HARRISON — On Friday, July 10, two Portland ethnic bands, the Casco Bay Tummlers and the Okbari Middle Eastern Ensemble, will perform at Harrison’s Deertrees Theatre in a concert benefiting the Seeds of Peace Camp in Otisfield.

Two summers ago, the Casco Bay Tummlers did a guest performance at the Seeds of Peace Camp. It was a transformational experience, according  to band member Carl Dimow. “It was incredibly inspiring to see hundreds of Jewish and Palestinian teens and teachers getting to know one another; working talking and playing together in a peaceful setting. The turmoil in the Middle East often seems beyond repair, but this camp is true to its name, creating seeds of hope for the future. And amazingly, it’s happening right here in our backyard in Maine,” Dimow said in a prepared statement.

Seeds of Peace’s mission is to help young people from regions of conflict develop the leadership skills necessary to advance reconciliation and coexistence.

The Okbari Middle Eastern Ensemble performs Ottoman classical and Turkish contemporary art music along with works from the Armenian and Anatolian folk traditions — music similar to what you would hear in a nightclub in Old Istanbul. Okbari also presents Arabic folk and classical music along with traditional songs from Greece and the Balkans. Okbari has released five albums since they formed in 1995 and play widely throughout the Northeast.

The Casco Bay Tummlers have been performing Klezmer music since 1988. Their Eastern European Jewish folk music has been featured at festivals throughout Europe and they have released three CD’s. The Tummler’s repertoire is versatile and eclectic, ranging from original music to traditional dances, Yiddish theater songs and Balkan music. A review in the Greater Boston Flute Gazette summed up their performances, “Fun and frolic, but also pathos and yearning abound. This is emotionally charged music, played with abandon by musicians who are clearly comfortable with each other.”

The July 10th concert at Deertrees begins at 8 p.m. and will feature sets by each band and end with a joint performance of songs that are common to both traditions. Tickets are $20 and are available through the Deertrees Box Office at 207-583-6747, the Cool Moose in Bridgton, the Country Sleigh in Naples, Fare Share Coop in Norway, and Books ‘n Things in Bethel. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.deertreestheatre.org.


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