As a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, and an apprentice of some of the Arab world’s greatest musicians, Laith’s unique sound is an organic blend of traditional and new music, echoing both the simplicity and nostalgia of folk music and the boldness and formality of classical music. Inspired by the teachings of Nadia Boulanger, Laith is also unapologetic about learning music by the rules and making music outside them, always seeking innovation in any musical style he encounters. This started with co-founding the Al-Flamenco Arab-Flamenco Fusion Music and Dance Ensemble at the University of Michigan, and included a groundbreaking collaboration with Ensemble Mezze and the Sumunar Indonesian Gamelan ensemble in Minneapolis, and joining luminary music producer Dawn Elder and a new generation of artists in performing as the world-rock band TEAL-ONE97 at the One World Concert at Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome featuring the Dalai Lama and many of the world’s top music stars. Laith has also toured with Ana Masry Band, presenting the musical and cultural diversity of Egypt and the Middle East in a new, post-Arab-Spring youth empowerment dynamic.
Away from the stage, Laith has also worked on a number of compositions and film scores, including Refusing to be Enemies: The Zeitouna Story (Laurie White, 2007) and Driving an Arab Street (Arthur Hurely, 2003). Aside from music, Laith leads a parallel career as a social psychologist and decision-making scientist. To bridge the two disciplines, Laith is currently developing ways to assess the direction and level of influence between song lyrics and cultural norms in the Middle East during past few decades and seeking new collaborations to write and record songs that emphasize socially-responsible lyrics informed by insights from social and cognitive psychology.
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