Ronnie Malley is a multi-instrumentalist musician, actor, educator and producer in the artistic disciplines of music and theater. He has been an ambassador in the arts for his own Middle Eastern cultural heritage, as well as other world cultural traditions, including Indian, Kashmiri, Turkish, Arab-Andalusian and African. He has worked on award-winning theatrical productions including Disney's The Jungle Book and the Broadway musical The Band's Visit. Ronnie has also performed with world music groups Lamajamal, Surabhi Ensemble, Mucca Pazza, and the Grammy award winning early music orchestra Apollo's Fire. As a playwright he wrote the original solo play, Ziryab, The Songbird of Andalusia and co-authored the play American Griot, which won the Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Award. Ronnie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Global Music Studies from DePaul University, and fosters projects for cultural understanding and global citizenry.
The webpage contains my Soundcloud playlists of material I've created for various works and genres. I perform Mid Eastern, North African, South Asian, and various styles of American music, including rock, jazz, and hip hop. As a session musician and producer, I've recorded my own music as well as appeared on over 30 albums ranging in styles. As a composer, I've written and performed music for film and theater, including Disney's theatrical production of the Jungle Book and the Tony-Award winning play, The Band's Visit.
This is a promotional video featuring the breadth of my work as a musician, producer, and playwright. All of the music was recorded by me at my studio, including the group pieces. Additionally, there is a segment about my solo play, Ziryab, The Songbird of Andalusia, which tells the story of the legendary figure Ziryab, who took the Middle Eastern instrument, al-oud to Cordoba, Spain, where it evolved to become the lute and eventually the guitar.
This is a trailer for my solo play, Ziryab, The Songbird of Andalusia, which was recorded in February 2016. The production was part of the Silk Road Rising Theatre's solo series and was sold out for its two week run. The piece explores the history of the musical instrument, al-oud, the legendary figure, Ziryab, who took al-oud from Iraq to Cordoba, Spain, and the parallels of pluralistic societies in medieval Andalusia and America. Executive director, Jamil Khoury, called the play an ambassador piece for diversity.
The work samples I submitted demonstrate the breadth of musical cultures and genres in which I have had the privilege of learning and performing. Almost all of my work demonstrates my mission of creating understanding among people through music and culture. I appreciate being able to use music as a vehicle to learn about history, a tool for creative pedagogy, and a portal through which others can explore culture.
I've been performing music professionally since the age of 12. It all started with the family band at weddings, clubs, and festivals. My main background was in Middle Eastern, Egyptian, and other North African music styles. Later I studied Indian and other South Asian music styles, and eventually earned a BA at DePaul University in Global Music Studies. Since then, I have produced several albums for the above mentioned cultures, performed with various world music ensembles (e.g., Lamajamal, Surabhi, Allos Musica, Newberry Consort, Mucca Pazza, Apollo's Fire), and worked on award winning theatrical productions (e.g., The Band's Visit, The Jungle Book, The White Snake, Macbeth at CST) as a composer, actor, musician, sound designer, and dialect coach. I am a producer, performer, and educator of various world music traditions. For over a decade, I have conducted artist residencies for CPS, guest lectured at international universities and institutions (e.g., Georgetown, U Chicago, Northwestern, SDSU, University of Cordoba).
Most of my work highlights the commonalities of our humanity while celebrating our cultural differences. I hope to be a vessel for my own Middle Eastern and North African heritage, as well as other cultures with which I have I had close contact. My ultimate mission is to use art and music to foster a sense of global citizenry.
Programs for Specific Audience(s) Expertise
I can do lecture demonstrations, school assemblies, and storytelling musical performances for Middle Eastern, North African, Egyptian, and South Asian cultures. Many of the programs I can present can be found at the following link: https://www.interculturalmusic.com/educational-programs
My performances can be solo or with other musicians from a roster of artists I've employed through my company, Intercultural Music Production. As an educator, I created and taught a world music course at the Chicago Academy for the Arts for several years, taught at the Old Town School of Folk Music for over a decade, and have conducted music and theatre residency programs for Arabic language courses at CPS since 2007.
Traditional Folk/Ethnic Artform Statement
While I have been steeped in Middle Eastern, Egyptian, and other North African music styles, I have also appeared with jazz, blues, and rock groups. I am a first generation Palestinian-American who has straddled the line of the folk and classical traditions of my own heritage as well as my heritage as an American. I feel it is a responsibility to my Arab community to maintain and pass down our traditions to the world and upcoming generations from my community. At the same time, I am privileged to be an American and able to bridge cultural gaps when teaching about my culture and that of others.
1110 Monroe St.
Evanston, IL 60202
$350 - $2000
- Arabic, French