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Event Details

8pm / $30 Axis of Love series pass


In 2018, this annual series returns in collaboration with MDC Live Arts.  It invites audiences into a meditative space through instrumental, traditional and innovative sounds from the Middle East. In an immersive environment, the audience surrounds performers in an in-the-round stage setup. The evening also features culture-specific, traditional snacks and sweets to engage the audience in a multi-sensory experience.

March 3:  Amir ElSaffar: Two Rivers Ensemble

May 5: Innov Gnawa


A master trumpeter “uniquely poised to reconcile jazz and Arabic music without doing either harm” –the Wire

Iraqi- American musician Amir ElSafar has created techniques to play on the trumpet the microtones and ornaments found in Arabic music but not typically heard on brass. As a composer, he uses this to create an innovative approach to harmony and melody, seen in his commissions for jazz ensembles, Chamber Orchestras, and Middle Eastern Ensembles alike.


Innov Gnawa is a young musical collective dedicated to exploring Morocco’s venerable gnawa music tradition in the heart of New York City. Formed in the summer of 2014 by Moroccan expat Samir LanGus, the group draws on the considerable talents and expertise of Hassan Ben Jaafer, a Maâlem, or master gnawa musician, originally from Fes, Morocco.

Gnawa music is the ritual trance music of Morocco’s black communities, originally descended from slaves and soldiers once brought to Morocco from Northern Mali and Mauritania. Often called “The Moroccan Blues”, gnawa music has a raw, hypnotic power that’s fascinated outsiders as diverse as writer/composer Paul Bowles, jazz giant Randy Weston, rock god Jimi Hendrix, and the contemporary artist Bonobo. The music is utterly singular, played on an array of unique instruments — from the lute-like sintir that the Maâlem uses to call the tune, to the metal qarqaba (castinets) with which the kouyos (chorus) keep time and pound out clattering, hypnotic rhythms.

Hailed by Brooklyn Magazine as one of the “5 Bands You Need to Know in Brooklyn’s Arabic Music Scene”, Innov aGnawa make great use of the traditional repertoire by adding their own contemporary spin with African and Latin percussion.


In 2018, this annual series returns in collaboration with Miami Dade College’s MDC Live Arts.  It invites audiences into a meditative space through instrumental, traditional and innovative sounds from the Middle East. With support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge and the Doris Duke Foundation, The Rhythm Foundation and MDC Live Arts create an opportunity to build a connection with cultures primarily in the public eye for conflict zones. Victoria Rogers, Vice President of Arts for Knight Foundation, said: “Few things can bring people together like the arts. Events like this series are a great prism for exploring our and other cultures, and for finding the threads that unite us all.”

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Event Location


North Beach Bandshell

7275 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL, 33141

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Amir el Saffar Two Rivers Ensemble / Innov Gnawa