Road Stories Blog

Happy outcome to sad saga of a traveling oud

By Lindajoy Fenley

The oud–an ancient instrument born in Persia 3000 years before count according to Yaniv Taichman–is not always a good traveler. Yaniv’s own instrument began complaining in North Dakota during the first week of Sofi and the Baladis’ four-week Arts Midwest World Fest tour.

Riveted audiences applaud Baladis

By Lindajoy Fenley

“That was amazing!” exclaimed Willow, a first grader at Red Cottage Montessori School as Sofi and the Baladis finished their first song at a morning workshop. Her enthusiastic commentary continued throughout the morning workshop that brought the Samaritan music to a small group of schoolmates from kindergarten through fifth grade.

Minnesota offers winter weather, older audiences

By Lindajoy Fenley

A full day’s drive took Sofi and the Baladis to a completely new scenario this week. The brick buildings of historic Red Wing, Minnesota contrast with the wide-open spaces of the Dakotas and the dramatic drop in temperature, along with a possibility of snow, has given the traveling Israelis the feeling of winter.

Connecting with land and people of South Dakota

By Lindajoy Fenley

South Dakotans with the deepest cultural roots to the land offered Sofi and the Baladis stereotype-breaking profiles, just as the visiting musicians helped their audiences have a more realistic view of Israelis and the small Samaritan community where Sofi Tsedaka grew up.

Manhu in Flint, Michigan

By Shigeyo Henriquez

We arrived in Flint early evening of Sunday Oct 8. As we were checking in to the hotel I received a call from David Fraher. He had arrived in Flint to meet Manhu.

David invited us to a local Chinese restaurant where we had a delicious dinner. Friendly conversation was exchanged. Manhu appreciated David’s visit and his support.

We had great turn-out at the Flint community reception at The Whiting. Manhu’s acappella blessing song moved everyone.

First week blessed with sunshine

By Lindajoy Fenley

Although gray clouds pushed by cold winds chased away the unseasonably warm weather Friday night, Sofi and the Baladis enjoyed pleasant weather throughout the week they were in Dickinson, North Dakota. Even on a cold Saturday afternoon, the sun reemerged in time to go to the Dickinson State University concert venue.

Sharing ancient instruments and ancient song

By Lindajoy Fenley

Toryn quickly shot his hand up when Yaniv Taichman asked the students if they had ever seen an 11-string, fat-bellied, fretless instrument like the one he held up. The fifth grader from North Dakota’s Prairie Rose Elementary School surprised the visiting Israeli musicians when he said it was an oud.

Musical Exchange Begins in North Dakota

By Lindajoy Fenley

Just one hour after arriving in Dickinson, North Dakota, Sofi and the Baladis launched their four-week Arts Midwest World Fest tour at the Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge, their home for the next week.

Manhu in Marietta, OH

By Shigeyo Henriquez

Manhu was welcomed to Marietta at a reception at the People’s Bank Theater where the ensemble will perform its public concert. We were surprised and pleased to see many Chinese students, professors and staff from Marietta College. Many could speak Mandarin so Manhu felt very comfortable meeting these community people.

Chuck Swaney, Bradford Smith and Hunt Brawley listen to Manhu’s Blessing song.

Ken Carlson came to visit Manhu one last time on this tour.

Manhu concert in Corydon

By Shigeyo Henriquez

We had a great turn out in Corydon for Manhu’s public concert. Students we met during the week brought their parents, grandparents, siblings and friends, and Main Street Corydon’s patrons and community people came too. Everybody knew everyone.