Tag Archives: world music

Interview with Innovative Canadian Musician Chairman George

 Canadian artist George Sapounidis, better known as Chairman George, has a new album titled Bringing to Greek Party to China! It’s a ground-breaking recording that combines traditional Greek and Chinese music, Mandarin Chinese vocals, rock and infectious electronic dance grooves.

In terms of musical instruments, Bringing to Greek Party to China! connects Greek bouzouki and Chinese pipa and guzheng. The music video for the irresistible song “Golden Night” is fascinating and a lot of fun to watch.



Chairman George talked to World Music Central in September 2018 about his background and Bringing to Greek Party to China.

Can you give our readers a brief history on how you started singing and composing music? 

I began taking guitar lessons in Montreal in 1968 and learning folksongs by different artists from the Joan Baez Songbook. Then when we moved to Greece in 1970 my mother found me a classical guitar teacher in Athens (a Greek protégé of the Spanish virtuoso Andrés Segovia no less) and in my teens I continued to take lessons and perform classical repertoire. At the same time since we were living a bohemian lifestyle in Greece I was meeting troubadours and buskers on the Greek islands which further inspired me to sing and perform publicly.

In university in Montreal and later in Toronto I met singers from different cultures so I began singing in Hebrew, Russian and Spanish. I took a delight in singing multilingually. In the 1980’s when the famine in Ethiopia happened I wrote a song and discovered a joy and ability in songwriting.

In 1988 I began learning the Greek bouzouki after listening and feeling impassioned by the Greek blues the Rembetika. I travelled to Greece with a musical partner and we started my first band Ouzo Power which performed at Canadian music festivals.

In the 1990’s, after finishing my PhD in statistics in Toronto and working as a folksinger extensively in Greektown, I returned to Ottawa where I had a day job in the federal government and I met a woman from Beijing who inspired me to learn to sing a traditional folksong in Mandarin Chinese. This was followed by challenging myself to write songs in Chinese. This is when my music career took a radical new direction towards Asia.

What do you consider as the essential elements of your music? 

The essential elements of my music consist of sung vocals in different languages, translation of lyrics, and proficiency on the Greek bouzouki and acoustic guitar. This includes the incorporation of an eclectic array of cross cultural musical styles. I engage audiences on stage using humor while unraveling some of the mysteries of Greek and Chinese culture and language through music.

Whom can you cite as your main musical influences? 

Theodore Bikel, David Wilcox, Danny Michel.

Tell us about your first recordings and your musical evolution. 

My first full album on cassette consisted of duo interpretations of Greek Rembetika with the use of mandolin instead of bouzouki and translating Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin into Greek. The second EP consisted of standard Greek popular repertoire using larger ensembles incorporating African Senegalese rhythms. I then began dabbling in different languages and made a demo recording of songs in Russian, Hebrew, Spanish, Chinese and Greek.

When I performed my first Chinese song at the local Chinese New Year Gala in 1998 the roof fell in when the audience was applauding every 15 seconds. I realized I had discovered a vast new audience, endless musical possibilities within a new culture and my innate facility with languages.

In 2000, I gave my first major concert in Greek and Chinese in Ottawa where I invited the Greek and Chinese Embassies. Subsequently, I received an invitation from the Chinese Embassy to travel to China to perform at two international festivals. It was at this point that my music career took a radical new direction towards Asia.

My 2005 album consisted of exclusively Greek and Chinese traditional, popular and original material followed by my 2008 album of Olympic themed songs and then my 2011 CD of experimental rock-infused Greek repertoire. The culmination of my Greek and Chinese influenced musical arc has culminated in the present album where we have fused both cultures by presenting re- worked standard Greek repertoire in Mandarin.


Chairman George

What musical instruments do you use?

I use the Greek bouzouki and acoustic guitar myself. In my band we also have Chinese pipa and guzheng as well as bass, electric guitar, drums and backup vocals.

Your new album features Chinese musicians, electronic dance music beats, Chinese vocals and Greek influences. How did you come up with this combination? 

After many years performing Greek and Chinese repertoire side by side my producer Ross Murray and I decided in 2013 to go to the next step: a fusion of both. This had never been done. We chose 10 of the most well-known quintessential up tempo Greek popular songs with the intent of presenting Greek party songs to Chinese audiences, hence the album title.

