On April 20, 2020, our lead percussion teacher, Michel Merhej, passed away from Covid-19. Mr. Merhej was a founding faculty member of the Arabic Music Retreat, and taught at every Retreat since 1997. He was a beloved member of our music community and will be missed.
Mr. Merhej was a leading percussionist in Lebanon, having performed with the great star Fairuz on many occasions. He performed with Simon Shaheen’s Near East Music Ensemble for decades. He was known for his nuanced and always reliable performances on the riqq, the Arabic tambourine.
The Retreat community mourns his passing, and sends condolences to his family. An on-line memorial is being planned for this summer.
This video was produced in his honor by Moroccan film-maker Tarik Benbrahim.