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Little Syria - Salar Ansari - Analog Room

‘And is this the gate of Paradise,or the port of some subterrestrial city guarded by the Jinn? What a marvel of enchantment is everything around us!’ Ameen Rihani, Book of Khalid

For Safina Radio Project, Analog Room‘s Salar Ansari has contributed a piece originally made for FREEWAY, the broadcast program of CULTURUNNERS (a core component of Edge of Arabia’s US Tour in partnership with Art Jameel).


This playlist was compiled in the CULTURUNNERS RV bedroom (FREEWAY Broadcast Hub) as it traveled through what’s left of this little known Lower-Manhattan community.

Dubai based Iranian music composer and co-founder of the Analog Room, Salar, invites us to speculate on sounds and music from Little Syria, a vanished Arabic enclave in New York, which was the centre of Levantine immigrant life from the late 1800s through the 1940s. At this time, Little Syria was the landing point for thousands of immigrants from Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine, a rich cultural enclave that produced dozens of periodicals for the growing diaspora community, recordings of traditional Arabic music, and a literary movement that included Kahlil Gibran, author of The Prophet and Ameen Rihani, author of the first Arab-American novel, Book of Khalid.

The Little Syria project was curated by Ava Ansari and included participation from: Husam Al-Sayed is a Saudi-based Palestinian film-maker and founding member of Telfaz 11; Dubai- based composer and founding member of Analog Room, Salar; and Brian Zegeer, artist-in-residence at the Queens Museum.


Here you can listen to Ava Ansari, FREEWAY Co-curator’s conversation with the co-producers of Museum of The Mother Colony: Todd Fine, founding President of Washington Street Historical Society (WSHS) and founding director of Project Khalid and Brian Zegeer, Alpachian-Lebenese artist, relative of Ameen Rihani currently in residence at the Queens Museum.


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