The Iraqi-American musician Amir ElSaffar effortlessly fuses the mysticism of the Iraqi maqam tradition with flamenco and modern jazz. He has already performed with jazz greats like Cecil Taylor, Vijay Iyer, Mark Dresser and Marc Ribot. Together with exponents of the up-and-coming flamenco vanguard like singer Gema Caballero, dancer Vanesa Aibar and percussionist Pablo Martín Jones, trumpeter Amir ElSaffar uses elegant, melodic arabesques to take the flamenco tradition back to the source of the old Arabic maqams. With this ensemble that was created especially for this new festival creation, he merges East and West into a magnificent contemporary world of sound.
“Amir ElSaffar is uniquely poised to reconcile jazz and Arabic music without doing either harm”... ElSaffar’s music is the result of engagement across the board, presented with clarity and eloquence.” - The Wire
Of Vanesa Aibar’s phenomenal Dutch debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Manuel de Falla’s El Amor Brujo, part of 0ur 2016 Intermezzo series, Dutch newspaper Het Parool wrote:
“The dazzling, sensual Spanish dance moves by the charismatic Vanesa Aibar were a real treat and drew all the attention.”