Music has gotten award-winning Syrian pianist and composer Malek Jandali into boiling hot water with the Syrian dictatorship. Last July, when Jandali a U.S. citizen performed one of his most popular works, Watani Ana (I Am My Homeland)
, at a rally in Washington, D.C., in support of the Syrian opposition, the Syrian government retaliated by brutally beating his 73-year-old father and 66-year-old mother. The irony of ironies was that Watani Ana
was intended to promote harmony, peace and understanding between nations. "It's just basically a song that asks for freedom and dignity for any nation anywhere anytime," Jandali said. " I wanted my musical message to be universal in all mankind." Jandali, a leading figure in the Arab musical world, has achieved international acclaim for his soulful, dynamic compositions, which combine Oriental melodies and complex harmonies into what he terms "an original blend of civilizations." This week, the Hammer Museum presents Jandali in two amazing events: "Hammer Conversations" (with his cousin, author Mona Simpson) and "Malek Jandali in Concert." Don't miss either one. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Wstwd.; Hammer Conversations: Sun., July 15, 3 p.m.; Malek Jandali in Concert: Mon., July 16, 7:30 p.m.; both events free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu.
Sun., July 15, 3 p.m.; Mon., July 16, 7:30 p.m., 2012