I started translating these songs into Mandarin with the help of a translator while at the same time ensuring equal numbers of syllables in lines and incorporating rhyming. I developed bilingual vocals for these translated lyrics. We brought in Chinese instrumentalists we knew locally and my producer who is a recording engineer infused some of the renditions with electronic dance music beats.


Chairman George – Bringing to Greek Party to China!


What has been the reaction so far? 

Chinese audiences in China are very surprised and interested in hearing Greek songs in Chinese. Greek people are astonished at hearing their own songs recreated in what seems to them to be an incomprehensible language. Greeks are proud to know that their music is being promoted in a vast new environment.

How did you meet the Chinese musicians? 

I met the Chinese musicians in my home town of Ottawa, Canada. I already knew them well after years of performing in the local Chinese community.

You sing in Chinese, is it Mandarin? Do you speak Chinese or is it phonetic singing? 

Yes I sing in Mandarin Chinese. I speak in Mandarin Chinese and comprehend fully all lyrics that I sing.


Chairman George


If you could gather any musicians or musical groups to collaborate with, whom would that be? 

I would like to collaborate with English rock musician Peter Gabriel whom I have not met – however, more realistically I would like to collaborate with English rock musician and multi Grammy award winner Chris Birkett whom I have met.

What would the ideal Sunday look like? 

Being on a quiet Greek island having a good swim in the sun all day with friends followed by Greek dinner in a taverna while listening to live Greek music performed by local musicians.

What would you like to learn?  

I would like to learn how to cook properly in a Cordon Bleu school.

What is your favorite food?  

Greek cuisine followed by Thai cuisine.

Favorite movie or movie genre?  


If you weren’t a musician, what would you have become? 

I would become what I in fact I already am: a mathematician with a PhD.

Your greatest triumph? 

Being the subject of the award-winning W5 CTV / BBC international television documentary ‘Chairman George’ produced by EyeSteelFilm in Canada and directed by Daniel Cross a fellow Montrealer whom I met by chance on the other side of the world in China.

What do you like to do during your free time? 

Swim laps and then meet friends for a home cooked meal.

What country would you like to visit?


Do you have any other upcoming projects to share with us? 

We are creating new interpretations of Canadian popular and traditional repertoire in Chinese.


George From Athens To Beijing (2005)
Expect The World (2008)
Ouzo Power Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 (2010)
Golden Night (2014)
Bringing to Greek Party to China! (2018)

Website: chairmangeorge.com


Exceptional Global Fusion from Out of Nations

Out of Nations – Quest (Riverboat Records, 2018)

Out of Nations is a Berlin-based world fusion band led by talented reeds player and composer Lety Elnaggar. Born in the United States, Lety has Egyptian and Mexican immigrant parents and this diverse background incorporates Middle Eastern and Latin American influences to her music.

The rest of the band includes musicians from various nations, who live in Germany and add an even further multiplicity to Out of Nations. They dress in advanced, sci-fi outfits that point to a future world where humanity goes beyond nations.

On Quest, Out of Nations delivers an exquisite selection of instrumental pieces and spoken word where world music, funk and electric jazz fusion intermingle with ease. The album was recorded in Berlin and Cairo.

The musical instruments are equally diverse, including Lety’s reeds, global percussion, Arabic oud, a string ensemble, electric guitar, bass and keyboards.

The spoken word segments address issues of increased xenophobia, border security and violence against immigrants.

Out of Nations

Out of Nations includes Lety ElNaggar on saxophones, clarinet, flute, nay; Khalil Chahine as producer and arranger; Christian Tschuggnall on drums and percussion; Charis Karantzas on electric guitar; Jonas Cambien on piano, keyboards and synthesizer; Ayman Mabrouk on percussion; and Ahmed Nazmi on electric bass (who delivers superb lead bass melodies).

