Artist Profiles: Radiodervish


The music of the Radiodervish (from the Persian dar and wish: visitors of doors) was born from the meeting between Palestinian musician Nabil and Italian artist Michele. Two lives, two worlds that virtually are thousands and that relate mutually and do not fear to be contaminated. Nabil and Michele live on the frontier, seeking roads and bridges between the East and the West. They explore the no man’s land, the border and the space that unifies and separates at the same time. They tell the story of a world which exists and which is self-sufficient. They tell the story of interior journeys set out by men and women who belong to different spaces, cultures and times. They tell the story of hidden but always vital paths whose trails are symbols and myths that permeate the cultures which they belong to. Biblical and Sufi symbolism, earthly loves and mystic nostalgia sung in Italian, in Arabic, in English and in French with a marked sense of melody joined by the sonority that is rooted in both the Western culture and the Arabic tradition.

Michele and Nabil meet in the mid-1980s in the city of Bari (southern Italy) where they visited university circles, studying respectively Philosophy and Engineering. In June 1980 they founded the Al Darawish and immediately made a name for themselves as one of the most important groups on the Italian world music scene. They received a very good response from both the public and the critics. They produced two albums and played more than 300 concerts.

In 1997 Nabil and Michele bring to an end their experience with Al Darawish and founded the new Radiodervish. In 1998 they signed a record contract with Giovanni Lindo Ferretti &Massimo Zamboni’s I Dischi del Mulo. In July at the apartments of the Castello Episcopio in Grottaglie (South Italy) they produced their first album under Radiodervish: Lingua contro Lingua (Dischi del Mulo/PolyGram), in collaboration with the artistic production of Fabio Recupero and Mauro Andreolli. The album was presented at the Salone della Musica in Turin and won the Premio Ciampi as the best record debut of the year. In January of 1999 the Lingua contro Lingua tour began.

During this period, Radiodervish made many contacts with artists from the Middle East, like Rim Banna, Amal Morkus and Israeli singer Noa.

At the end of 1999 a new collaboration with Italian artist Lorenzo Cherubini (Jovanotti) began. For his music video Stella Cometa, Nabil was asked to translate into Arabic a part of the song and to sing it. In July 2000 a new Jovanotti’s single Dolcefareniente was published. It contained the medley version of the Stella Cometa sung by Nabil and Jovanotti and the Arabic version sung uniquely by Nabil.

The same year the friendship between Nabil and Noa became more solid and was made important by the delicate political situation in the Middle East. In July 2000 the town council of Melpignano (in the Province of Lecce) granted to both the singers the Honorary Citizenship for the common engagement for peace. In December they received from the United Nations an invitation to sing together in the Duomo of Monreale (Palermo) in front of the Heads of States. The orchestra that accompanied them was directed by Maestro Nicola Piovani (author of the R. Benigni’s soundtrack La Vita è bella).

In 2001 Radiodervish produced a new presentation in which for the first time they collected their repertoire in an “acoustic version”. The new album called In Acustico gave way to a tour linked to a particular project of raising funds for the international association Salaam Ragazzi dell’Olivo which operates for Palestinian children in the Al Fawwar refugee camp in Hebron – West Bank.

In March 2001 in the La Vallisa, an Old Church in Bari, a live concert was held. Its songs and pictures became the material for a new CD-ROM.

Radiodervish played at the Fete de la Musique in Beirut on June 21st, 2001. They were accompanied by film director Marco Preti, who prepared a documentary about their days in Lebanon, and by a journalist, Massimo Zamboni who wrote about this experience on the Diario.

On January 5th, 2002, during the annual Epiphany Concert, in the Monastero Santa Chiara in Naples, Nabil sang with Noa the Centro del mundo, composed and written by Nabil and Michele. The event was broadcast by the National Italian TV (RAI).

In May of 2002 Radiodervish took part in the traditional Labor Day concert in Brussels dedicated to Middle Eastern peace development. On the same theme, the band performed that same month at the Coloseum’s concert in Rome “Centro del mundo” once again with Noa.

To promote its 2002 album, Radiodervish started a promotional tour in July, while at the same it worked on a special project with the Arab-Israeli Orchestra of Nazareth for the Negroamaro festival in south Italy: songs from Arabic traditional music performed on the same stage together with some of the most famous songs of the band.


Lingua contro lingua (Dischi del Mulo/PolyGram), 1998)
In acustico (2001)
Centro Del Mundo ‎(Il Manifesto, 2002)
In Search Of Simurgh (Il Manifesto, 2004)
Amara Terra Mia (Radio Fandango, 2006)
L’Immagine Di Te ‎(Radio Fandango, 2007)
Beyond The Sea (Il Manifesto, 2009)
Bandervish (Il Manifesto, 2010)
Dal Pesce Alla Luna (Sony Music, 2012)
Human ‎(Sony Music, 2013)
Café Jerusalem (Cosmasola, 2015)
Il Sangre E Il Sal ‎(Cosmasola, 2018)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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