Ziryab, the Songbird of Andalusia | Silk Road Rising | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Ronnie Malley

Ronnie Malley

Airan Wright

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Feb. 28 2016
Price: $20, $15
The poet and musician Ziryab was one of the luminaries of southern Spain’s medieval Islamic period, particularly when it came to playing the lutelike oud. In this solo show from Silk Road Rising, writer-performer Ronnie Malley argues that the flowering of Ziryab’s art came about in part due to the confluence of cultures—Islamic, Christian, and Jewish—he encountered in ninth-century Andalusia. Malley, the child of Palestinian immigrants, links that earlier example of multiculturalism to his own upbringing on the city’s southwest side. The show’s first-person accounts are stirring and Malley is a skillful musician; in addition to singing and strumming the oud, he plays percussion and the electric guitar. The production only drags in the middle, when things get too technical. —Zac Thompson

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