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aannhCaravanserai Concluded with Arif Lohar Residency & Concert
One of Pakistan's Most Beloved Folk Artists Tours with World Music Songstress

Caravanaserai, funded in part by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and managed by Arts Midwest, introduces American audiences to some of the most exciting and dynamic artists from the Muslim world. The Arts Alliance is proud to be one of five arts organizations nationwide chosen to participate in the project's pilot year.

Arts Alliance of Northern NH Selected for International Cultural Program
One of 5 Organizations Nationwide to Participate in Pilot Project

"In the east, in days gone by, when the hazards of travel were many and the comforts were few, travelers often banded together in caravans for protection. Stopping places for the caravans were called caravanserais...and they were a place to sit around a fire at night and exchange stories...In the day, travelers...might see each other only as silhouettes wavering in the heat haze. At night, under the starry sky, they could come together the travelers, the caravanserais were a cheerful source of news, companionship and entertainment." -- Nawab Pasnak

The Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire is one of five arts organizations nationwide selected to participate in "Caravanserai: A place where cultures meet." The groundbreaking program, funded by a grant from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, aims to establish greater understanding between American and Muslim societies by showcasing the diversity of contemporary Islamic societies through their art and culture.

CaravanseraiCaravanserai comprises a series of community-based performing arts and film residencies featuring extraordinary art and artists from Muslim cultures. The pilot program will focus on music and film from Pakistan and will feature compelling contemporary vocal and instrumental music, as well as work by an award-winning Pakistani filmmaker.

"The name Caravanserai was carefully selected for this program," says David Fraher, Executive Director of Arts Midwest, which is coordinating the program. "Historically, in the East and Middle East, stopping places for caravans were called caravanserais -- safe places to sit around the fire, come together, and exchange stories. The name evokes that imagery of travelers in a safe haven, in a place where cultures meet. We're delighted that the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire is providing one of those stopping places for an exciting cultural experience."

Beginning in October 2011, the Arts Alliance will host three arts residency experiences in communities throughout northern New Hampshire, including two week-long musical residency tours featuring traditional and contemporary Pakistani performing arts ensembles, and a film residency with a contemporary filmmaker. Residency activities will include educational workshops, lecture demonstrations and screenings in schools, universities and community settings; jam sessions with local artists; reading circles at local libraries; receptions and discussions at community sites; and public performances.

"We are honored -- and excited -- to be chosen as one of the host organizations for this amazing program," says Frumie Selchen, Executive Director of the Arts Alliance. "We think northern New Hampshire residents as well as visitors will be amazed by the touring artists, and those artists will also be extremely interested in our local culture and communities. We already have many partners, including colleges, agencies and organizations, churches, schools and libraries. The exchange will provide us all with many opportunities to explore ideas and connections."

Caravanserai features a roster of outstanding artists representing contemporary Muslim art and culture,including:
* Arif Lohar -- Pakistani folk singer and chimta artist
* Abid Sain and Rasheed Abdul -- Virtuoso dhol artists
* Qawwal Najmuddin Saifuddin -- Qawwali singers
* Sanam Marvi -- Pakistani folk and Sufi singer
* Ustad Tari Khan -- US-based Pakistani tabla master
* Ayesha Khan -- Pakistani filmmaker, "Made in Pakistan"

Organizations or businesses that would like to host a program or provide lodging or hospitality for the visiting artists (starting with 13 in the October tour!) or anyone who would like additional information, can contact the Arts Alliance at or (603) 323-7302. Individual volunteers will also be needed.

Other organizations participating in the Caravanserai tour include: Artswego SUNY Oswego, Oswego, NY; FirstWorks, Providence, RI; Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ; and The Myrna Loy Center, Helena, MT.

The Building Bridges Program of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts aims to promote the use of arts and media to improve Americans' understanding of Muslim societies. The program seeks to support initiatives that use arts and media to highlight the diversity of Muslim populations around the world. Learn more at

Caravanserai is led by Arts Midwest, the non-profit regional arts organization serving America's upper mid-west on behalf of the nation's six Regional Arts Organizations, including the New England Foundation for the Arts. Future programming will feature other geographic regions and artistic disciplines and will travel to more cities across the United States.