Different Points on the Same Line: A Musical Dialogue was presented by the Jewish Music Institute as part of their day-long series of events at the South Bank Centre under the overall umbrella title Musical Dialogues of East and West. It marked a welcome return to the Purcell Room by Daphna Sadeh and the Voyagers, this time with their very special guest, renowned Israeli-Arab composer and musician George Youssef Samaan.
Sadeh and Samaan go back a long way. Indeed, it was Samaan who first inducted Sadeh into the rich world of Arabic music, and they have remained close friends and collaborators ever since.
And just as Sadeh and Samaan may be seen as representing two cultures in conflict coming together through the shared passion of music, and a music that really has many commonalities between the two cultures at that, so this concert transcends this whole artificial construct of "two cultures in conflict", creating harmony through cross-cultural musical dialogue. Sadeh and Samaan, Jewish and Arabic culture, indeed are but different points on the same line. As always, in the final analysis, commonalities always outweigh the differences between two cultures, two peoples, or two people. The things we share should bind us, and we should come together to celebrate our differences. This then essentially is what this concert was all about, and is what Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers and George Youssef Samaan and their music have always been about.
Sadly, it wasn't possible to illustrate this review with photographs as on the one hand my attendance of this concert was very much a last minute arrangement, and on the other health issues would have precluded this and indeed were also at the root of the former.
Different Points on the Same Line: A Musical Dialogue followed a Jewish Music Institute reception in the foyer of the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The intimate Purcell Room was already almost filled to capacity by the time I got away from this.
Soon, Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers and George Youssef Samaan came on stage to delight us with their superlative performance. The programme was a mix of familiar Daphna Sadeh material, mostly originals, and and a variety of Arabic and Hebrew songs and Arabic instrumental pieces, including an original by George Youssef Samaan, Ola, in the second half.
Among the Sadeh material there were such favourites as Middle Eastern Tango, Debka, The Voyager Song, and Night Train To The East. The Arabic material included songs by the famed Rahbani Brothers. And of course, there was a song by one of Israel's leading singer-songwriters, Ehud Banai, Sparkle of Love, in both Hebrew and Arabic.
What followed can only be described as an evening of sheer enchantment.