Internationally renowned for research and education in the realm of science, you might not think of The University of Tennessee Space Institute as a mecca for music and the arts. However, several of the brilliant young scientists at UTSI also have a flair for the artistic and have started a UTSI Arts Club. In 2006, students Tony Saad, William Robinson, and Matthew Duran began a musical project called MiRAJ, or Musically Integrated Rumba-Afro-Jazz. “We write and perform our own music in a blend of three music styles: Rumba, a reminiscent of flamenco, Afro in its fabulous percussions, and Jazz,” said band member Tony Saad. This trio added the musical talents of Michel Akiki and Nadim Zgheib this year and began officially performing. Pictured above from left to right are UTSI resident graduate students and MiRAJ band members Michel Akiki, keyboard; William Robinson, alto sax and oboe; Tony Saad, guitar; Nadim Zgheib, percussions; and Matthew Duran, percussions.
— Photo by Eric Jacob