Serious kudos go to MDC Live Arts for what sounds like an extraordinary and thoughtful series of cultural events designed to explore the global diversity of Muslim culture. The Spanish word Ojala means” I wish” or “I hope so” and drives its meaning from the Arabic phrase “insha’Allah or God willing. The promotional brochure explains that the word is a ” reminder of the Moorish impact on the Spanish language and Hispanic identity shared by many of greater Miami’s residents. The objective of the series is to celebrate Muslim and Middle Eastern and North African communities as a valuable part of Miami’s richly diverse culture” with events of all the performing arts by stars in their respective fields. It kicks off Saturday, October 7.
Ojala/Inshallah: Wishes from the Muslim World, includes music stars from everywhere from Pakistan and Iran to Morocco — jazz, classical music, tar and setar, even hip hop; a contemporary all male dance ensemble whose members hail from Algeria and Burkina Faso; performance art by a London/Beirut artist; and a showcase of a work in progress theater/spoken word piece about the effects of war on both US combat veterans and Middle Eastern refugees. The series runs from October 7 through May.
The season kicks off with Layali al Andalus, Andalusian Nights, a celebration and nod to al andalus and Moorish Spain. The National Arab orchestra will be joined by leading flamenco guitarist Jose Luis de la Paz and guest singers. The 24 member ensemble features violins and cellos alongside traditional instruments such as oud, qanan (zither), nay (reed flute) and a percussion section including riqq (Arab tambourine).
Other highlights include:
Sachal Ensemble: Song of Lahore — Cross cultural recreations of classics by Duke Ellington, The Beatles, Dave Brubeck and Henry Mancini as well as traditional Pakistani folk songs (November 4)
Sahba Motallebi – Iranian virtuoso of the tar and setar and ambassador of classical Persian music in the US (January 27)
Cie.herve Koubi -Acclaimed choreographer Herve Koubi makes his Miami debut with a highly physical, fluid work for 12 French Algerian and West African male dancers that combines capoeira, martial arts, urban and contemporary dance (February 10)
Hip Hoppa Locka: Music Hip Hop Night in Opa-Locka –a celebration of Muslim artists in hip hop highlighting female forerunners in particular (April 21).
Events will be held at venues on the Beach, downtown and Opa locka.
Ojala/Inshallah was inspired by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, whose Building Bridges made this project possible. It is offered “with a spirit of hope and with wishes for inclusion, co-existence and mutual understanding”.
For more information and tickets, click here or call 305-237-3010.