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"Night of Music from Aleppo" draws an audience of over 500

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

Yousef Shamoun performed a program of traditional Aleppine songs on campus Monday night, accompanied by the NY-based Tarab Ensemble.

Saphe Shamoun, GS ’17, took to the stage in front of a sold-out Roone Arledge Auditorium on Monday night, beaming at the cheers and waving hands that rose from the seats.

He handed the mic to his brother, renowned Syrian vocalist Yousef Shamoun, after a brief introduction. As the lights went down and the musicians upstage raised their instruments—the red backlight glinting on Fordham professor Dr. Mohamed A. Alsiadi’s glossy oud—Yousef’s voice expanded and oscillated, climbing a melismatic scale and guiding the musicians through the first crescendo.

Over 550 listeners—among them many Columbia students, but also hundreds of community members—gathered to enjoy a program of traditional Arabic songs, particularly from Aleppine composers, organized by Columbia’s Students Organize for Syria chapter. Yousef’s name is well-known in the world of classical Arabic music, as is the NYC-based Tarab Ensemble that accompanied him.