Feb 27 and Mar 2: The Narcicyst

Fall 2014: Concert Series and Residency

Registration Open for Al-Bustan Camp 2014

Thanks for Supporting Al-Bustan’s 2013 Year-End Matching Challenge!

We are pleased to have met our matching challenge goal and welcome more friends you want to support our efforts!

Guest Vocalist Rima Khcheich with Wilmington Children's Chorus and Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble - March 23, 2013

as of January 4, 2014 $10,875 contributed by 58 supporters
$0 needed to reach $10,000 goal by Dec 31


In every way, our interactions with Hanna and Hafez will always be remembered. I loved how they taught us about their culture and music…The rehearsal and concert with Rima Khcheich was AMAZING. A once in a life time experience! – a member of Wilmington Children’s Chorus

Gorgeous, touching singing by a Lebanese diva [Rima Khcheich] backed up by a superb takht ensemble we get to call our own here in Philly and a 70+ voices choir from Wilmington – young people whose charm is as lovely as their voices! – Susan Frank, Center City resident, concert series subscriber, supporter, and member of community ensemble

The above comments highlight the impact of Al-Bustan’s music education and presenting programs:

Youth of diverse backgrounds immersed in Arab arts and culture for the first time, learning to sing in Arabic, and perfecting their skills to perform with an internationally renowned vocalist. And community residents embracing Arab culture as regular audience members and eager students of music.

We are fortunate to have worked over the year with highly dedicated artists, educators, designers and staff who have enabled us to offer an array of creative enriching programs for youth and adults.

As the year draws to an end, we invite you to make a donation to affirm your commitment to our work in the community and to help us move forward into the New Year.

We are grateful to a donor who has generously pledged a challenge donation of $10,000 if we are able to match this amount! This means a donation from you in the amount of $100 will be automatically doubled to $200. In order to receive this challenge donation and allow us to raise $20,000, we need to match it by December 31, 2013.

Please make your tax-deductible gift today!

Your support will ensure that Al-Bustan continues to make a difference in the lives of students, educators, families, and lovers of culture from all ethnic backgrounds by:

  • fostering cross-cultural exchanges across diverse socio-economic, ethnic, and religious communities
  • bringing together internationally acclaimed artists with students in workshops and residencies
  • utilizing multi-disciplinary approaches to encourage creative self-expression and critical thinking
  • engaging educators and acclaimed Arab artists in developing cutting edge cultural resources

We invite you to watch the many videos on our YouTube channel to see the results of our programs, browse the “Our News” and “Music News” sections of our website, read the moving reflections by our staff and friends on Al-Bustan Blog, and engage with us more regularly via Facebook.

Then help us sustain our efforts and invest in our mission to grow the seeds of Arab arts and culture! We’re excited to bring you engaging public programs in 2014…from hip hop artist The Narcycist, poet Naomi Shihab Nye, Egyptian musician Fathy Salama, and Iranian musician Mohsen Namjoo, to the premiere of Marcel Khalife’s “Chants of the East.”

Please help us meet this challenge! If you prefer to mail in your contribution, please use this Donation Form.

Thank you for your support!

Jan 2014: Join the Philadelphia Arab Music Ensemble

Dec 15: Remembering Palestine with Shawqi Kassis

Nov-Dec: Experiencing Palestine through Cuisine, Stories, Music

Al-Bustan is pleased to present THREE events this winter featuring Palestinian cuisine, stories, and music.

PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS HERE! Limited spaces available for cooking demos!

Saturday Nov 23: 11am – 1pm

with Laila El- Haddad, co-author of Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey

- Enjoy a demo and tasting of starter (lentil soup), seafood (shrimp in clay pot), and dessert (date cookies) featured in the book. Participants will also get a list of local stores to purchase ingredients from and Arabic/English vocabulary related to the cuisine demonstrated.

“An important book on an egregiously under-appreciated, under-reported area of gastronomy. This is old school in the best possible meaning of the term.” – Anthony Bourdain

Laila El-Haddad, co-author with Maggie Schmitt of Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey, and author of Gaza Mom: Palestine, Politics, Parenting, and Everything in Between, is a blogger, political analyst, social activist, and parent-of-three from Gaza. Through her work she provides rare insight into the human experience of the region. She presently lives in Maryland.

Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprises
310 South 48th Street, Philadelphia
Admission: $55/person – advance payment required
- Last day to purchase tickets is by end of Thursday, Nov 21

Co-sponsored by American Friends Service Committee

Watch video clip of Anthony Bourdain having a traditional dish in Gaza, with Laila El-Haddad as his guide.

Sunday Dec 15: 7:30pm

Reading by author Shawqi Kassis
Music by Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble and Philadelphia Arab Music Ensemble

A musical and literary evening opens with the Philadelphia Arab Music Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble, followed by author Shawqi Kassis reading excerpts from his book accompanied by Al-Bustan’s Resident Takht Ensemble.

Born in Haifa, Shawqi Kassis grew up in the village of Rama and came to the US at the age of 32 after receiving his Ph.D. in Microbiology from Tel-Aviv University. He worked as a Senior Investigator/Lab Chief in Discovery Research and Research & Development at Glaxo SmithKline. After a productive accomplished career, Kassis dedicated himself upon retirement to his passion, the Arabic language, both through teaching and writing. In 2003, he founded and taught at the Arabic and Hebrew language programs at Drexel University. Currently, Kassis is a writer working on several literary projects, the first of which is the historical fiction book he published last year, loosely based on his life growing up in Palestine-Israel, “Haifa is Not Cordoba.” Read recent interview with Kassis on Al-Bustan’s blog.

Trinity Center for Urban Life
22nd & Spruce St, Philadelphia
Admission: $20/person - suggested donation

Co-sponsored by UPenn’s Middle East Center
The Philadelphia Arab Music Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble are supported by UPenn’s Department of Music and Greenfield Intercultural Center

Postponed till February 22, 2014 11am – 1pm

with Anan Zahr – chef and community activist

- Enjoy a demo and tasting of Palestinian appetizers (chopped salad), the quintessential Palestinian dish “msakhan” – chicken with sumak and onions served with freshly baked bread, and ending with a dessert “namura”. Participants will get recipes along with a list of local stores to purchase ingredients from.

Born in Akka, Anan Jardali Zahr is an Arab Palestinian American living in the US since the age of 11. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley’s Department of Near Eastern Studies and attended Graduate School at West Chester University in the Department of Education. Anan has worked as an Arabic Language Instructor and owned and operated a Mediterranean restaurant in Wilmington, DE for five years. As a long-time resident of the Philadelphia area, Anan is a dedicated community activist involved with a number of national and local organizations.

Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprises
310 South 48th Street, Philadelphia
Admission: $55/person - advance payment required

Limited spaces available!

Nov 2: Revisiting Hybridity

Oct 5: Music & Poetry Inspired by Federico Garcia Lorca

Arab Music Concert Series: Fall 2013