Guests include:

Khaled Owaida, Mohamed Refaat, Shady Elian, Mohamed Medhat, Mostafa Zaky, and Mohamed Raouf on violin; Wael Rezk, Karim Fouda, and Ashraf Ragab on viola; Dr. Khaled Dagher and Mohamed Hamdy on cello. Hany Badry on nay; Hazem Shaheen on oud; Abdallah Abozekry on saz; Brigid Babbish on bassoon; Martin Loyato on trumpet; Michel Bardon on trombone; Juan Ospina on maraca; Hany Bedair and Medhat Mamdoh on Middle Eastern percussion. Spoken Word: Verena Horne, Clare Richardson, Michael Edwards, and Axel Reinemer.

Quest is a spectacular world music album that wanders with ease and elegance between propulsive, rhythmically dynamic global beats; melodies from various traditions and vibrant jazz-rock fusion.

Buy the CD from amazon UK or the digital download from amazon.com


Mundial Montreal Unveils 2018 Music Program

World music showcase Mundial Montreal revealed the full program of the 2018 edition. The event will take place November 13-16, 2018 in Montreal, Canada.

This year’s theme is Mosaic Music. “In Canada there is a mosaic of immigrant influences, where retaining heritage is encouraged, and identity is meant to be expressed, from all corners of the world. We distinguish ourselves with an emerging awareness of the land we have colonized. Everyone but the Indigenous people are immigrants! It is a slow and sometimes painful process, but as we learn more from Indigenous people, we are creating a society that is a model for the world. Harmony, respect, awareness, sensitivity, these are the touch stone words swirling around Mundial Montreal, Canada’s Music Mosaic, in motion,” said Derek Andrews, Artistic Director, Mundial Montreal.

The opening night will feature a mosaic of female-fronted groups artists from different backgrounds, starting with Polish chant group Blisk (Toronto), followed by Haitian-Canadian singer Mélissa Laveaux (France/Canada), janggu percussion master Kim So Ra (Korea), Eastern European electro-folk experimentalists DoVira (Toronto), and finally rumba-flamenco party-starter Marinah (Spain).

Mundial Montreal is also collaborating with KAMS (Korea Arts Management Service)/PAMS (Performing Arts Market Seoul) for the third year in a row to co-present opening night’s music and mingling.
Canada’s diversity will be represented this year with 20+ artists from a large array of backgrounds, including Montrealers Ramon Chicharron (Colombia) and Waahli (Haiti), Torontonians Okan (Cuba), BC-based Farnaz Ohadi & Mashregh Ensemble (Iran) and Itamar Erez (Israel), Gordie Mackeeman and his Rhythm Boys from PEI, and many more.

Adding to international diversity in the program, Mundial will present Fränder (Sweden), Miroca Paris (Cape Verde), and funk-inspired Mardi Gras Indians Cha Wa (USA).

The week will end with a closing party featuring Montrealers Nomad’Stones (2018-19 Révélations ICI Musique), Ayrad (launching their new album!), and Daby Touré (pre-premiering his new show!).

The lineup includes Atlantic String Machine, Aurora, Ayrad, Blisk, Cha Wa, Clarinet Factory, Daby Touré, DoVira, Elle Márjá Eira, Emily Wurramara, Farnaz Ohadi & Mashregh Ensemble, Fränder, Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys, Itamar Erez, Jeremy Dutcher, Kim So Ra, Kolonien, Marinah, Mélissa Laveaux, Miroca Paris, Nomad’Stones, OKAN, OktoEcho, Perséides, Ramon Chicharron, Riit, Sina Bathaie, Silla and Rise, Socalled, Tamar Ilana & Ventanas, Urban Science Brass Band and Waahli.


The Andrea Parodi Awards Finalists 2018 to Arrive from Across the Globe

Artists from diverse backgrounds, from Italy’s Piedmont to Sicily, from Cyprus to Senegal are among the finalists of the only World Music Contest in Italy, the “Andrea Parodi Awards”. This year’s edition will be held November 8-10 in Cagliari at the Teatro Auditorium Comunale.

