Artist Profiles: Bassam Saba

Bassam Saba

Bassam Saba is a native of Lebanon, where he studied ‘ud, violin, and nay (Arab flute) at the Lebanese National Conservatory. In 1976, he moved to France where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Western Classical music and Flute Performance from the Conservatoire Municipals des Gobelins in Paris. During this time, Mr. Saba was an essential member of Marcel Khalife’s ensemble, Al-Mayadeen, playing nay, violin, and flute.

He moved to Moscow in 1985 and received a Master’s Degree in Flute Performance and Music Education at the Gnessin Musical Pedagogical Institute. After a period as Musical Director of the Beirut Symphonic Band, he moved to New York, and began performing with Simon Shaheen’s various musical ensembles, and becoming one of the premiere members of Shaheen’s Qantara group and the Near Eastern Music Ensemble, among many other musical activities.

Throughout his extensive career, Bassam Saba has been performing various styles of music ranging from Western Classical music, popular and traditional Arab music, as well as Arab fusion music. Considered one of the most outstanding nay players (end blown reed flute) and ‘ud players (Middle Eastern lute) in the United States, he has toured throughout the Middle East, Europe, Canada, South America, Australia, Africa and Japan.

In 2007 he was recognized by the National Arab American Museum as one of the 10 most outstanding artist of the last decade to make a significant difference in bringing the beauty and rich cultural history of Middle East through music to American Audiences.

His accomplishments include recording and performing with the top International, Middle Eastern and American celebrity artists including composers/musicians Ziad Rahbani, Yo Yo Ma, Marcel Khalife, Wu Man, Simon Shaheen, Toufic Farroukh (in The Absolute Orchestra) and International acclaimed vocalists Fairuz, Kadim (Kazem) Al Sahir, Majida al-Roumi, Wadi al-Safi, Khaled, Santana, Souad Massi, just to name a few.

In addition to his extensive work with Simon Shaheen, Saba composes and performs with his own musical ensemble Myriad, and is directing the Middle Eastern Ensemble at Harvard University.

Discography:

Little Secrets, with Toufic Farroukh (Silex, 1998)
Blue Flame, with Simon Shaheen (2001)
Myriades Soukoun (2001)
Drab Zeen, with Toufic Farroukh (Le Chant Du Monde, 2002)
Off the Map, with Silk Road Ensemble (2009)
Wonderful Land (2009)
Jerusalem Trilogy, with Matt Herskowitz (2010)
Provenance, with Maya Beiser (Innova, 2010)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel is also co-founder of the Transglobal World Music Chart.

Angel has also produced and remastered world music studio albums and compilations for labels such as Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, and Music of the World.

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