When Paths Meet

Sami Yusuf, Amsterdams Andalusisch Orkest, Cappella Amsterdam

A boundless celebration of music from the heart

Internationally renowned composer, vocalist and musician Sami Yusuf sings in multiple languages and explores various cultures because, as he says, ‘People all over the world are looking for connection, and music makes that connection on the most profound level.’

The British musician with Azeri roots is called a mega-star by the likes of the BBC and Time Magazine. With a preference for Sufi music, Yusuf is in full command of a range from deeply meditative melodies to pulsating energetic rhythms. His compositions are inspired by traditional music and mystical poetry.

A boundless celebration of music from the heart

Internationally renowned composer, vocalist and musician Sami Yusuf sings in multiple languages and explores various cultures because, as he says, ‘People all over the world are looking for connection, and music makes that connection on the most profound level.’

The British musician with Azeri roots is called a mega-star by the likes of the BBC and Time Magazine. With a preference for Sufi music, Yusuf is in full command of a range from deeply meditative melodies to pulsating energetic rhythms. His compositions are inspired by traditional music and mystical poetry.

For this unique, international project, When Paths Meet, for which he creates new compositions and arrangements, Yusuf and his musicians collaborate with chamber choir Cappella Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra. Yusuf intertwines their traditions, Western classical choral singing and Arabo-Andalusian music, weaving together their distinct traditions in a joint celebration of music across cultural boundaries.

When this concert had to be cancelled in 2020, one song was nevertheless remotely realised with nearly thirty musicians in separate studios. One, which has now been viewed more than 500,000 times online, is a promising preview for this concert. In 2022, all the musicians will finally come together physically.

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dates

Mon June 6 8:30 PM

Prices

  • default from € 25
  • HF Young € 20
  • CJP/student € 20

language & duration

  • English, Turkish, Urdu, Arabic

  • 1 hour 45 minutes

Click here for the lyrics from the performance.

Background

‘I have always perceived a transcendent power in music, a power that can unveil the innermost depths of our humanity. It's how music was always viewed in the wisdom traditions of the past: an awakening, life-affirming essence.’ – Sami Yusuf

It is not easy to capture Sami’s music in a single sentence, as it draws on multiple strands of world traditions. What stands out are his mastery of musical languages, intelligibility and at the same time the sense of mystery to his music. This is a composer who speaks directly from his inner spirituality in a way that reaches an audience of millions.

Click here for the lyrics from the performance.

Background

‘I have always perceived a transcendent power in music, a power that can unveil the innermost depths of our humanity. It's how music was always viewed in the wisdom traditions of the past: an awakening, life-affirming essence.’ – Sami Yusuf

It is not easy to capture Sami’s music in a single sentence, as it draws on multiple strands of world traditions. What stands out are his mastery of musical languages, intelligibility and at the same time the sense of mystery to his music. This is a composer who speaks directly from his inner spirituality in a way that reaches an audience of millions.

Passionate musician

From an early age Sami Yusuf’s career has been driven by his passion ‘to express the subtleties of the human spirit through the power of music’. The internationally renowned British composer and musician Yusuf began developing his craft as a child growing up in London, learning to play several traditional Middle Eastern instruments and exploring the tones and modes of the music they conveyed. To his ability to express himself musically within the classical Arabic / Persian maqam system, in his teens he added a fluency with piano and violin as he immersed himself in Western classical music.

Western and Eastern elements

Yusuf’s genre-defining first album incorporated both Western and Eastern elements, and with its release he quickly gained international recognition. Across all of his works the listener perceives a unifying force arising from Yusuf’s belief that traditions throughout the world are beautiful facets of one underlying reality. In recent years, Yusuf’s music has echoed with sounds from Andalusia to India, and his lyrics reflect the wisdom and beauty of mystical poets. Seamlessly weaving together facets of his Azerbaijani heritage together with his European roots, he seeks to draw deep from within these diverse sources to bring about a re-imagining of traditional music for a contemporary audience.

Collaboration across borders

When Paths Meet is a collaboration between Sami Yusuf and his musicians, Cappella Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra. The latter two also worked together during the programme alBahr - Mare Nostrum, which illustrated the extent to which the various music traditions around the Mediterranean Sea are linked to each other. During this collaboration, a special harmony emerged between the Andalusian repertoire, performed by the Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra's musical director Ahmed El Maai, and the compelling choral music of Cappella Amsterdam. This connection is clearly heard as wel in their collaboration with Sami Yusuf, When Paths Meet.

Preview

In 2020, when the Holland Festival was postponed due to corona restrictions,Sami Yusuf composed, arranged and remotely produced the piece ONE. It is the first of his compositions for When Paths Meet and it is currently available on all streaming platforms. This production was technically very challenging, with nearly thirty musicians performing in separate studios. Despite the physical distance and different cultural backgrounds, all participating musicians made a profound connection through the music.

Jon Etxabe (tenor at Cappella) says of the collaboration with Sami Yusuf: ‘Sometimes, when you start rehearsing for a new project, you can't yet imagine what the end result will be. In this case, that was extreme. It's crazy to realize that we never got together at the time, that we didn't meet live to make the recording. We we're only together in the video, thanks to technology. And yet we're singing to 13th century mystical texts!'

From its enormous popularity in many countries, it is clear how well that digital collaboration has worked out. It is very promising for the actual physical collaboration that is finally coming to the stage in June.

Sami Yusuf on the collaboration with Cappella Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra: ‘It will be a musical dialogue, a sharing of stories whose beautiful sounds may seem unknown or foreign at times, yet are always intimately connected to the deepest levels of our selves.’

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  • © Jasmin Fazlagic (Sami Yusuf)

  • Sami Yusuf

credits

music Sami Yusuf musical direction Sami Yusuf vocals Sami Yusuf, Cappella Amsterdam oud Sami Yusuf, Selim Boyaci tar Sami Yusuf tonbak Sami Yusuf daf Seyyed Mohammad Jaber, Seyyed Pourya Jaberi bendir Seyyed Mohammad Jaber, Seyyed Pourya Jaberi, Ömer Avci dajre Seyyed Mohammad Jaber tanbur Seyyed Pourya Jaberi, Seyed Ali Jaberi dhol Ömer Avci udu Ömer Avci kudüm Ömer Avci ney Eyüpcan Açikpazu saz Hüseyin Can Pala Onur Cicin santoor Mahyar Toreihi orchestra Amsterdams Andalusisch Orkest

This performance is made possible by