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CATALOG > Chamsin

Yochanan Sebastian Winston
Record Label: MUSEDOC
Catalog Number: MUSEDOC_1
UPC: 700261247540
Type: CD
Released: 2008


A heady admixture of new age, jazz, electronica and World music that is dedicated to peace and reconciliation. Features the virtuoso flute, bass flute, soprano sax and world woodwinds of the inimitable Yochanan. "Two thumbs up!" according to saxophone great Charles Lloyd.
Chamsin is offered to the world as a parable and a prayer for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East. The title of the work is a Hebrew word for the hot, dry wind that blows off the desert: it is intended to carry a message of reconciliation to a troubled region, across cultures as a balm for an old family squabble... The conflict in the Middle East is a centuries-long struggle that dates from the time of Abraham. According to the Torah, Abraham exiled his concubine, Hagar, along with Ishmael, the son she bore him before Sarah, Abraham s first wife, delivered the promised (and reportedly, preferred) Isaac. Muslims recognize Ishmael as one of their patriarchs and derive their genealogy through him. Jews on the other hand, derive their lineage through Isaac, Ishmael s half-brother. Scholars consider this split over primogeniture (the right of the firstborn son to inherit the entire estate) to have caused the original divide between Muslims and Jews. For generations, the differences between Jews and non-Jews in the Middle East have created rifts that many of the world s greatest minds have been unable to heal. And yet, as a chamsin blows through this turbulent and wounded region, it mixes the soils of the earth, without regard for legal or political boundaries. Allegorically, the music of Chamsin is intended to blow common ground across the divides of enmity; it is a poem of reconciliation. Chamsin was originally commissioned by the Jacobs Family Foundation to accompany an exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the San Diego Natural History Museum in the summer and fall of 2007. This remarkable exhibit included six of the original Scrolls brought directly from Israel, scholarly presentations by world-renowned authorities and a stunning photographic collection that portrayed the awesome physical surroundings of the Qumran caves where the Scrolls were discovered. The Dead Sea Scrolls elicit complex imagery that is prized by Jews, Muslims and Christians alike. These Holy Scriptures, hidden for centuries in clay urns in desert caves, were accidentally discovered by a Bedouin Muslim shepherd boy at the nexus of three of the world s great religions. The scrolls, originally written and stored by Jews, are assumed by many scholars to have been hidden by an Essene sect a radical group of Jews. The Essenes are believed to have been a splinter group that John the Baptist was associated with Jesus first cousin and in Christian theology, the ersatz precursor of the messiah in the tradition of Elijah the Prophet. Another Jewish/Christian connection concerns one of the most complete Scrolls discovered in Qumran, that of Isaiah. Both groups hold Isaiah in the highest esteem for his prophetic power and incomparably beautiful poetry. How remarkable that the Scrolls, treasured relics of Jewish and Christian history, were discovered by a Bedouin Muslim shepherd boy! By reason of this shared interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the caves of Qumran stand as a vivid symbol of a powerful and absolute truth: the truth of a connectedness born from a shared history that is uniquely claimed by Jews, Christians and Muslims. As the chamsin blows across the desert, through camps and over borders, so should the spirit of reconciliation. We, as human beings are truly connected to one another. This piece is intended to remind us of our connectedness: let these winds carry a message of peace.

- Album liner notes

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