Gig Review:
Different Points on the Same Line: A Musical Dialogue
Feat. Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers with Special Guest George Youssef Samaan
Purcell Room, South Bank Centre, London SE1
Sunday, 28th November 2004, 8pm

Different Points on the Same Line: A Musical Dialogue

Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers with

Special Guest George Youssef Samaan

Presented by
Jewish Music Institute SOAS, as part of the

Musical Dialogues of East and West
day of events at the South Bank Centre
In co-operation with the JMI Forum for Israeli Music
Supported by the Jewish Chronicle

Purcell Room

South Bank Centre
London SE1
Sunday, 28th November 2004, 8pm


George Youssef Samaan - composer, vocals, Arabic violin, oud, saz
Daphna Sadeh - composer, arranger, double bass
Stewart Curtis - saxophones, clarinet, flutes
Koby Israelite - accordion
Nim Schwartz - oud
Paul Clarvis - Middle Eastern percussion


  1. Middle Eastern Tango ( D. Sadeh)
  2. Ya Bala (Do Dear Do) [Arabic] (Rahbani Bros.)
  3. Roses of Evening [Hebrew] (Y. Hadar)
  4. Out of Border (D. Sadeh)
  5. Heyla Ya Wassa [Arabic] (Rahbani Bros.)
  6. Debka (based on trad. Bedouin dance)


  7. The Voyager Song (based on trad. Jewish Tajik melody)
  8. Kahla [Arabic] (Rahbani Bros.)
  9. Ola (G. Samaan)
10. Abdo and Randoura [Arabic] (Trad.)
11. Paradise (D. Sadeh)
12. Sparkle of Love [Hebrew and Arabic] (E. Banai)
13. Night Train To The East (D. Sadeh)

All arrangements by D. Sadeh

Date of Review: 2004/11/30

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Different Points on the Same Line: A Musical Dialogue

Different Points on the Same Line: A Musical Dialogue was presented by the Jewish Music Institute as part of their day-long series of events at the South Bank Centre under the overall umbrella title Musical Dialogues of East and West. It marked a welcome return to the Purcell Room by Daphna Sadeh and the Voyagers, this time with their very special guest, renowned Israeli-Arab composer and musician George Youssef Samaan.

Sadeh and Samaan go back a long way. Indeed, it was Samaan who first inducted Sadeh into the rich world of Arabic music, and they have remained close friends and collaborators ever since.

And just as Sadeh and Samaan may be seen as representing two cultures in conflict coming together through the shared passion of music, and a music that really has many commonalities between the two cultures at that, so this concert transcends this whole artificial construct of "two cultures in conflict", creating harmony through cross-cultural musical dialogue. Sadeh and Samaan, Jewish and Arabic culture, indeed are but different points on the same line. As always, in the final analysis, commonalities always outweigh the differences between two cultures, two peoples, or two people. The things we share should bind us, and we should come together to celebrate our differences. This then essentially is what this concert was all about, and is what Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers and George Youssef Samaan and their music have always been about.

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Sadly, it wasn't possible to illustrate this review with photographs as on the one hand my attendance of this concert was very much a last minute arrangement, and on the other health issues would have precluded this and indeed were also at the root of the former.

Different Points on the Same Line: A Musical Dialogue followed a Jewish Music Institute reception in the foyer of the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The intimate Purcell Room was already almost filled to capacity by the time I got away from this.

Soon, Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers and George Youssef Samaan came on stage to delight us with their superlative performance. The programme was a mix of familiar Daphna Sadeh material, mostly originals, and and a variety of Arabic and Hebrew songs and Arabic instrumental pieces, including an original by George Youssef Samaan, Ola, in the second half.

Among the Sadeh material there were such favourites as Middle Eastern Tango, Debka, The Voyager Song, and Night Train To The East. The Arabic material included songs by the famed Rahbani Brothers. And of course, there was a song by one of Israel's leading singer-songwriters, Ehud Banai, Sparkle of Love, in both Hebrew and Arabic.

What followed can only be described as an evening of sheer enchantment.

As always, Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers were on sparkling form with heir usual fireworks-like soloing as well as ensemble playing, joined by the outstanding George Youssef Samaan, whose oud, Arabic violin and vocals particularly excelled. As at home singing in Arabic as in Hebrew, Samaan's sensitive vocals were the perfect complement to the Voyagers. And vice versa. Samaan was just sensational.

Daphna Sadeh herself was as brilliant as ever, shining as the great anchor and facilitator for the rest of the ensemble as well as delivering some impressive soloing. Among the younger generations, few, very few bassists are her equals. And demonstrating why he is one of the very finest multi-woodwind players around on the UK scene today was Stewart Curtis, with equally sparkling performances on sax, clarinet and flute as usual and some very fine soloing too.

Koby Israelite on accordion and Nim Schwartz on oud were not to be outdone, either. Both produced their usual fine performances and soloing. Renowned percussion ace Paul Clarvis, perhaps best known for his work with Belinda Sykes and Joglaresa, fitted in as smoothly as hand in glove and produced some real fireworks.

During the interval, I caught up with Sadeh and her fellow Voyagers and Samaan. As fine a musician George Youssef Samaan is, so he is as a human being. Simply one of the warmest, friendliest of men you could wish to meet. Sadly, direct communication on a verbal level proved difficult, as what little Arabic I picked up in younger years has long gone AWOL and my Hebrew is still little better.

The second set by Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers with George Youssef Samaan continued in the same exalted and enchanting tone set by the first. Samaan particularly nearly brought the house down with his rendition in Hebrew and Arabic of Ehud Banai's Sparkle of Love. How do you follow something like that? Only by closing the programme with the exuberant Daphna Sadeh composition Night Train To The East! Anything else might have been an anti-climax.

Sparks flew and sparkled, and Daphna Sadeh and the Voyagers with special guest George Youssef Samaan had concluded another brilliant and utterly enchanting as well as highly successful performance. If only it didn't have to end!

© 2004-2009 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.

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