Slideshow: Refugio del Sonido Concert Addresses Refugee Crisis

By 
Agustina Covian and Kimberly Ashton
October 20, 2016
Javier Limón, artistic director of the Mediterranean Music Institute, accompanies vocalist Tonina Saputo at the Refugio del Sonido concert in Madrid.
Israeli recorder player Tali Rubinstein performs as a duo with Jordanian violinist Layth Al-Rubaye at the October 8, 2016 concert.
Iranian vocalist Tara Tiba sings a traditional Iranian song and follows the piece with performances of “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Moonlight,” sung in Farsi.
Alto saxophonist and retired Berklee vice president of academic affairs Larry Monroe performs at the Auditorio Nacional during the MMI’s annual concert.
Lebanese vocalist Christiane Karam, an associate professor in Berklee’s Voice Department, performs.
Al-Rubaye feels the music with intensity at the Refugio del Sonido concert.
Rubinstein performs the Argentinean song “Alfonsina y el Mar” with lyrics in Hebrew.
Saputo and Limón perform “Un Trago de tu Vida” and “Historia de un Amor” at the MMI concert.
The MMI's Refugio del Sonido concert at the Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid is part of its Fronteras series.
From left: Matthew Nicholl, Tara Tiba, Tonina Saputo, Javier Limón, Genera Cortés, Christiane Karam, Tali Rubinstein, Layth Al-Rubaye (sometimes credited as Layth Sidiq), and Israel “Piraña” Suárez.
Eva Marquez
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Eva Marquez

As part of its Refugio del Sonido project, which aims to spread awareness of the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe, the Mediterranean Music Institute (MMI) presented its annual concert to a sold-out hall at the Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid, Spain, on October 8.

The concert featured “the voices of different cultures of the Mediterranean and neighboring countries united to demonstrate that frontiers are there to be crossed and that music is the most universal language and best means of communication human beings have,” said Javier Limón, the artistic director of the MMI. Many of the songs performed at the concert came from this past summer’s album Refugio del Sonido, a musical work composed by Limón and released in partnership with El País newspaper as a series of four CD/book packages. All proceeds from the El País partnership benefitted Doctors without Borders, the nonprofit organization dedicated to providing urgent medical care to those in areas ravaged by war, disease, or inadequate access to health care.

In addition to songs from the Refugio del Sonido album, the musicians performed a repertoire that ranged from ancient Persian songs to innovative new compositions that remained rooted in Mediterranean musical traditions. The 90-minute concert featured traditional songs from the Middle East as well as Limón's compositions sung in Farsi, Arabic, Spanish, Hebrew, and English. 

In addition to Limón, the concert musicians included Iranian vocalist Tara Tiba, Israeli vocalist and recorder player Tali Rubinstein '14, Lebanese vocalist and Berklee faculty member Christiane Karam, Jordanian violinist Layth Al-Rubaye '14 '16G, Spanish flamenco singer Genera Cortés, American vocalist and Berklee student Tonina Saputo (whose parents hail from Italy and Uganda), Spanish flamenco percussionist Israel “Piraña” Suárez, American alto saxophonist Larry Monroe, retired former vice president of academic affairs at Berklee, and American pianist Matthew Nicholl, who is the executive director of the MMI and vice president of Global Initiatives at Berklee.

The Refugio del Sonido concert was part of the Fronteras concert series, organized by the Centro Nacional de Difusión Musical of Spain. The Fronteras series will continue through May 2017 with concerts by Ute Lemper, Rocío Márquez and Fahmi Alqhai, Jorge Pardo and Pepe Habichuela, Sílvia Pérez Cruz, and Anne Sofie von Otter with the Brooklyn Rider Quartet.

Listen to a segment of one of the songs featured in the concert, “Un Trago de Su Vida” and hear Limón discuss Refugio del Sonido in this podcast from May 31, 2016: