The Spice Route Ensemble
Bassist Bruce Kaminsky was granted permission by SFS director Welthie Fitzgerald to develop a program that would explore the diversity and complexity of Middle Eastern music for the upcoming school year. That year was 2001. 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 in lower Manhattan.
This historic event, along with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, mantled the Spice Route Ensemble with the challenge of putting human faces to ethnic groups and cultures that many students may only have known by what they saw and heard on the news. It also gave a familiar sound to students of Middle Eastern extraction who feared a level of isolation.
Since then, The Spice Route has been interviewed on WRTI radio and featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer. It has performed concerts, clinics and residencies through out the Philadelphia area for thousands of students. This program has given the audience a visual and listening experience to some of the world's oldest musical traditions, as brought to this country by some of our newest citizens.
The Spice Route Ensemble is: