Indianapolis, May 10, 2018 – Salaam will perform a mix of traditional and original Middle Eastern music on Thursday, May 17, as Eskenazi Health hosts the first of its Performer-in-Residence program concerts. The noon performance will take place in the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation Concourse on the first floor of the Sandra Eskenazi Outpatient Care Center.

The concert is part of the Marianne Tobias Music Program at Eskenazi Health, Performer-in-Residence Program. It is the first in a series that brings local musicians to the downtown Eskenazi Health campus. Salaam will perform at least four additional times as part of the new residency program.

“We know that exposure to music, art and natural light is not only soothing, but is also a healing influence for the body and soul,” said Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO of Eskenazi Health. “Research has demonstrated the importance of the arts in health care outcomes. That’s why art in its various forms is central to our model of health and healing.”

Eskenazi Health is also beginning to live stream its concerts via televisions to patients across its main campus. This will allow patients who are bedridden in an inpatient unit to watch and enjoy the music performed at Eskenazi Health.

“Music is a great tool to inspire, to express and to heal,” said Kyle Long, curator of the new residency program. “By establishing a performer-in-residence program, we are able to extend our support to local musicians and bring even more music to the patients, visitors and staff at Eskenazi Health.”

Salaam, based in Bloomington, IN, has delighted audiences for years with its collection of Middle Eastern and North African music. The band is led by Dena El Saffar who uses her own eclectic musical upbringing to create a sound rooted in maqam (the modal system used throughout the Middle East), with tasteful forays into Latin, African, Balkan, Rock, Blues, and Classical styles. El Saffar will be performing as a duo alongside percussionist Tim Moore during the concerts at Eskenazi Health. The name Salaam means “peace” in Arabic.

“I am deeply honored that Salaam has been selected as a 2018 Performer-in-Residence for this new and inspiring Eskenazi Health program,” said Dena El Saffar. “It is a unique pleasure to perform at Eskenazi Health; there is always a feeling of spontaneity and kismet as many people who are passing through during our performance will stop for a while to listen.”

El Saffar received a degree in Viola Performance at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She plays the viola, violin, joza and 'oud, and loves singing old Iraqi songs.

The power of music positively impacting health has been well-documented. Studies have shown that music not only can provide comfort and peace to patients and families, but also can be effective in treating a wide variety of conditions from depression to chronic pain.

Since the opening of the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital, the Marianne Tobias Music Program has hosted a number of notable performers throughout its campus. Tobias helped to establish the program in 2013, including donating a concert grand piano that resides in the main concourse of the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital.

To learn more about the Marianne Tobias Music Program and to find a list of upcoming concerts, please contact the Eskenazi Health Foundation at 317.880.4900 or visit


Tom Surber
Phone: 317.880.4793
Cell: 317.402.9327
Pager: 317.310.5972 

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