WHERE TO GO WHAT: Cameron Powers and Kristina Sophia speak about their musical mission through the Middle East
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Carbon Valley Branch Library. 320 Maple St, Frederick
Wednesday, March 12, 2003
Singers tell about Mideast music mission
BY MILLETE BIRHANEMASKEL
Americans have been warned to avoid travel around Iraq. But Cameron Powers and Kristina Sophia are praying for visas that will get them into the Middle Eastern country
Powers, 58, and Sophia, 49, told a group of 10 people Tuesday at the Farr Branch Library, 1939 61st Ave., Greeley, that they are on a musical mission to bridge the culture gap between American and Arab cultures.
They travel, in spite of government warnings, to Arab “anti American” countries with two weapons: Sophia’siren-like voice and Powers’ oud, an Arabic percussion instrument
In late December, the singing duo returned from a five-week trip that began in Jordan and extended into North Africa’s Morocco.
When someone asked if the women felt unsafe on their journey. they explained that it really is a different world in the Middle East.
The Arab people make a clear distinction between the American people and the American government, according to Sophia.
“They say, ‘American people good: American government bad,” she said.
The two passed their days in the Arab market places and restaurants singing Arabic songs and playing Arabic instruments. The music was, they said, their key to being accepted. In the cab ride to the hotel after landing in Jordan’s capital, Amman, Powers and Sophia sang to the cab driver.
When the two Boulder residents arrived at the hotel, the driver ran out of the cab and told the hotel staff, “These people sing our music.” Next thing they knew, they were in the hotel lobby singing with the hotel staff at 3 a.m.
“It’s a cultural bridge.” Powers said.
Sophia remembered a time when a perfect stranger she was talking to on a bus handed her a baby while she did something that would never happen in America because people are so afraid, she said.
In the Arab world, there isn’t a concept of stranger and friend, Powers said. So even the baby doesn’t mind being held by a perfect stranger.
“Sometimes it’s like, ‘you know, we have a lot to learn.” he said.