The Narcicyst | photo via the artist’s Facebook

2013 was a big year for cross-disciplinary collaboration in Philadelphia – that is, if you knew where to look for it. Under the surface of the biggest headline-grabbing musical moments that hit local artists, arts and community organizations like Al-Bustan were busy premiering new music that broke barrier between Arab classical (in which its resident Takht Ensemble is most clearly versed) and other revered styles like Ladino.

They take their ever-churning momentum into overdrive with an already-packed 2014 season, starting off with a concert and series of workshops entitled We are the Medium. The performance charts new territory for the Takht Ensemble as they collaborate with Iraqi-born, Montreal-based emcee The Narcicyst to bring their respective worlds closer together.

For his part, The Narcicyst’s material resonates in the same creative headspace as artists like Mos Def and Kanye West (with both of whom he’s shared the stage) and explores faith, heritage, and the human condition over soul-tinged patchwork beats with tremendous sophistication and resolve. His 5-day residency began last night at Penn’s College Hall and ends with Sunday’s performance at Trinity Center for Urban Life. You won’t want to miss this chance to experience this idiosyncratic take on live-instrument hip-hop.

Click here for more details about The Narcicyst’s performance and residency.