Kuumbwa Jazz Center
320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
ASEFA (meaning “gathering”) is led by ethnomusicologist and multi-instrumentalist Samuel Torjman Thomas, Ph.D. Blending vocals, oud, violin, nay, and plenty of percussion, with songs in Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, and Ladino, this trio ensemble traverses several North African song traditions. Drawing upon a rich intercultural mix of Hebraic and Islamic traditions, audiences feel the heartbeat of the Maghreb. Thomas is an ethnomusicologist and multi-instrumentalist, and as artistic director of the New York Andalus Ensemble and ASEFA, he journeys through a lush Mediterranean garden of songs in Hebrew, Arabic, Ladino, and Spanish, highlighting intercultural exchange in the expressive cultures of North Africa and the Middle East. Dr. Thomas teaches music, interdisciplinary studies, and Sephardic studies at the City University of New York. He is a frequent guest speaker at cultural institutions, universities, and in multi-denominational ecumenical spaces worldwide. His formal talks center on historical and cultural topics related to Sephardi-Mizraḥi Jewry.