The following artists are scheduled to compete:

    • Aniello Misto with “Aumm aumm” (Neapolitan);
    • Ararat Ensemble Orchestra with “Nietaan” (Wolof);
    • Dindùn with “L’amur” (Piedmontese);
    • Giuseppe Di Bella with “Ncucciarisi” (Sicilian);
    • Feral Cor with “La Sajetana” (Genoese);
    • Kor with “Albore” (Logudorese);
    • La Maschera with “Te vengo a cerca ‘” (Neapolitan and Wolof);
    • Monsieur Doumani with “Gongs” (Cypriot);
    • Terrasonora with “Padre vostro” (Neapolitan and Swahili).

The event is organized by the Andrea Parodi Foundation. The artistic director is acclaimed Italian vocalist Elena Ledda. Additionally, important guests from both the Italian and international music scene will soon be announced. Ottavio Nieddu will be the presenter with the collaboration and interventions of Gianmaurizio Foderaro.

The winner of the “Parodi” will have the opportunity to perform in the 2019 editions of the “European Jazz Expo” in Sardinia, at Folkest in Friuli, the Negro Festival of Pertosa (SA), the Mei di Faenza, of the Parodi Awards and in various other events and music programs that will be announced as soon as possible. In addition to this, the winner will be receive a financial award for their artistic growth to a maximum amount of 2,500 euros.

There will also be a tour of eight concerts, offered by NuovoImaie (project financed with the funds in Art. 7 L. 93/92).

Andrea Parodi

The contest celebrates the memory of Andrea Parodi, an artist who went from singer-songwriter with Tazenda to a solo career of highly valued re-elaboration of his roots, thanks to which he became an international reference in the world music scene, collaborating among other artists with Al Di Meola and Noa.

In addition to the aforementioned, partners of the event include: Premio Bianca d’Aponte, Mare e Miniere, Premio Città di Loano for traditional Italian music, Labimus (Interdisciplinary Laboratory on Music by the University of Cagliari, Department of History, Cultural Heritage and Territory), Barumini Foundation – Culture System. Media partners are Radio Rai, Radio Popolare, Radio Sintony, Unica Radio, Sardegna 1 Tv, Tiscali, Il Giornale della musica, Blogfoolk, Mundofonias (Spain), Doruzka (Czech Rep.), Concertzender (Holland).

The Andrea Parodi Awards is organized by the homonymous Foundation thanks to: Autonomous Region of Sardinia (Founder), Department of Public Education, Cultural Heritage, Information, Sports and Entertainment and Department of Tourism, Crafts and Commerce; Fondazione di Sardegna, Cagliari City Council (patrons and sponsors), Nuovoimaie, SIAE – Italian Society of Authors and Publishers, Federation of Authors.

The Andrea Parodi Foundation can be supported through 5×1000 and voluntary donations. All information can be found on the Foundation website: www.fondazioneandreaparodi.it.


Artist Profiles: Fully Fullwood

Fully Fullwood

Hailing from Kingston, Fully Fullwood is one of the most popular and well-known reggae bass players in the world and has worked and recorded with every major artist out of Jamaica.

Best known as the founder and leader 1970s reggae band Soul Syndicate, Fully Fullwood was instrumental in shaping the sounds of Jamaican music. He has toured and/or recorded with some of the world’s most respected reggae artists, including Bob Marley, Joe Higgs, The Mighty Diamonds and many others. He was also a member of reggae superstar Peter Tosh’s band Word, Sound and Power.
Fullwood and his band, The Fully Fullwood Band, backed artists such as Justin Hinds, U-Roy, The Itals, and Michael Rose of Black Uhuru.

Fully Fullwood’s first solo album For All Time was released on February 14, 2006 on Bad Daddy Records. The CD is influenced by the musical vibes emanating from Jamaica, but also includes an international flavor. He ventured far beyond reggae, displaying his love of South American and Asian music, and jazz.


For All Time ‎(Bad Daddy Records, 2006)
Fully Loaded (Fullwood Music, 2011)
Crazy Town (Fullwood Music, 2013)
Breathe Deep (Fullwood Music, 2016)


Irresistible Bokanté

Bokanté – What Heat (Real World Records, 2018)

What Heat is the second album by the fabulous world music band Bokanté. It is a project led by multi-instrumentalist Michael League, who also leads Snarky Puppy, one of the finest jazz fusion bands at the moment.

