THE MUSICIANS BEHIND DISCOVERY SERIES: MIDDLE EAST

All of the musicians who contributed to the MIDDLE EAST library are among the very best in the world.

Mohammad Reza Mortazavi (daf, tombak)

Mohammad Reza Mortazaviborn was born in Isfahan, Iran, in 1978. He began tombak lessons at the age of 6, and learned so quickly that by the age of 9 his skill already matched that of his teacher. By the age of only 20 he was considered by many as the world’s best tombak player, and now travels the world performing for festivals, television, concerts, and more.

Ayşe Küey (kanun)

Ayse Küey was born 1964 in Izmir. She attended the Turkish Music Conservatory of Ege University, learning to play the kanun. Afterwards she was accepted to the İzmir State Classical Turkish Music Choir. In addition she has sung in choirs and has played solo concerts in Turkey and around the world.

Emre Sınanmış (zurna)

Born in Diyarbakir, a city on the banks of the Tigris in Turkey, Emre has played zurna, duduk, balaban and mey since an early age. He now lives in Istanbul and, since 2015, has been an in-house artist for the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, Turkey’s national public broadcaster. He is also a guest musician for many festivals.

Ozan Pars (kudüm, daire, darbuka, riq)

Born in 1983, in Kütahya, Turkey, Ozan received the bulk of his musical education in Izmir, on the Aegean coast. Ozan first trained as a singer, before later studying Tanbur and various percussion instruments. Equally at home in many styles of music, he is a highly in-demand musician and singer for many types of projects.

Şeref Dalyanoglu (oud, saz, tanbur)

Born 1966, in the historic Turkish city of Gaziantep, Şeref has lived in Germany since the age of 8. He taught himself to play music and received oud lessons from from Serhan Aytan at the Istanbul Technical University State Conservatory of Turkish Music. He is an important figure in the German intercultural scene and has a sound studio and music school in Kissing.

İstanbul Strings (string Ensemble)

Founded in 1996, İstanbul Strings are one of the top session violin groups in Turkey. They’re in great demand for soundtracks, tv serials, and top ten hits. Their recording session in Istanbul was organized by Murat Ertel – producer, singer-songwriter, and the electric saz player of BaBa ZuLa.

Khader Ahmad (darbuka, frame drums, riq)

Khader Ahmad was born in Tyre, in southern Lebanon, but raised in Berlin, Germany. He has gained a global reputation for his innovative work with famous dancers and musicians, and for his unique ability to combine traditional arabic music with modern electronic pop, shaabi, and belly dance. His brilliant playing makes him a highly sought-after percussionist.

Yavuz Akalin (ney)

Hailing from Kütahya in Western Turkey, Yavuz was born in 1965. He attended the Istanbul Technical University State Conservatory of Turkish Music, where he was taught by famous ney player, Niyazi Sayın. Now based in the coastal city of Izmir, Yavuz is ranked among the best ney players in the world, and is a member of the Izmir State Orchestra of Classical Turkish Music.

Duygu Dürüst (kemençe)

Born 1981, in Izmir, Turkey, Duygu Dürüst studied classical kemençe. Since 2007 she has been a member of the Turkish Orchestra of Dance and Music. She still resides in Izmir and is one of the most in-demand kemençe players, both in Turkey and around the world. She regularly contributes to studio recordings and workshops.

Sebastian Flaig (darbuka)

Born in Freiburg, Germany, Sebastian Flaig studied ethnic percussion and jazz drums in Leipzig and Istanbul, under masters like Misirli Ahmet and Majid Khaladj. Proficient in styles from Middle East percussion to jazz and contemporary music, he has performed around the globe, including Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Bulgaria, and various South American countries.

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