Zekkereya El-magharbel

Lampo Annex

Monadnock Building
53 West Jackson Boulevard #1656
Chicago, Illinois 60604

Zekkereya El-magharbel celebrates the psychology of harmonic theory found across the Islamic world, with a new boundary-pushing performance designed for small audiences in the 10 x 20-foot Lampo office.

Songs Through Space brings the vulnerability required to learn and perform Arabic Maqamat to the foreground in a series of eight intimate solo trombone concerts.

Maqam, a microtonal tuning system prevalent in North Africa, Western Asia, and Central Asia, contains diverse regional variations, all marked by the practice of modulating from one sound to another. The scales within Maqam are defined by their feeling, and mastering them demands an understanding of their emotional cores.

“To learn the Maqamat, the melodies need to be received,” explains El-magharbel. “The heart must be open and soft to become imprinted by each distinctive figure.”

The dressed down nature of Songs Through Space makes the sound more tactile and conversational, reflecting the way these melodic patterns are learned through social exchange.

Tonight El-magharbel performs from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Each 20-minute performance is for just four people and is named after a different Maqam—Rast, Nahawand, Ajam, Saba, Hijaz, Sikah, Kurd, Bayati.

Zekkereya El-magharbel (b.1995, Philadelphia, Pa.) is a trombonist, composer, and visual artist based in Detroit. Their current practice explores North African Maqam and adjacent Afro-Arab sonic histories.

In addition to their solo practice, they are a member of the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra in Los Angeles, tombstar (with eddy kwon, Isabel Crespo Pardo and Lesley Mok), and Wendy Eisenberg’s Eye Music. They have worked with various artists, including Angel Bat Dawid, Tyshawn Sorey, Corey Smythe, Jaimie Branch, Steve Lehman, George Lewis, Li Harris, and members of the International Contemporary Ensemble. El-magharbel has performed at Roulette, Brooklyn; the Bang on a Can Music Series at the Noguchi Museum, New York; Black Science Fiction at National Sawdust, Brooklyn, and other venues, and has lectured at Lehman College for Jazz at Lincoln Center. Recent recordings include Daytimes / Nighttimes (Dinzu Artefacts).

Zekkereya El-magharbel’s Songs Through Space is part of an occasional series of commissioned works designed for small audiences in the Lampo office.