Bokanté fits perfectly with the Real World Records sensibility of high quality contemporary world music. Bokanté features the lead vocals of Malika Tirolien, who sings in Guadeloupean Creole and the music is fantastic.

On What Heat, Bokanté collaborates with Metropole Orkest from Chicago. It’s a masterfully-constructed recording with lush arrangements where Caribbean music, jazz, blues, Middle Eastern elements, cinematic classical music and West African influences are elegantly intertwined.

The global fusion in this case works seamlessly. Although Malika Tirolien’s vocals anchor the songs beautifully, there is plenty of space for the instrumentalists with unexpected, yet exquisite orchestral interactions; masterful bluesy dobro; spectacular drumming; string instruments from across the world; and much more.

The lineup on What Heat includes: Malika Tirolien on vocals; Michael League oud, cümbüs, fretless acoustic bass, electric bass, Minimoog, 12-string acoustic guitar, daf, sumbati, dayera, bendir, riq, tambourine, handclaps, vocals; Bob Lanzetti on 6-string acoustic guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar, baritone acoustic guitar, and vocals; Chris McQueen on 6-string acoustic guitar, baritone acoustic guitar, and vocals; Roosevelt Collier on dobro and vocals; André Ferrari on concert bass drum, bass drum, frame drum, dayera, goat nails, cymbals, grouse pipe, matchbox, hand claps, tamborim, katak bells, pandeiro, antique chains, crotals, wooden Japanese bicycle bell, shekere piccolino; Jamey Haddad on hadjini, hadjira, jembe, darbuka, shaker, riq, ocean drum, daf, frame drum, handclaps; Keita Ogawa on mushroom drum, ceramic vase, talking drum, bendir, daf, cowbells, the thing, shakers, bells, pandeiro, bass pandeiro, handclaps; and Weedie Braimah on jembe and vocals.

The Metropole Orkest, Conducted by Jules Buckley, featuring:

1st violin: Arlia de Ruiter, Vera Laporeva, Sarah Koch, Denis Koenders, Pauline Terlouw, David Peijnenborgh, Christina Knoll, Casper Donker;
2nd violin: Herman van Haaren, Wim Kok, Jasper van Rosmalen, Ruben Margarita, Robert Baba, Ewa Zbyszynska, Merel Jonker;
Viola: Norman Jansen, Mieke Honingh, Julia Jowett, Iris Schut, Isabella Petersen/Wouter Huizinga;
Cello: Emile Visser, Maarten Jansen, Annie Tangberg, Jascha Albracht; double bass Erik Winkelmann, Arend Liefkes, Tjerk de Vos;
Flute: Mariël van den Bos / Janneke Groesz, Janine Abbas;
Saxophone/clarinet: Marc Scholten, Paul van der Feen / David Kweksilber, Leo Janssen, Sjoerd Dijkhuizen, Max Boeree / Nils van Haften;
Horn: Pieter Hunfeld, Felix Peijnenborgh, Lies Molenaar / René Pagen; tromboneJan Oosting, Martijn Sohier, Jan Bastiani;
Bass trombone: Martin van den Berg;
Orchestral percussion: Eddy Koopman, Murk Jiskoot.

What Heat is one of the finest world music albums of 2018, showcasing the versatile, modern and bewitching talent of Bokanté.

Buy What Heat


Artist Profiles: Nakaira


Nakaira is a world music group from Italy. It performs traditional music from Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East and the Celtic Areas (Ireland, Northern Spain, etc.), as well as its original music (always inspired by the traditions of the above mentioned areas).

The band’s musical project aims to connect styles of different cultures. In doing this, Nakaira uses various traditional instruments. In addition, the group is also working on the popular music of Sicily, where it comes from.

Nakaira’s members don’t have the intention of acting as ethnomusicologists, but instead, it tries to give listeners a taste of the sounds and rhythms of various traditions. Sometimes the different styles are combined closely together in order to reveal their similarities, but other times they are mixed to get a pleasing musical result.

