In The Tree of Being, Haytham Safia joins Ahmed El Maai on the qanun and violinist Abderrahim Semlali in a quest to translate the poetry of Sufi mystic Ibn Arabi (1165-1240) into music. Arabi saw trees as the perfection of creation and the universe. Safia draws on the musical richness of the maqam and ancient Andalusian sources to give this idea expression. He looks for connections and keys that stretch boundaries and open new doors. Just where do these mystical boundaries lie? And where do you locate the magical spark that conjures improvisation between musicians? No tree is the same as another, and yet they are all trees.
Haytham Safia was born in North Galilee and since graduating from the Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem has been expanding his musical horizons in the Netherlands. He is known for his razor- sharp solos, breathtaking compositions and unconventional approach to mingling musical styles. He knows how to push the ud to the limit, and steals the show with the myriad variations he draws from the instrument.