Ashes of the East: the Wolf who Grew Up in the Wilderness
Ashes of the East: The Wolf who Grew Up in the Wilderness sees Jazz, a young musician of Arabic origin, exploring his identity through a symphony he is composing. The different elements of the music reflect the harsh reality of his life in America, where he is regarded as a hostile Muslim Arab, as well as stories from the life of his grandfather, Baba Sheriff. Going through key moments of his family history, he reconstructs an unadorned picture of the beginning of the twentieth century: such as Baba Sheriff being carried on his mother's back, or the death of Baba Sheriff’s father, who was incarcerated in Lebanon’s Aliah prison before being strung up on the gallows in Beirut by order of the Ottoman ruler Jamal Pasha, nicknamed ‘the Manslayer’. Jazz goes back to a time shaped by the pursuit of European, rather than Arab, interests, touching on the influence of well-known historical figures: from Yusuf Al-Azmeh, who resisted the French in Syria, to the escapades of Lawrence of Arabia, Prince Faisal and Viscount Allenby. It is through his symphony, Ashes of the East - which he performs at the Brooklyn Opera - that Jazz finds release and brings to life a grandfather who was nothing short of a walking history book.