Melthemi is the title of Nakaira’s 2003 CD and it is also name of a Mediterranean wind. It enabled the first people who discovered it to trace new routes in the Mediterranean Sea and to enhance the spreading of cultures and populations. This is the spirit that drove the band in the recording of its second CD: original and traditional music. A trip from Greece to Sephardic Spain, and to the outskirts of the Middle East, passing through Sicily, Nakaira’s native land. Melthemi rides on the wings of a song in Sicilian dialect, whose text was been expressively written for the album by Sicilian singer-songwriter Carlo Muratori based on an original Nakaira theme.

Musicians: Antonio Curiale – violin, ud; Fulvio Farkas – percussion; Angelo Liotta – strings; Vincenzo Virgillito – bass;


Musiche A Danzare Tra Oriente E Occidente ‎(Musicisti Associati Produzioni, 2000)
Melthemi (2003)
Di Terra E Di Mare ‎(Alfa Music, 2009)


Artist Profiles: Dounia


Dounia was formed by musicians from Palestine and Sicily (Italy). The band centers its musical project on a predominant acoustic base. It blends the Middle Eastern voice of Faisal Taher with a special amalgam of melodies, harmonies and rhythms coming from all over the Mediterranean basin. The result exceeds any form of contamination to create Dounia’s little world .

Dounia successfully took part in various national and international festivals. The group participated with a piece, Salam ya bahar, on the compilation of Sicilian artists Mastrarua, produced by Musica e suoni (R.T.I.).

The band has also composed music for theater, such as Una donna di Ragusa with Aldo Reggiani, Maravigliosamente un amor mi distringe directed by Gaetano LizzioChe farai fra’ Jacopone, Medea and Antonio e Cleopatra directed by Ninni Bruschetta.

Two of their pieces form part of the soundtrack of the fiction film Un’isola d’inverno, in which the group also appears, which was produced by RAI (italian national network television) and was directed by Gianluigi Calderoni. They have composed the sound track of Rimedi contro l’amore directed by Giovanna Sonnino.

Dounia produced an album by Cecilia Pitino, of which they are also composers of a lot of the pieces.

Faisal Taher – vocals; Vincenzo Gangi -guitars; Riccardo Gerbino – percussion; and Giovanni Arena – double bass.


New World (Altrosud, 2001)
Monkey (Il Manifesto, 2005)


Artist Profiles: Antonio Forcione

Antonio Forcione

England based Italian guitarist Antonio Forcione has developed a dynamic and original blend of gypsy, folk, flamenco, jazz, Indian and Latin sounds.

He has recorded many albums of predominantly original material with companies such as Virgin Venture, Jazzpoint, Naim and K-Tel International, with guest artists such as Trilok Gurtu and Kai Eckhardt. Several of these have hit the top 10 of various European Jazz Charts such as Jazz FM, MTV, Tower Records and others.

Forcione has shared the stage with John McLaughlin and opened, often solo, for others such as Phil Collins at the Royal Festival Hall, Bobby McFerrin in Germany, Zucchero in Austria, Van Morrison in Madrid, Barclay James Harvest and Jools Holland.

Antonio Forcione was awarded the Covent Garden Entertainer of the Year in 1983 when he first arrived in England which led straight to a BBC TV appearance. Since then the Arts Council of Great Britain have granted him project awards

In 2001 at the Edinburgh Festival he won the ‘Best Spirit of the Fringe 2001’ Award

In 2002 he won the Award for Excellence at Adelaide Festival 2002.

In 2003, he released Touch Wood, his first recording with his World Music Quartet, featuring Jenny Adegayan (Nigeria), Adriano Pinto (Brazil) and Giorgi Serci (Sardinia).

His first recordings were as a duo with Spanish musician Eduardo Niebla. He has performed or recorded with Bobby McFerrin, Phil Collins, Jools Holland, Zucchero, Pino Daniele, Charlie Haden, John McLaughlin, Trilok Gurtu, Steps Ahead, Leo Kottke, and Biréli Lagrène.


