24min | English | Igal Hecht
Al Qahwa Ensemble is Maryem Tollar on vocals, riqq (Arabic tambourine) and qanun (Arabic table harp); Ernie Tollar on wind instruments; Demetri Petsalakis on oud and Naghmeh Fahrahmand on percussion. They perform original compositions, as well as popular traditional Arabic repertoire – from Sufi Devotional Love songs from the Arab World to popular folk songs to classic Egyptian songs made famous by the stars of Egypt (the Hollywood of the Middle East).
The group name Al Qahwa is Arabic for “the coffee house”. It was inspired by the coffee house culture in the Middle East where people would go to hear the latest news, music, poetry, and stories. The repertoire began with traditional songs from Syria, Egypt, and Iraq, and then in 2018, the group started adding original repertoire by members of the band.