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The blending is beautiful. Simon Shaheen is an essential keeper of the flame of Arabic music, but this native of Palestine is far from content with a single tradition. A virtuoso on the violin and the oud—a stringed instrument central to Middle Eastern music—Shaheen leads Qantara (“Arch” in Arabic) as the band fuses jazz, Western classical, and Latin American music with the sounds of the Arab world. “I want to create a world music exceptionally satisfying to the ear and for the soul,” says Shaheen. With Qantara, he’s done just that....
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