The Essence of Arts Diplomacy™
- Badi Assad, Vocals and Guitar (Brazil)
- Aaron Bensoussan, Vocals and Oud (Morocco)
- Kiu Haghighi, Santour (Iran)*
- Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Drums (Cuba)
- Humayun Khan, Harmonium and Vocals (Afghanistan)
- Howard Levy, Piano and Harmonica (United States)*
- Javier Saume Mazzei, Percussion
- Alberto Mizrahi, Vocals (United States)*
- Kalyan Pathak, Drums (India/United States)*
- Haj Youness, Oud (Morocco)
- Haytham Safia, Oud (Israel)*
Wendy Sternberg, MD – Founder & Artistic Director
Genesis’ tour continues with Sounds of Healing in 2020-2023 to include December 2020 and April 2021 virtual programs followed by live, in-person performances in the pandemic’s aftermath in India, UAE, US (Chicago, California, DC and Philadelphia), Brazil, Rwanda, Ghana, South Africa, and parts of Europe, (UK, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands).
Sounds of Healing in 2020-2023
Virtual programs: December 19, 2020 and April 2021 (Date TBA)
Live, in-person performances in the pandemic’s aftermath in:
• US (Chicago, California, DC and Philadelphia)
• South Africa
• Parts of Europe, (UK, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands)
Saffron Caravan, The Genesis World Music Ensemble unites professional musicians from Iran, Afghanistan, Cuba, Morocco, Israel/Palestine, India, Brazil, Venezuela and the United States to create new art and to perform together under the aegis of Genesis at the Crossroads. They demonstrate that the arts can be used to build sustainable bridges between cultures, made stronger through educational initiatives and collaborations with soloists, choirs and orchestras.
Their repertoire, spanning seven languages and multiple keys, explores both the sacred and mystical traditions in Arab, Jewish, Ladino and Persian music. Infused with sub-Saharan roots of blues and jazz, spiced with Afro-Caribbean, South American and Southeast Asian rhythms, their evocative melodies transport international audiences. Their performances feature foreign integrated artists. Half of the musicians are Grammy-Awardees and/or Nominees.
Genesis at the Crossroads sustains the impact of Saffron Caravan’s performances through artist-in-residencies, interdisciplinary programs with dance, spoken word and visual art, arts-education master classes, speaking engagements, community partnerships, cross-cultural exchanges and humanitarian work.
Prior to Saffron Caravan, Genesis at the Crossroads’ cross-cultural collaborations were showcased at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC and were featured at the United Nation’s 60th Anniversary celebrations in addition to other programs across the United States. Genesis made history creating and producing the first cross-cultural collaborative Middle Eastern – North African festival and grew it into the largest of its kind in the world. The late actor Harold Ramis served as an Emcee and the late Maggie Daley, Chicago’s First Lady served as the Honorary Chair of Genesis’ flagship outdoor festival, HAMSA Fest.
In The Media
On WBEZ (Chicago’s NPR Station):
Saffron Caravan was also featured on WTTW TV Chicago Tonight to over 1 million:
About Saffron Caravan
2011 International Freedom to Create Prize Nominees
“Sublime!” — Aaron Cohen, The Chicago Tribune
“…a flawless blend of musical styles from around the globe.” — Tim Receveur, US Department of State, USINFO and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC
“For members of the audience, what may have sounded strange and impossible mere hours before was happening before their eyes – a mix of old and new, East and West, musicians whose countries are at odds playing together and making beautiful music. It seemed like the most natural sound in the world.” — Rebecca Baskin, The Jerusalem Post
Following their programs in Morocco and Israel/Palestine, Saffron Caravan had an array of performances and music education classes:
• Srebrenica, Bosnia in the 20th anniversary year of the genocide in the former Yugoslavia
• Across the US in 2015-16, (including Chicago and DC)
• University of San Diego’s Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, Art of Peace global conference opening performance. Also included a roundtable on the role of arts in conflict transformation using Saffron Caravan as a case study. (2016)
• On Chicago’s South side in 2017-2019 at Merit School of Music, Phillips Academy and Hyde Park’s Experimental Station, impacting over 500 students. Included an instrument drive with for Chicago’s at-risk south side and refugee youth
• In Chicago, the 2018 world premiere of Journeys, showcased their interdisciplinary work with refugee youth dancers.
• At DuSable Museum of African American History, (Smithsonian Museum in Chicago)
• Featured as part of WBEZ Worldview’s 25 Anniversary
• As a Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Forum on Global Cities Adjunct Program.