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About Kan Zaman

An independent non-profit organization in Southern California, Kan Zaman is comprised of volunteer musicians, singers and staff from diverse backgrounds. Kan Zaman's mission is to preserve, educate and entertain the general public by performing a unique, pure and quality traditional Arabic music. Since its formation in 1994 Kan Zaman has  performed in various cultural events including major universities in the area, the Los Angeles convention center, public television and cable recordings, as well as various museums and international festivals. Recently performed at the J. P. Getty museum, UCLA's Royce Hall, Town Hall Seattle and finally the World Sacred Music Festival of the Americas. 

Kan Zaman has often collaborated or been sponsored by other organizations, artists, colleges and student associations.
The ensemble has been given high praise in the press and several of its musicians have been featured in local Arabic
and American newspaper and magazine articles. The ensemble is very proud to have received several awards for its outstanding contribution to the diversity of art and culture in Southern California.

About the music

Kan Zaman Community Ensemble performs classical and traditional folk songs from various Arab countries. The group plays traditional musical instruments such as the qanun (zither), 'ud (lute), nay (reed flute), kaman (violin), riqq (tambourine) and darabukkah (goblet drum). Our programs feature a number of waslat (suites) using different maqamat (modes). The wasla (suite) starts with an instrumental introduction, taqsim instrumental improvisation), mawwal (vocal improvisation) and a medley of songs performed by the chorus and solo vocalists. The performances include muwashshahat, a form of poetic songs started around the ninth century in Arab Spain. The muwashshahat performed by the group are the ones encountered in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. This form of muwashshahat is different from the Nuba and the Maluf of North Africa. The ones encountered in the Middle East evolve from a certain form of poetry that has three to four lines. In addition to muwashshahat, the group performs songs of major artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries such as Muhammad 'Uthman, Sayyid Darwish, M. Abdel Wahab, Umm Kalthum, Farid AlnAtrash, Asmahan, Fairuz and many others. The group also performs traditional folk songs from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, and the Arabian Gulf.


    Awards Received

  • Western Justice Foundation Center, 2005
  • NEXUX Forums / Celebrating Cultural Diversity 2004
  • New Horizon School in Pasadena 2002
  • AAPG Achievement Award 1999
  • Los Angeles County Office of Education 1999
  • International Children Choir 1998
  • International Friendship Festival 1998
  • Arab American Syrian Association 1997
  • Arab American Council 1997
  • Arab American Press Guild (Achievement award) 1997
  • American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC, First Art and Culture Award) 1997


Kan Zaman
P.O. Box 661551
Arcadia, CA 91066-1551
(626) 720-4511
Copyright 1997-2012 Kan Zaman Community Ensemble