Artists: Calvin Arsenia + Ramy Essam
Hometowns: Kansas City, Missouri, and Mansoura, Egypt
Song: “Toward the Sun أخر العتمه نور” from Folk Alliance‘s Artists In (Their) Residence program
Release Date: August 24, 2021
In Their Words: “Ramy Essam and I met at the Folk Alliance International Conference in February of 2018 through a magical encounter that unfolded into cascades of beautiful music filling the halls of the conference hotel. I have always admired Ramy for his work in social justice but I am most impressed by the peace he carries with him in spite of the tumult he has and continues to endure. It is an honor to finally have a musical piece to call ours after years of sharing stages together across the globe. Ramy and I have played together in Kansas City, Tulsa, Montreal, and Gothenburg, but this is the first time we have written a song together.
“Ramy came to me with the guitar part and his verses after a few false starts of other songs. It was important to both of us to sing in our mother tongues and to showcase a hopeful message that can ring true for people around the world. My friend, Dr. Ezgi Karakus of Turkey, adds even more world flavor joining us on cello. I hope listeners feel as hopeful and inspired as I did when I met Ramy. It is a joy being his friend. Even in the face of severe persecution; beauty, love, and hope still triumph.” — Calvin Arsenia
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Photos provided by Folk Alliance International