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Columbus Makes Art Presents Percussionist Ayman Abi Kheir

 Alison Colman Columbus Makes Art Presents Percussionist Ayman Abi KheirCatch up with Percussionist Ayman Abi Kheir.
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On Feb. 5, Ayman Abi Kheir will be streaming a video performance as part of the Fuse Factory Electronic and Digital Art Lab’s Frequency Fridays experimental music and sound art series. Due to the pandemic, the series can be viewed on the Fuse Factory’s Twitch channel (twitch.tv/thefusefactory) on the first Friday of every month from October through June (except January). All Frequency Fridays live-streams begin at 8 pm.

Alison: When did you begin playing the drums?
Ayman: I first grabbed the sticks when I was eight years old, and I fell in love with drumming almost immediately. My first drum teacher, Wissam Sawaya, was very supportive of me. He was definitely instrumental in my decision to pursue drumming as a career. After I graduated from high school, I majored in jazz studies for two years at Notre Dame University in Louaize, Lebanon. While at university, I studied under professor Christopher Mikhayel Chaheen.

Alison: What did you do during those two years, and what brought you to Columbus?
Ayman: Over the course of those two years, I was a very active drummer in the Lebanese music scene, and I played a wide range of genres ranging from jazz improv to Lebanese pop. In the fall of 2018, I received a very generous scholarship from Capital University, which allowed me to transfer here and continue in jazz studies.

Alison: Are you as active in the Columbus music scene as you were in Lebanon’s music scene?
Ayman: Yes, definitely! While I’ve been in Columbus, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to perform with a wide range of  local artists. Once I got to know many local musicians, I was able to form a band, called Zayzafoon. We released our self-titled debut album in 2019; the album  consists of five original compositions featuring local Columbus musicians.

Alison: How would you describe your style and your musical influences?
Ayman: My style and musical influences are a perfect representation of my Lebanese identity. I have a deep love and appreciation for cultural music from around the world and I am influenced by a variety of genres, such as jazz, fusion, funk, rock, West and North-West African, Brazilian, Peruvian, Cuban and my native Lebanese music. I try to be as musical as I can be on the drum set, and I play rhythms I consider sacred.

Joining Ayman for Frequency Fridays on the bill is Asheville-based percussion/cello duo Adam Lion + Ashlee Booth, Nashville-based experimental electronic musician Eve Maret, and Japanese noise artist Ami Bique. The live-stream will take place on Friday, Feb. 5 on twitch.tv/thefusefactory. The show begins at 8 p.m. Donations of $5-$20 are warmly accepted at paypal.me/thefusefactory.

Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting and advancing the arts and cultural fabric of Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art. Learn more about local artists, organizations, public art and events at ColumbusMakesArt.com.

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