Festival of Summer Voices

Music of the Middle East

This elective will give the students the opportunity to learn about Arabic folk music. The students will be introduced to the quarter-tone as a first step towards learning about the Arabic music scales (Maqam) used in traditional Arabic music. The students will also learn about rhythms, Arabic traditional musical instruments beside the work of iconic Arabic artists from a few different parts of Arabia (Fairuz, Nazem Al-Ghazally, Abdul Haleem..etc). The ensemble will perform Arabic songs in a choral performance style.


Martin Al-Somery started singing from a very young age, initially as a refugee in Syria, performing to an audience of 500 at a camp where his family was living. Martin performed music professionally in Iraq between 2003 – 2008, before migrating to Lebanon. Once in Beirut, Martin undertook studies at the Conservatorium there, specialising in the Oud. After his studies, he performed professionally in formal and non-formal events in Lebanon from 2008 – 2010, before migrating to Australia. Martin is one of the most successful Middle Eastern performers in Australia, whose work has been celebrated and performed across the continent.