Rivers of Sound Orchestra
Iraqi-American trumpeter, santur player, vocalist, and composer Amir ElSaffar returns to The Soraya — this time with his 17-piece jazz orchestra, the Rivers of Sound. The group’s Middle Eastern-inspired music blends with American jazz for a unique, infectious sound. Elements that traditionally divide musicians are reimagined in a fresh, transcultural soundscape.
Public radio station WBGO recently called the orchestra’s music an “exhilarating wash of sound, layers upon layers, meant to induce a phenomenon commonly known in Iraqi maqam as tarab, a sense of having an out-of-body experience.” It highlights the sounds of oud, buzuq, and santur, and a Persian stringed hammered dulcimer, played by ElSaffar himself. He also weaves in Western classical instruments such as violin, cello, and oboe.