Learn Mizrahi music from master musician and vocalist, Sam Thomas.
Samuel Torjman Thomas, Ph.D, ethnomusicologist and multi-instrumentalist (saxophone/clarinet, oud, nay, vocals), teaches music, interdisciplinary studies, and Sephardic Studies at the City University of New York. His performance and research work centers on North African, Middle Eastern, and jazz traditions, and he lectures on a variety of topics, including Muslim-Jewish intercultural exchange in music, philosophy, theology, and poetics; American popular music, jazz history and improvisation; religious studies, diaspora studies, and protest music. Dr. Torjman Thomas is also the Director of Musical Arts at the Sephardic Community Center, where he oversees educational, performance, and communal outreach programming, and is a contributing faculty member in the Academy of Jewish Religion and ALEPH-Ordination cantorial and rabbinical programs.
Dr. Torjman Thomas, a graduate of Berklee College of Music (BM Jazz Composition; BM Performance) and New York University (Gallatin School of Individualized Study), completed a Ph.D in Ethnomusicology at the City University of New York with the publishing of his dissertation Redefining Diaspora Consciousness: Musical Practices of Moroccan Jews in Brooklyn (2014). He continues to publish on various topics in ethnomusicology, Jewish studies, and anthropology, and regularly presents research at academic conferences in the United States, Morocco, Israel, and France.
Dr. Torjman Thomas is bandleader of ASEFA, a pan-Mediterranean ensemble performing in Hebrew, Arabic, and Ladino; the critically-acclaimed North African Jazz fusion project ASEFA-Jazz; and artistic director of the New York Andalus Ensemble, highlighting the cultural heritage of Spain and North Africa through a mission of interfaith and interethnic participation. He has recorded two albums with ASEFA-Jazz –“Asefa” (2005) and “Resonance” (2011) – and three albums with the jazz trio Four Minus One – “At Any Given Moment,” “Live,” and “Split Decision.” He is a frequent guest speaker, at cultural institutions, universities, and in ecumenical spaces. He also leads weekend retreats as a chazzan and facilitator of Jewish song traditions – Sephardi poetry, Chassidic niggunim, Klezmer music, and ḥazzanut – and presents formal talks on Sephardi-Mizraḥi historical and cultural topics.
This event is made possible by the Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.