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Celebrated Lebanese accordionist brings Arabic music to Santa Cruz

Published Sunday July 24

SANTA CRUZ >> In a studio above Water Street in Santa Cruz, a musician frequently referred to as the best microtonal accordionist of his generation is leading a handful of students through “Tamr Henna,” a song from the 1957 Egyptian musical of the same name.

“Don’t change the accents. It’s written that way for a reason,” says Elias Lamman. “You wouldn’t mess with the Mona Lisa, would you?”

The son of a Greek musician mother who loved Arabic music and an Egyptian movie-producer father, Lammam was born and raised to perform in Beirut. He began playing the piano and the qanun, a big zither-like instrument with a thin trapezoidal sound board, at age 8.

Article length: About 460 words.
Tags: Santa Cruz
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