tarab:  a state of euphoria invoked by music 

update please donate here if you can't make any of the events : tarab 4 syria crowdrise page

We've all felt it,  out of the blue while listening to some piece of music - you get overwhelmed with emotion, get goosebumps, feel ecstatic or feel very sad and start tearing up. Often you'll catch yourself unconsciously tapping your feet, humming a tune accompanying a distant radio, or get lost in your work while music is blasting.  Sometimes you'll burst into song at a concert with thousands of others in unison, other times you're with a group of friends jamming endlessly over the same riffs with a simple drum and guitar.  Music has its way with us, it connects with higher order perception functions and works on emotions directly, without interpreters, translators or coordinating rational guardians

Music is a great unifier,  even if no one in a group can agree with the interpretation, they will all share a common visceral experience.  In that way music is like food,  food is experienced in the same visceral way by everyone.   I've often said that when you're eating a man'ousheh in mamnoon or mamnoon street, you are so much closer at that moment to someone eating a man'ousheh in Beirut. This is absolutely true of music, when you hear the traditional Umm Kalthoum,  Sabah Fakhri,  Fairuz or the ultra modern hellopsychaleppo you are so much closer to Middle Easterners through shared experience and emotion. 

One of the most amazing things to witness at mamnoon is how people of all kinds, races, religions come together, socialize and connect in the same medium of great food, surroundings and music.  We've been told that it's a unique and very appealing draw of the mamnoon dining experience. A key element for our exciting new mbar project is to replicate this diverse and ultra-social experience in an unbelievable geographic setting. 

Charity is a core part of the mamnoon mission. We have raised substantial funds over the years to help Syrian Refugees with incredible support from a generous and worldly Seattle and its amazing inhabitants.  Over the years the Refugee crisis has only gotten worse and its effects deeper and deeper.  It has all the hallmarks of becoming a multi-generational disaster, impacting not only those fleeing the strife today, but also their kids and depressingly their kids' kids. 

It's worth reflecting on this fact for a bit - the large scale Palestinian refugee crisis in the Middle East started with the events of 1948. There are Palestinian refugee camps in neighboring countries that have been continuously inhabited since then - 65+ years of refugee-dom.  The situation in the camps is deplorable and the worst part is the lack of opportunity afforded the inhabitants.  The Syrian Refugee crisis scale is at least 10 times larger than that and there is no end in sight to the conflict.   It seems that refugees get stuck in a vicious cycle where one generation leaves the subsequent generation less able to help themselves. Already the impacts on neighboring countries, the EU and events around the world are straining existing aid, financial and political systems. Just imagine what can happen over decades. 

My experience with higher education and working in the US has taught me a valuable lesson,  anyone with some freedom,  the right motivation,  education and work opportunities can build a good future for themselves, family and give back to the community.  It's really that simple.  If we can help educate and create opportunities for Syrian Refugee children they will be able to build better futures for themselves and help bootstrap others.  This is a virtuous cycle.  The only downside is that it's not immediate and needs to be nurtured for some time to get going. 

This has changed our strategy for charity,  instead of galvanizing giving for general aid (which is still necessary), we've chosen to focus on organizations and set-ups that can provide the safety, education and opportunities to start the virtuous cycle going, even if it is for relatively few.  The hope is that by doing so we can positively impact the lives of few today, and many more tomorrow. 

We've found a great organization to help us with this:  International Rescue Committee.  The IRC has been at the forefront of aid operations with Syrian Refugees, and has upped its efforts on helping build futures for children. I'll post more details on the project we will be targeting: Reyhanli Youth Center in Turkey. 

We have close to hand many elements for a primordial soup of humanity, if we can put them together and add some spark maybe we can create something that lives on.  That was the idea behind tarab 4 syria - to see if we can put everything together, and apply your spark. 

The event takes place over 2 days, in 3 locations:

-  On August 4th, and for 35$ there will be an all you can eat mamnoon street and anar food and drink menu and entertained by musicians Black Giraffe and Dj Dana Dub, Dj Spank from 4-9 pm.   

- On August 4th we will have an all inclusive special a la zao'ak menu at mamnoon with Musar Arak and curated paired wines for 250$/person, music provided by House of Tarab.  Details of the menu will be available shortly.  reservations strongly recommended. 

- On August 5th, we will host an invite-only event from 5-9 pm with a special tasting menu by Jason Stratton and some of his Top Chef colleagues. The menu paired with Chateau Musar wines and will be the first ever event held at mbar.  Music will be provided by Dj Riz. Please inquire with jonny@mamnoonrestaurant.com about this event. 

- On August 5th starting 9 pm, we will host an invite-only tarab 4 syria party on the mbar rooftop deck featuring bites and special drinks, as well as music by DJ Riz and Hellopsycaleppo.   Please inquire with jonny@mamnoonrestaurant.com about this event. 

Come join us and get into your tarab and do lasting good.  There will be many ways to participate, for all budgets and preferences.  I look forward to seeing many of you there.