The Center for French and Francophone Studies

Zeina Abirached: Le Piano Oriental: Lecture in English.

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zeina photo


In the fall of 2013, Zeina Abirached came to campus and shared a first rendition of her graphic novel  — a family story revolving around an unusual musical invention.  Duke and Triangle audiences were intrigued by her playful project of composing a Franco-Arabic narrative, and drawing it in her signature black-and-white graphic style.

Next week, November 18-20, Zeina Abirached will be back in Durham to present the novel, Le Piano oriental just out now.

Her latest work follows in the autobiographical vein of her earlier books, Catharsis, Le Jeu des hirondelles that students have been reading for a number of years.  Le Piano oriental is the story of her great-grandfather in Beirut, Lebanon, who built a ‘bi-lingual ‘ instrument that could play both oriental and occidental music, and Abirached’s own bilingualism in Arabic and French.    The prototype of the piano is still in the family’s possession, and during Abirached’s talk on Wednesday, the 18th, the audience will have the opportunity to hear it being played by the grandfather (recorded by his son).

 A wonderful provocation for those interested in multi-lingualism  and musicality in the Middle East and the French-speaking world…and of course the graphic arts.

Abirached’s visit, organized by Clare Tufts, is co-sponsored with the Dept. of Romance Studies, Art, Art History and Visual Studies, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, the French Language Program, the Trinity College Language Committee.

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