`Diverse Voices' join in harmony at ICA concert
By Bob Young/ Jazz/World
Boston Herald, Friday, June 10, 2005 - Updated: 08:57 AM EST

If for some strange reason you get your kicks watching religious zealots have at it, you're going to be disappointed when four Muslim artists from different backgrounds share the stage tomorrow night at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.
     ``Diverse Voices of Islam,'' the Boston Creative Music Alliance's fifth Cultural Constructions event, isn't a debate about who treats the Koran with more respect. It's about unity, not enmity, between musicians from different cultural traditions with their religion in common.
     ``The commonest perception is that Islam is lumped into one identity, but people from the Muslim world know that's definitely not the case,'' saidAbdul-Wahab Kayyali, who plays the lutelike oud. Kayyali was born in Lebanon to a Jordanian family of Palestine origin. ``I have more in common with Arab Christians than I do with non-Arab Muslims,'' he said.
     Added Pakistani-born vocalist Tanya Jacobs, ``Culturally we're from different countries, so we have different traditions, different clothes, different languages.''
     Joining Jacobs and Kayyali tomorrow night will be guitarist-singer Boubacar Diabate from Mali and avant-garde reedman Raqib Hassan, a native of another country with a Muslim presence: the United States.
     ``Whenever there's dialogue between instruments, something good is going to come out of it,'' said Kayyali. ``I don't seek out people from other traditions to play with, but whenever there's an opportunity I welcome it.''
     The Somerville-based oud player will be returning to his family in Jordan this summer with a degree from Tufts University after having spent the past five years in the area. He'll be headed back to the region where he studied with a number of oud virtuosos, including Iraqi Munir Bashir.
     ``The connections (in this show) are not religious,'' he said. ``It's the musical traditions that we've grown up with that are representative of where we come from. They're very different, but that won't stop us from collaborating.''
     Jamaica Plain resident Jacobs, who was raised Muslim, is more than ready to do her part.
     ``After 9/11 things were not so great for Muslims,'' she said. ``The way people looked at Islam was quite harsh. This will be really good to show that there are beautiful things (in Islam.) It's not only about religion and the rules within religion. It's more about general spirituality, and I think the music shows a more spiritual side.''
     ``I try all I can to dispel stereotypes,'' said Kayyali. ``Obviously you have to try because of current events and the polarization because of the category you get lumped into, which makes me very uncomfortable.
     ``But all I can do is be myself and lead by example. People see the news, but if they see me and learn something different from the way I live my life, that's great.''
     ``Cultural Constructions V:Diverse Voices of Islam'' takes place tomorrow at 8 p.m. at the Institute of Contemporary Art Theater, Boston. Tickets: $10. Call 617-354-6898 or go to www.culturalconstructions.org.
     FAMILIAR FACE AND PLACE: For many years, Charlie's Tap at the Green Street Grill in Cambridge was a local bastion of the avant-garde. Composer, cornetist and bandleader Lawrence ``Butch'' Morris was among those who kept the room hot and he'll make a rare return visit Wednesday through June 17 when he presents his ``Conduction,'' a typically envelope-pushing affair featuring strings, electronics, clarinet and a variety of other instruments. Call 617-876-1655.
     CD PICK: Joe Lovano, ``Joyous Encounters'' (Blue Note).
     LIVE SURE SHOT: Brotherhood of Groove, Ryles, Cambridge, Sunday, 8 p.m. Tickets: $8. Go to www.rylesjazz.com.

Boubacar Diabate.