Moroccan Countertenor Emil Zrihan Performs for the World Music Institute's 'Around the World, Around the City' Series

By Jaime Prisco on Dec 18, 2014 04:51 PM EST

Vocalist Emil Zrihan will perform for the World Music Institute's standout series Around the World, Around the City at the Peter Norton Symphony Space.

Zrihan’s power and range as a countertenor have earned him the names The Voice of the Mockingbird and The Moroccan NightingaleBorn in Rabat, Morocco, he is now cantor at the main synagogue in Israel's Ashkelon, one of the oldest cities in the world, situated along the Via Maris which joins Egypt and Syria. Accompanied by oud, violin, kanoun and darbouka, Zrihan has used his multi-octave countertenor vocals to inject new life into a rich mixture of Moroccan and Judeo-Andalusian folk music, expressing the emotional intensity of North African religious songs and the vivacity of Andalusian music.

His vocal prowess is demonstrated through his “mawals” — improvisations — and enhanced through his instrumental usage. The upbeat rhythmic tempo with its Mediterranean flavor alternates with passages imbued with the languor of the Orient, a mix which evokes the family gatherings, songs and dances of the Sephardic culture.

With a repertoire that spans his ancestors's Spanish roots, the North African secular music of his youth and Jewish liturgical song, Zrihan, as the Chicago Tribune writes, is “one of the world's towering vocalists.”

Zrihan fits right in with the World Music Institute’s vision. The series offers a venue for some of the global music scene’s most visionary voices, focusing on performers who are moving their musical and cultural traditions into the future with sensitivity and innovation.

The show will take place Jan. 17 at 8 p.m. at the Peter Norton Symphony Space. Tickets for this event are available here.

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TagsMorrocan, Countertenor, Emil Zrihan, World Music Institutes, Around the World Around the City

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