

This event is presented with support from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and the Jewish Studies program at UC Santa Cruz.

For more information, call 831-459-5655.
Written by Scott Rappaport.