Maqāmāt: Pathways to Beauty in Arab Music

Al-Salam Ensemble

Maqāmāt: Pathways to Beauty in Arab Music

Lose yourself in the classical and folk songs from the Arab world with Al-Salam Ensemble. The sounds of the oud (short-neck fretless lute), qanun (a traditional Middle Eastern stringed instrument similar to a zither), and darbukkah/tablah (goblet drum) will transport you to another place and time.


General Seating: $20 – SOLD OUT
VIP Seating: $40 – SOLD OUT

Mingei Members receive a 10% discount.

The ticket price includes admission to the performance and access to Mingei International Museum’s Gallery Level ($14 value) after 4 PM on the day of the performance. The Commons Level is free for all.

Please purchase your tickets early. These performances sell out well in advance. 

Proceeds support hands-on world music and dance programming for San Diego students in schools underserved by the arts.


About the Al-Salam Ensemble

The Al-Salam (“Peace”) Ensemble was formed in 2018 by five musicians: Fouad Sawa (oud), Matthew Younan (ney), Majid Toma (violin), Khalil Lulu (accordion), and Hector Delgado (tabla). The ensemble performs throughout Southern California, connecting Arab Americans and other communities through music.

Performing on April 15:

Fouad Sawa – Oud, pear-shaped fretless stringed instrument
Tamia Dowlatabadi – Qanun, stringed instrument similar to a zither
Andy Semaan – Keyboard
Emad Semaan – Tabla or darbuka, goblet-shaped drum
Rufaeda Nmr – Vocalist

Note: Due to an unexpected emergency Matthew Younan, ney (end-blown flute) musician, will not be performing.

Fouad Sawa – Artistic Director and Oud

Fouad Sawa was born in the city of Mosul, Iraq. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad, Iraq in 1991. Eventually, Fouad moved to Amman, Jordan, where he lived for 11 years. In addition to working full-time, Fouad taught music and established the Al-Salam Choir in Amman, which performed and recorded several albums. 

Fouad arrived in the United States as a refugee in 2009 and settled in El Cajon, California, where he started to teach music out of his home. Fouad now teaches oud, guitar, and piano in his studio and is recognized as a distinguished Middle Eastern music teacher within the Arab and broader San Diego community. In 2018 Fouad served as the music director for Quilili, a play inspired by conversations with immigrants and refugees in San Diego produced by Blind Spot Collective. To date, Fouad has released over 120 recordings.

Before You Attend

Watch this short video of the Al-Salam Ensemble playing at an earlier CWM concert

Prepare yourself to experience Al-Salam Ensemble with this audio recording from the Kennedy Center Education Digital Learning, Arabesque: What makes Arabic Music Unique?

Health and Safety

Proof of vaccination is required to attend these performances. Please bring a picture of your vaccine card or the card itself. Masks are required indoors for all guests (ages 2+) regardless of vaccination status.


Co-Sponsors Mingei Logo

Major Grant Sponsor

Financial support was provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.

Become a Sponsor

For details on sponsorship opportunities, please visit the Center for World Music’s 2022 World Music at Mingei Sponsorship Information.