Light & Shade ‎(Sol International Records, 1984)
Eurotour 84 (Sol International Records, 1985)
Celebration (Virgin Records Venture, 1987)
Poema ‎(Jazzpoint Records, 1992)
Dedicato (Naim, 1996
Acoustic Revenge (Naim, 1993
Live at Edinburgh Festival (1993)
Dedicato (Naim, 1996)
Meet Me In London (Naim, 1998)
Ghetto Paradise (Naim, 1998)
Vento Del Sud ‎(Naim, 2000)
Live! ‎(Naim, 2000)
Touch Wood (Naim, 2003)
Tears Of Joy (Naim, 2005)
Heartplay (Naim, 2006)
Sketches Of Africa ‎(Antastic, 2012)
Compared To What (Antastic, 2016)


Live! (Inspiration) (2000)
Antonio Forcione Quartet in Concert (2005)


Artist Profiles: Yair Dalal

Yair Dalal

Yair Dalal, composer, violinist and oud player is probably the most prolific Israeli ethnic musician today.Over the last decade he has put nine albums, covering wide and varied cultural territory. Much of Dalal’s output reflects the strong affinity he has for the desert and its inhabitants. Dalal’s family came to Israel from Baghdad and he has included much Iraqi material in his work to date.

Whether working on his own, or with his Alol ensemble, Dalal creates new Middle Eastern music by interweaving the traditions of Iraqi and Jewish Arabic music with a range of influences originating from such diverse cultural milieus as the Balkans to India. The evocative compositions comprise a unique and colorful sound. Dalal’s musicianship is truly independent of time or trends. His work is enhanced by the polished skills of his colleagues in the Alol ensemble who imbue the music with different ethnic backgrounds, playing instruments from the Middle East and Asia – including numerous Arabic percussion instruments, tabla, sitar, flute, clarinet, lyre and saz – and invoking Iraqi, Moroccan, Persian and even Bedouin singing styles.

Yair Dalal performs different repertoires, including classical Jewish Arabic music and material that draws on Babylonian traditions. He is one of a handful of artists who preserve and sustain the Babylonian musical heritage. The wonderful Jewish Iraqi musicians who emigrated from Iraq to Israel in the 1950s, from whom Dalal learned much of his craft, have either passed away or are very old.

Dalal also uses his extensive array of skills to span musical genres in performing his own compositions rooted in this musical tradition and inspired by the desert. Living in such a rich multicultural society, such as Israel, has imbued his art with the musical treasures of numerous cultural heritages.

During the past years he has collaborated with top musicians from all over the globe, from different disciplines, including celebrated western classical conductor and Maestro Zubin Mehta, Israeli Chamber Orchestra and Doron Solomon, Jordi Savall and member of Hesperion XXI, L. Shankar, Hamza el Din, Michel Bismuth, Ken Zuckerman, Armand Aamar, Shlomo Mintz, Cihat Askin ,Maurice el Medioni and Mustafa Raza, Ensemble Kaboul, Adel Salameh, The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Jerusalem Kamerata Orchestra and more. He participates and lectures in Keshet Eilon-Violin workshops, ISME -Music Education, European Network for Traditional Music and Dance, Mendocino Middle East Music Camp USA and initiator of Mediterranean Musical Dialogue in Israel.

Yair Dalal is a peace activist in all means; besides his musical endeavors, he devotes much time and energy to helping to remove ideological barriers between people and musicians from different cultures and, in particular between Jews and Arabs. He is collaborating with Palestinian musicians from the Middle East and has initiated and formed many peace projects such as: Shalom Salaam concert in 1994, Key Note Circle for Peace and performance and CD recordings Music Channel and performing at the Nobel Peace Prize gala concert in Oslo 1994.


Al Ol (Al Sur, 1996)
Samar (Magda, 1997)
Silan (Amiata, 1998)
Azame (Magda, 1999)
Diáspora Sefardí – Romances & Música Instrumental ‎(Alia Vox, 1999)
Shacharut (Magda, 2000)
Perfume Road (Magda, 2001)
Yair Dalal (Magda, 2002)
Asmar ‎(Magda, 2002)
One ‎(Magda, 2003)
Silan (Magda, 2006)
Inshalla Shalom: Live in Jerusalem (Magda, 2006)
Band Orient ‎(Magda, 2008)
Istanbul «Le Livre De La Science De La Musique» Et Les Traditions Musicales Sépharades Et Arméniennes ‎(Alia Vox, 2009)
…And You Love… ‎(Magda, 2011)
Israel in Egypt: From Slavery to Freedom (Capriccio Records, 2012)