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A Love Of Arabic Music Brings Western Massachusetts Ensemble To Life

Members of the Pioneer Valley Arabic Music Ensemble, rehearsing in Northampton, Massachusetts. Photo by Jill Kaufman for NEPR

Members of the Pioneer Valley Arabic Music Ensemble, rehearsing in Northampton, Massachusetts. Photo by Jill Kaufman for NEPR

The startup of the Pioneer Valley Arabic Music Ensemble was mentioned in an announcement a few months ago in a western Massachusetts newspaper. No audition was necessary — just an interest, an instrument and a willingness to be directed.

Arabic music is traditionally played in a small ensemble, or a takht. A group might include a singer, someone on percussion, and musicians on traditional Middle Eastern instruments, like the oud, the qanun and the nay.

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