The Spice Route Ensemble
About 500 years ago, Christopher Columbus sailed in search of a trade route to India. He landed on the shores of what was to be called America. We know that Columbus was not the first person here. He was more like the first travel guide. After he arrived, everybody started to come; most people because they wanted to…some because they were forced. When they came, they brought their families, their customs, their foods and their music. This tradition still exists today. This was the experience of our families and maybe yours.
The Spice Route Ensemble is comprised of internationally acclaimed musicians of diverse Middle Eastern and Eastern Mediterranean traditions working towards the common goal of producing excellent music. The Ensemble believes that this musical excellence serves as an example of multicultural cooperation.
The first Spice Route performance was at the Key School in South Philadelphia on September 24, 2001... just 13 days after the devastating attack on the Twin Towers. This and other current events mantled the Spice Route Ensemble with the challenge of putting human faces to ethnic groups and cultures that many only know through the news. It also gave a familiar sound to students of Middle Eastern extraction who feared a level of isolation.
The Spice Route Ensemble has been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper and on National Public Radio. It has also been recommended by the University of Pennsylvania Center on Middle Eastern Studies and The Israeli Consulate.