No story about immigrants’ influence within a place is complete without looking at how their arts and culture affect and are affected by the place they’re living in. On Sunday, April 13, Lebanese musicians Naji Hilal and Christopher Saleh combine their considerable musical talents in a unique program highlighting Lebanese culture in North Carolina. This concert coincides with the NC Museum of History’s ongoing exhibit Cedars in the Pines, which showcases the history and contributions of Lebanese immigrants who have made North Carolina their home since the 1880s. This compelling exhibit also highlights the diverse experiences of Lebanese Americans in the state. Cedars in the Pines will run through Aug. 31, 2014, and admission is free.
This concert is FREE and open to the public, but free tickets are required, and distribution begins on a first-come, first-serve basis at 2 p.m. Come early to see the exhibit, get your ticket, and learn about the many contributions of Lebanese immigrants to life in NC! This concert is sponsored in part by the Khayrallah Program for Lebanese-American Studies at NC State.
Naji Hilal was born in Lebanon to a musically gifted family. Growing up, Hilal was exposed to the fine arts of Lebanese traditional and classical music, mastering the oud while playing with local Lebanese bands. The musically versatile Hilal also plays the viola, nay (a Middle Eastern flute), guitar, accordion, and various percussive instruments. He is also a singer and composer. Hilal produced Intizar, a contemporary Middle Eastern music album, and Taqaseem, an oud improvisation album, and he is currently working on an inspirational meditation music album and an American/Arabic fusion belly dance song. In the early 1990s, he wrote a fun song about the world wide web, titled WWW – take a listen! (YouTube link)
In 2012, Hilal composed Arabic music that was featured in Arabian Nights, which was performed in Thompson Theater at North Carolina State University. This was Hilal’s first attempt to compose Arabic music to English lyrics, which was a step forward in Arabic/American fusion of music.
Christopher D. Saleh is a professional drummer/percussionist, composer, and producer. He started playing drums and piano at the age of 8. He graduated cum laude from Georgia State University in Atlanta with a degree in jazz studies and percussion performance. After graduation, Saleh moved to Los Angeles, where he continued his professional career and ran his production company Boom-Batt Productions from Hollywood at the Wake Up Show Studios through POWER 106 FM. He has toured extensively, performing at such venues as Carnegie Hall, The Moscow Jazz Festival, The Atlanta Jazz Festival, Percussive Arts Society International Convention and The New York JVC Jazz Festival, to name a few. He has recorded, performed, and produced for many artists including Nelly, OutKast, Bobby Valentino, Snoop Dogg, and Mario Winans, as well as for Entertainmant Televesion’s True Hollywood Story series, the Tom Joyner Morning Show, The Steve Harvey Show, and more.
Music of the Carolinas concerts are sponsored by Williams Mullen and the North Carolina Museum of History Associates, and the series is presented in partnership by PineCone-Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, and the North Carolina Museum of History.
Read more about Naji Hilal & Christopher Saleh on PineCone’s website
Learn more about the Music of the Carolinas
Read more about the Cedars in the Pines exhibit
Learn more about the NC Museum of History