BLEMF 2023: Early Music Crossroads

Arabia, Iberia & Latin America

Music, Community Events

Date & Time

Sunday, May 21 2:00pm - Monday, May 22 8:00pm

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Bloomington Early Music

BLEMF 2023: Early Music Crossroads maps musical connections across Arabic regions, the Iberian Peninsula, and the Americas during the early music period, revealing deeply complex cultural relationships that emerged from centuries of conquests, occupations, and colonialization. Musicians long stood at these intersections, both in times of peace and of great conflict and oppression. Their music influenced cultural exchange among communities and individuals, putting forward their own distinctive traditions or absorbing and adapting elements of the traditions they encountered. The result was a musical world resonant with social, political, and cultural history over the course of a near-millenium.

In few places was the mix of cultures more profound or the reverberations more far-reaching than al-Andalus during seven centuries of Arab Muslim rule, and the so-called “New World” over the next four centuries of Spanish imperialism. That such history produced art of great and lasting beauty is a complicated paradox, yet it is also a valuable opportunity for us today. It is through this art—the glorious and inspiring music of Muslims, Jews, Christians, and indigenous peoples of the Americas—that we invite you to hear and better understand the past.

BLEMF Events are FREE & OPEN TO ALL. All in-person concert venues are handicap-accessible. Pre-concert discussions take place prior in the same venue. No tickets or RSVP necessary to attend! Live Concerts & Pre-Concert Discussions will be livestreamed and will be available for streaming until JUNE 4th!

BLEMF Events at FAR

Below is a limited list of events that will take place at FAR. Click here for the full schedule of events.

Sunday, May 21
8:00pm Opening Night Performance by Nota Bene

Monday, May 22
2:00pm Workshop | What's That Sound: Making Early Music
6:00pm Public Screening | ASEFA, Mediterranean Encounters: Judeo-Islamic Soundscapes
8:00pm Live Concert | Hamid al-Saadi with Safaafir: Maqams of Baghda

Tuesday, May 23
2:00pm Workshop | What’s That You’re Wearing? Historical Hats & More!
4:00pm to 10:00pm Virtual Concert Screenings | Movie Marathon: Drop in or Stay all Day!

Wednesday, May 25
2:00pm Workshop | Sword Fighting on the High Seas: Blow me down!
6:00pm Public Screening | The Telling: Into the Melting Pot
8:00pm Live Concert | MIRYAM Shir Levi’im: The Song of the Levites

Thursday, May 26
6:00pm Public Screening | Ensemble Alkymia Sucreries: Y se va la segunda!
8:00pm Live Concert | Tonos del Sur: Music from New Spanish Convents

View full festival lineup at