Salaam in Chicago April 25-27

CMES and the Center for Arabic Language and Culture have parterned with the award-winning musicians of Salaam to bring the sounds of North African and Middle Eastern music to local Chicago schools. Salaam, formed in 1993, has delighted audiences for years with its expansive repertoire. What sets Salaam apart is the versatility of its musicians, whose deep knowledge of Eastern and Western styles gives them the flexibility to move effortlessly between genres. Iraqi-American band leader Dena El Saffar's compositions are rooted in maqam, the modal system used throughout the Middle East.


Salaam founder and frontwoman Dena El Saffar playing the joza, a traditional Iraqi instrument. Oil on linen.

From April 25 through April 27, Salaam performed for over 1,000 K-12 students at five schools in the Chicago Public Schools system. Salaam also played in the atrium of the Evanston Public Library (EPL) on the evening of April 26, a performance that was free and open to the public. Special thanks to the Middle East and North African Studies Program at Northwestern University for its support of the EPL show. And a very special thanks to Steinmetz College Prep, Sullivan High School, Volta Elementary, Belding Elementary, and Lindblom Math & Science Academy for hosting Salaam.