Dara Anissi Ensemble slated to perform this weekend

Trio known for traditional, contemporary Middle Eastern music plays Saranac Fire Hall

(Provided photo)

SARANAC — The Dara Anissi Ensemble are scheduled to perform two shows at the Saranac Fire Hall this weekend.

The Dara Anissi Ensemble has deep roots in Middle Eastern culture. Two of its members, Dara Anissi and Martin Shamoonpour, hail originally from Tehran, Iran. The third member, Nikolai Ruskin, originally from San Francisco, has made a lifetime study of Middle Eastern music.

The trio now resides in Ithaca and Brooklyn, New York, both places hotbeds of diverse genres of music and creativity. They have been inspired to create a new body of work which they are eager to share, along with ancient traditional tunes.

The Dara Anissi Ensemble is a group of old friends who have been playing together for years in various incarnations and configurations. All three were part of Journey West, a group performing music from around the Mediterranean Rim, including North Africa and the Middle East, as well as Eastern and Western Europe. Anissi and Ruskin are longtime members of the Middle Eastern music group Souk, while Anissi and Shamoonpour have also played together as a duo. This current trio plays original music written by Anissi, whose influences are drawn from Persian, Arab, and Turkic music, as well as Celtic, classical music and rock. The oud is the featured melodic instrument, accompanied by frame drums (daf and riq) and dumbek, as well as violin and the end-blown flute called the Ney. The pieces are mainly instrumental, taking the listener through stories, moods, and soundscapes. Playing together is an absolute joy for these three, as their deep friendships connect them musically.

The Dara Anissi Ensemble’s two shows, at the Saranac Fire Hall on Route 3 in Saranac, are set for this Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

The fire hall opens 30 minutes prior to the show; admission is $20 at the door. Seating is open and club-style at tables. Tables may be reserved for parties of six or eight. Current public health guidelines will be followed – masking is optional but encouraged. For more information and to reserve a table, call 518-293-7613, email ambrown.hillholl@gmail.com or visit hillandhollowmusic.org.


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