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Traditional Turkish and Arabic music by way of Halifax.

click to enlarge feature_nafas.jpg

Cape Breton-born Daniel MacNeil couldn't think of a better fit for his band, Nafas, than the Halifax Jazz Festival. Just like in the jazz genre, improvisation is a big part of Nafas' traditional Arabic/Turkish music.

"It's actually obligatory in Arabic and Turkish music to improvise, you're not allowed to play the music without improvising," says MacNeil. "If you're performing in a Middle Eastern ensemble and you don't improvise, it's a huge no-no."

MacNeil was drawn to Middle Eastern music as a kid and was inspired to delve deeper into the style. Along with sharing his enjoyment of the genre, MacNeil saw a need to bring this style of music to local audiences. "There is no group here that performs this music authentically," says MacNeil.

Along with bringing a mix of well-known traditional and contemporary Arabic and Turkish music played on traditional instruments like the oud and dumbek, Nafas (MacNeil, Gina Burgess, Adam Fine and Ian MacMillan) will be accompanied by bellydancers Laura Selenzi and Monique Ryan.

MacNeil is excited to play for a home province crowd. "Energetically, [hometown crowds] tend to be more supportive of you right off the get go, regardless. They are there to support you."

Thursday, July 10 at 12pm
Festival Tent

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