One of few in the world who is an expert in the Iraqi maqam, ElSaffar, trumpeter, composer, singer, and santoor player, is garnering an international reputation for his work, both in the traditional Iraqi Maqam and in jazz music. Raised in an Iraqi-American home in Chicago, he was influenced by an array of musical styles, including classical, rock, jazz, blues, Arab classical and folk music and the Iraqi Maqam. ElSaffar has developed a new approach to playing the trumpet, which utilizes the micro-tuning and ornaments characteristic of Arabic music. His mastery of the Iraqi Maqam, both on the santoor (Iraqi hammered-dulcimer) and as a vocalist, will be featured in Brooklyn Maqam. ElSaffar leads Safaafir
, an ensemble dedicated to preserving the centuries-old vocal tradition of the Iraqi Maqam, which is at risk of disappearing due to the few remaining masters keeping the music alive. Since its inception in late 2005, Safaafir has performed throughout the US in concert halls, museums, universities, and private parties.