Our Events


Special Musical Performance: Nano Raies - I Have a Story to Tell

Sunday, December 10, 2023 - 2:00 PM | Members' Room | open to the public | free of charge | registration required

Syrian American singer-songwriter Nano Raies presents an afternoon of songs of hope for troubling times, representing her own culture and inspired by others, with pianist Russell Kranes, plus Ameer Armaly on oud, Alber Baseel on percussion, and double bassist Marwan Allam.

Nano Raies is a Syrian American singer-songwriter, composer, musician, and actress. She studied music at Berklee College of Music after fleeing the war in Syria, becoming the first Syrian woman to attend and graduate from Berklee—one of the top music schools in the world. She then moved to New York and studied acting at William Esper Studio. Nano started her music training at the age of 5, studying classical piano for 17 years. And while attending architecture school and pursuing her masters in landscape, she was training her voice with Arax Chekijian, a rare vocal coach of our time, who’s been her mentor until today.

Nano sings in Arabic, English, and French. With her music she combines her Arab background with western and modern music. Her songs take a critical look on social norms, speaking boldly about our current struggles and striving to bring awareness to unique topics. 

Her latest projects include a cover of “The Prayer” by David Foster, with her own original Arabic lyrics to honor the tenth year anniversary of the Syrian war. She also re-wrote the famous "Bella Ciao" song in Arabic for the Lebanese revolution and other countries that are going through a revolution. Nano's rendition of "Bella Ciao," titled "Thawret Shaab," became the anthem for the recent Iraqi revolution. Before that she re-wrote the Beatles’ song “Drive My Car” in Arabic in honor of Saudi women gaining the right to drive. In connection with releasing the Arabic "Drive My Car," Nano was interviewed by a number of international news outlets, such as CNN & Al-Arabiya. Nano has also had the honor of sharing the stage with major artists such as the maestro Simon Shaheen and the world renowned band Pink Martini. Other appearances include the World Bank's first musical performance at the opening of the Security-Development Nexus 2018 Spring Meeting, where she emerged among kings and queens singing to their hearts rather their minds, and a performance at UNICEF in September of 2019 in support of a case filed on behalf of 16 youth, including Greta Thunberg, against five countries for their involvement in perpetuating the climate crisis. Learn more at nanoraies.com.

Russell Kranes (piano) is the consummate professional musician. An accomplished ballet accompanist, church director and highly in-demand jazz pianist, Russell can be seen performing throughout NYC on a daily basis. He plays all styles of contemporary music and works with a vast network of incredible musicians. Highly soulful and virtuosic, Russell simply loves music and wishes to impart spirit and truth to his listeners. Russell is a former student of the late, great piano master Geri Allen.

Marwan Allam (double bass) is a New York City-based bassist, composer, and bandleader. He grew up in Tunisia and studied jazz at the Prins Claus Conservatory in Netherlands. Marwa has performed at venues and festivals such as Cairo Jazz (Egypt), Hammamet Tabarka Jazz Festival Carthage (Tunisia), Haskovo Jazz Festival (Bulgaria), Jazz Station Brussels (Belgium), National Theater of Seoul (Korea), Mediterranean Jazz Festival NYC (USA). He has performed, recorded, or toured with award-winning artists including pianists Marc Cary, Tarek Yammani, and Albert Marques, guitarists Freddie Bryant and Andreas Arnold, vocalist Liz Rosa, saxophonist Jay Rattman, and flutist Dominique Gagne.

Ameer Armaly (oud): was born in South Carolina and exposed to Arabic music from an early age through his uncle who played the oud. He then went on to study Arabic music under Simon and Najib Shaheen. He performs regularly in New York and the surrounding areas and leads an ensemble focusing on classical Arabic music.

Alber Baseel (percussion) is a Hand Percussionist from Bethlehem, Palestine. At 14 Alber began his conservatory music education at the Edward Said Conservatory, studying Classical Arabic tradition, where he learned what would become his principal instruments: Darbuka and Riq. He has been a percussion teacher at the Sounds of Palestine, a childhood music and social development program, and was also a workshop leader for the international music program Musicians Without Borders. In 2021 Alber completed his Bachelor degree in Music from Berklee College of Music in Boston. There Alber he added more percussion instruments to his repertoire, including drum set, cajon, congas, and djembe. Some of the musicians Alber has collaborated with since his arrival to the United States in 2017 include Simon Shaheen, Leo Blanco, and Alain Mallet, The National Arab Orchestra. Internationally, he has shared a stage and studio with renowned musicians Ahmad Al Khatib, Marco Markovic, and Helge Andreas Norbakken, among others. 

This event is generously underwritten by Alexander Sanger in honor of Jeannette Watson Sanger.