American musical groups Barbaro and Brass-A-Holics recently captivated audiences in Qatar, on a trip organized by the U.S. Embassy in Doha through the American Music Abroad and Arts Envoys programs. Their visit highlighted American culture's rich tapestry and the music's unifying power through the bands’ engaging workshops, connections with local artists, and powerful performances.
Barbaro, a trailblazing ensemble known for their fusion of the bluegrass genre and chamber music, enthralled audiences with their unique "new grass" compositions. Originally from the mountainous Appalachian region of the eastern United States, bluegrass blends various music styles, including the blues and jazz, resulting in vibrant and soulful sounds. During their time in Qatar, Barbaro conducted musical workshops with their voices and instruments – a fiddle, banjo, upright bass, guitar – at Maktaba Children’s Library, SEK International School, and ACS International School Doha. The workshops emphasized the importance of harmonization, self-expression, and communication with band-mates. The band members shared personal anecdotes about their connections to music, and shared the history of the American bluegrass genre. They even led an enthusiastic group in a lively circle dance.
Meanwhile, Brass-A-Holics brought the vibrant sounds of New Orleans brass and Washington, D.C.’s go-go funk – both genres created by Black Americans – to Qatar’s stages. Playing alongside students at the Qatar Music Academy, Brass-A-Holics delivered an intimate and collaborative concert, with infectious energy and a distinctive sound. The band also joined a stimulating roundtable discussion at M7 with Qatari break-dancer, Flamenco guitarist Faisal al-Dosari, and Sudanese muralist Assil Diab. They talked about how their artistic passions connect them to their communities, and help them be resilient through emotional challenges – for example, when Brass-a-Holics performs in New Orleans’ traditional outdoor, musical funeral processions.
The bands both also performed alongside the U.S. Air Forces Central (AFCENT) Band at the U.S. 247th Independence Day celebration on 18 May at the Qatar National Convention Center.
Barbaro's performance, characterized by lightning-fast fiddle solos, enchanting banjo melodies, and captivating narratives, transported listeners.
The U.S. Embassy in Qatar continues to nurture the strong relationship through cultural exchanges between Qatar and the United States.
Source and cover image credit: Press Release
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