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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Dhafer Youssef to perform at URI, Sept. 26

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Performance highlight of URI Diversity Week

KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 4, 2008 -- Tunisian-born singer, European-based composer, singer and oud (the Arabic lute) player Dhafer Youssef will perform at the University of Rhode Island Friday, Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. His performance, free and open to the public, will be presented in Edwards Auditorium, 64 Upper College Road, Kingston. Youssef’s visit is courtesy of Pangaea: URI Roots Music Series, which annually brings in cutting edge performers to campus and which draws a large, appreciative audience. The music series is sponsored by URI ‘s Department of Housing and Residential Life and is presented in conjunction with the URI Multicultural Center and the URI Diversity Week programming.

Rooted in Islamic traditions, Youssef’s music connects the ancient and the modern, the East with the West; Third World beats to First World technology. His music has been called “a voice that could stop wars” (Songlines); “hardcore meditation music with a buzzing intensity (Rolling Stone, Germany); and “the kind of gig you watched and prayed would never end, charged with such magic that you knew you would be telling people about it in years to come” (Straight No Chaser).

Youssef creates music rooted in the mystical Sufi tradition, but draws on influences of jazz, electronica, and rock. He has an otherworldly voice that is itself a unique instrument. Starting as a low, husky rumble and growing into a perfect upper-register operatic note, his voice maintains clarity and control. This will be his first appearance in Rhode Island.

Guitarist Nguyên Lê and percussionist Satoshi Takeishi will join Youssef on the URI stage. Lê, born in Paris to Vietnamese parents, embodies the exotic multicultural mosaic that fuels the vibrant jazz and world music scenes flourishing in the French capital. He draws upon rock, funk and jazz as well as traditional Algerian, Indian, and Vietnamese styles. Drummer, percussionist, and arranger Takeishi was born in Japan and studied music at Berklee College of Music in Boston. While there, he developed an interest in South American music, spending four years in Colombia. He expanded his interest to rhythms and melodies of the Middle East. He has performed and recorded with a number of musicians.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Plan to arrive early for good seating. For more information, call Michael LaPointe at 401-837-3921.