By Stephanie Wenning / Special for The Triplicate

The Del Norte Association for Cultural Awareness (DNACA) continues its 36th Performance Series at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 17 in Crescent Elk Auditorium at 994 G St with Seffarine, an ensemble whose repertoire spans from Moorish Spain to the Sahara.

With members of diverse musical and cultural backgrounds contributing a wide array of instruments layered with lilting vocals and flamenco dancing, their range is a blend of ancient and modern. From traditional Arabic and Andalusian pieces to original compositions influenced by Spanish flamenco, Persian classical, and American Jazz. Their work has a wide appeal not only through the diverse musical genres they cover, but also in the many languages they perform in, including: Spanish, Arabic, French, Farsi, and Ladino.

Seffarine was formed initially as a duo with singer Lamiae Naki and oud player and flamenco guitarist Nat Hulskamp. The name Seffarine is drawn from the ancient metalworking square in Naki’s home city of Fes, Morocco where her family is well-known for their metalwork in the historic cultural capital. Naki studied Andalusian music and other forms of classical Arab music in Fes, drawn to it at a young age. Her talent showcases in live performances and recordings with esteemed musicians such as Martín Zarzar, of Pink Martini fame. Her dedication to sharing various cultures throughout the world was recognized when she received a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council to study classical Turkish singing in Istanbul.

Hulskamp began studying guitar at age seventeen with Paul Chasman and was soon introduced to flamenco guitar by Jose Solano. His interest in the influence of Arabic music on flamenco led him to study oud in Morocco before studying ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. He has since founded and performed with many musical groups in the Pacific Northwest that range from Gypsy swing to Hungarian Csardas to flamenco. He also received a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council to study flamenco guitar in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.

Seffarine has since expanded to include: Bobak Salehi, kamancheh, sehtar, tar, and violin player; Bill Athens, bass player; and Manuel Gutierrez, world-renowned flamenco dancer. Salehi began his musical journey at just eight years old and has since been recognized as a master artist by the Oregon Historical Society. Athens is the bassist on Seffarine’s album and is so frequently requested he is only able to travel with them half of the time; we are fortunate to have him on this tour. Gutierrez won his first flamenco award at age eight and has gathered accolades ever since, producing events alongside actress and philanthropist Eva Longoria.

A free-of-charge public engagement activity will be taught by members of Seffarine at 1 p.m. the afternoon of November 17 at the Del Norte County Library at 190 Price Mall in Crescent City. Their program is fun, hands-on, and interactive. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to better understand musical influences across continents, such as Arabic music’s influence on Spanish flamenco due to 800 years of Moorish rule. Active participation will be encouraged on instruments from foreign regions and in dancing while learning about the history of these cross-cultural exchanges.

The ensemble has received rave reviews throughout the world. Javier Mantecón of “Afribuku” praises them as “un placer para los oídos (a treat for the ears)” and Brett Campbell of “Oregon ArtsWatch” insists “this enchanting album deserves international attention,” referencing their release “De Fez a Jerez.”

Tickets for the concert are available in Crescent City at Del Norte Office Supply at 240 I St and in Brookings at Wright’s Custom Framing at 810 Chetco Ave or online at www.eventbrite.com. Tickets will also be available at the door, which opens at 6:15 p.m. General tickets are $18, senior (65 years and older) are $15, transitional-aged youth (18-25 years old) are $15, and students (K-college, full-time) are $12. Season tickets are also still available at these locations through November 17, providing discounted admission to the remaining four concerts of the season. General season tickets are $70, seniors are $55, students are $45, and family (two general and two other) are $160. Season tickets are transferable and replaceable if lost.

DNACA, of course, would not be able to bring such outstanding performers without the generous support of our underwriters. For our 2018-19 season, they are: Anonymous, Lisé Hamilton, Chip and Kareen Kalvin, Bill and Kathy Maffett, Gene and Carol Schach, and Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation. Underwriters who are a part of Wild Rivers Community Foundation are: Caldwell and Sund Family Trust, Del Norte Area Fund, and Physicians of Sutter Coast Hospital Fund. Our in-kind supporters are Bicoastal Media and the Del Norte Triplicate. DNACA is supported, in part, by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov. We are also supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Seffarine’s performance and engagement activity were made possible by WESTAF, the Western Arts Foundation.

For more information, call DNACA at 707-464-1336 or email us at dnaca@harborside.com . Find us on Facebook @DNACACC for links to the artists’ websites, music videos, and event updates.

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