ASEFA: A Mediterranean Musical Gathering
Featuring Samuel Torjman Thomas Ph.D.
Location: Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Campus
Admission: free and open to the public
Description: ASEFA (Hebrew for gathering) is led by ethnomusicologist and multi-instrumentalist Samuel Torjman Thomas. The ensemble traverses several Mediterranean musical traditions, drawing upon a rich intercultural mix of Hebraic and Islamic traditions from North Africa and the Middle East while delving into Andalusian and Maqam-based musical dialects. Songs are performed in Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, and Ladino. Dr. Torjman Thomas performs on oud, vocals, nay, and bendir, accompanied by violinist Jeremy Brown and hand percussionist Mick LaBriola.
Samuel R. Torjman Thomas, Ph.D. is a multi-instrumentalist (saxophone, oud, vocals, nay, clarinet, percussion), composer, bandleader, and a professor of ethnomusicology, Sephardic (Jewish) studies, and interdisciplinary studies. As an artist-scholar, his work centers on musics of the Middle East and North Africa, worldwide Jewish musical traditions, jazz traditions, improvisation, and composition. Dr. Torjman Thomas is bandleader of ASEFA, ASEFA-Jazz, and Traveling in Pairs, as well as artistic director of the New York Andalus Ensemble – a multiethnic large ensemble featuring a choir and instrumentalists performing traditional musics of North Africa and Spain, in Hebrew, Arabic, and Spanish. Dr. Samuel Torjman Thomas is also a faculty member in both the ALEPH and Academy of Jewish Religion Cantorial Programs, as well as Director of Musical Arts at Brooklyn’s Sephardic Community Center (JCC). He is a frequent guest speaker, ḥazzan, and facilitator in ecumenical spaces, cultural institutions, and music and spiritual retreats worldwide.
Sponsors: Chapel Arts Series at the University of St. Thomas, Jay Phillips Center for Interreligious Studies at the University of St. Thomas, Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council, and the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities)