Our wonderful music teachers for 2016!

Faisal Zedan


Born in 1972 in  Beirut, Lebanon and raised in Oum Dbaib, Syria, Faisal Zedan grew up impassioned with the Derbakki. At the age of 15, after intensive study with a local drummer, Faisal embarked on a journey of learning through exposure to a wide repertoire of Arabic classical and contemporary music. Years of tireless practice, along with the love of the drumming, has resulted in the mastery of the Derbakki, as well as the Riq and Def ( Arabic/Turkish frame drum). Faisal embodied the elements essential to Arabic drumming combined with a deeper understanding of the complexities of Arabic musical structures, from the classical Muwashahat and Adwar style, to simpler folkloric styles, to belly dance. Faisal has studied and performed many Arabic styles of music and drumming; from Moroccan to Iraqi and the music of the Arab Peninsula and Yemen, as well as Middle Eastern styles such as; Turkish, Armenian, Persian and Afghan, and Balkan and Greek styles from Eastern Europe. His unique approach mixes thousands of years of tradition with pure emotion and a contemporary feel. After coming to California in 1992, he met UCLA’s noted ethnomusicology professor Dr. Ali Jihad Racy and was invited to join the acclaimed UCLA Near East Music Ensemble.  In 1993 Faisal became a founding member of the Near East music group, Kan Zaman. In 1996, Faisal taught at the Mendocino Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp for the first time and has been part of the staff since 2011.  Since 2003, Faisal has been teaching at different music camps on the west coast and abroad and teaching  percussion workshops and private instruction throughout the United states. In 2009, Faisal released his first instructional DVD for Arabic drumming and a CD with Qanoun player Samer Farah. In 2011, he released a belly dance drum solo instructional DVD with dancer Mariyah. Currently affiliated with music groups such as; Qadim, Zikrayat and Broken Shadows Ensemble, Faisal is involved in many recording projects and collaborations with musicians from different backgrounds.

Arash Zanganeh

Arash (19)

Arash on Youtube

Arash is one of the founders of the Sufi Art Group and a researcher, composer, writer and teacher whose work draws on Sufi traditions and Persian folkloric music with the goal of preserving the art and culture of love and devotion. Since his participation in the Oriental Music Exchange (Tajali Program) in India, which was sponsored by the Iranian Cultural Attaché in New Delhi in 2000, Arash’s interest in World Music fusion was ignited and he has turned his focus to this path in performance and recording with Diaspora Ensemble and Mystery of Creation. In 2000 Arash also recorded with the great female mystic Abida Parveen, and on the  Rumi in the Land of Khusrau project (in honour of Jalāl ad‐Dīn Muhammad Balkhī and Amir Khusrau Dehlavi) in India, and this also inspired his passion for devotional music.
Arash has been an international member in Silk Road Ensemble supported by Indiana University Departments (USA), 2010. He has also performed at the Woodford Folk Festival many times and has toured Australia with Sufi Art Group and Mehr Ensemble, as well as participating for several years in the ceremonies commemorating Jalāl ad‐Dīn Muhammad Balkhī (Rumi)’s death, in collaboration with Konya Mystic Music Festival, Turkey.

Greg Sheehan

Greg Sheehan Circle of Rhythm-3Greg Sheehan is a Rhythm Magician, his astounding musicality and passion shines brilliantly through the instruments he plays. He is firmly in the realm of Australia’s great musical innovators, with his propensity for experimentation and exploration of rhythms and the instruments he plays. As a performer, he is significantly represented in the last four decades of Australian music as a band leader and member, solo artist and studio musician on hundreds of recordings. As a teacher , Greg has coordinated many community arts projects along with teaching professionals, students and the wider community his unique style of rhythmic notation and body percussion techniques. He has been and is a major influence on generations of musicians both in Australia and overseas. Currently performing Solo and with the Circle of Rhythm and The Black Arm Band. ‘Astounding musicality’. John Shand SMH.

Karzan Bajalan

Karzan websiteKarzan has a strong passion for teaching oriental music and vocals. With 11 years teaching both theoretical and practical studies as a vocalist and musician at the Institute of Fine Arts in Arbil, Iraq; Karzan now specializes in playing the clarinet, and holds both a Diploma and Bachelor of Education in general music. Karzan enjoys using the clarinet, a traditional western instrument, in an oriental style; using arabic Maqams, and playing unique time signatures such as 5/4, 6/4, 7/8, 5/8, 9/8, 10/8 and 6/8; other than general music and oriental music, he is also a master of regional specific styles, such as Lebanese, Turkish, Egyptian, Persian, Greek and in particular Kurdish traditional music. Karzan’s extraordinary musical talent has seen him feature in numerous concerts in his home land of Iraq and travel to perform in Virginia and California in the states, plus a number of performances with the Persian community and with middle eastern ensemble, East Winds in Perth. Karzan is now one of the highly trained teaching team at Bellydance Central in Perth, where he is facilitates Oriental singing classes aswell as collaborates with dancers, particularly in the style of Turkish Roman.

Omid Rahimi

Omid Rahimi is a professional Iranian singer with vocal expertise in Iranian folk and traditional music. Omid primarily has been trained on twelve modes of Persian traditional music, known as ‘Dastgah’, by Morteza Sharif. He specialized in two schools of singing: Tehran and Esfahan. Then he received advanced levels of the school of Esfahan from maestro Jalal Taj Esfahani. During his education in the city of Esfahan, Omid also attended percussion-training courses taught by Majid Hesabi. It has been for twenty years that Omid has been singing and playing major Iranian percussion instruments, Daf & Tombak. Omid has performed in numerous occasions and has been awarded certificates of appreciation by distinguished organizations such as The Mental Health Council of Australia, Sufi Art Group, and Radio 4EB. He joined Hezar Ava ensemble in 2010 and Jazzab ensemble in 2011 as a vocalist and Tombak and Daf player. He had several performances with these two ensembles in different places such as the School of Music of the University of Queensland, Brisbane City Hall, Customs House, Griffith University and a few multicultural festivals in Brisbane. He released his first album “Khorram Yaad” in 2013.

Mark Bell

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Mark started playing Middle Eastern percussion in 1972 and got his first gig that same year playing for Bal Anat. He performed many years in Arabic and Persian nightclubs in San Francisco and the Los Angeles area. Mark has also traveled and studied percussion through the Islamic world with teachers such as Mahmoud Hamouda in Egypt and Farhadman in Iran.

Mark’s main group, Helm, has been performing continually since the late 1980’s and is best known for their Tribal Dance contributions. Additionally, Mark plays many genres of music including Balkan (with Panacea) Armenian (with Mirage), and won a Grammy with friends Henry Kaiser, Robin Petrie, and Paul Hostetter for contributing the song, Autumn Waltz, for “Beautiful Dreamer – Songs of Stephen Foster”.

Ling Shien

Ling Shien’s music studies began with the piano at the age of five. Her formal training in western music continued at the Music Conservatory in Aix en Provence. She started playing Arabic music shortly after meeting Mark in Southern California in 1979. Ling Shien has studied Arabic and Turkish disciplines “at the source” in Cairo and Istanbul. Her interest in folkloric music led Ling Shien to pick up the mizmar (Arabic oboe), zumara (an ancient form of clarinet), and kawala ( an Upper Egyptian reed flute). She has added accordion as well to allow her to better represent the music of the Turkish Roman, the Balkans, and convey the atmosphere of the Golden Age of Egyptian compositions of the 20th century. Ling Shien is the primary composer of Helm’s original music and lead vocalist. Her songs convey both the life and soul of folkloric music with the accuracy of the classical so well, they are virtually indistinguishable from native compositions. In collaboration with Carolena Nereccio, Ling Shien and Mark Bell recorded an instructional CD, /*Raqset al Sajat,*/ which provides a tool for dancers and musicians who want to deepen their understanding of Middle Eastern rhythms. Ling Shien uses it as part of the source material for her cymbal workshops.

Cieavash Arean

Cieavash AreanCieavash has dedicated his life to music for more than forty years. The instruments that Cieavash performs include – Barbat (Oud), Kamanche, Nay, Tar, Flute, Accordion, Daff and Zorna. Cieavash is also a well accomplished vocalist. Born in Tehran, Iran Cieavash plays traditional Middle Eastern music. These include – Turkish, Persian, Arabic and Armenian. He is self taught and plays by ear. Cieavash has performed all over the country, most recently, Woodford Folk Festival, QPAC,Customs House and Government House( playing with Master James Morrison),Multicultural Festival, Brisbane Festival, Adelaide Fringe Festival and Brisbane Powerhouse. He played music for “Vikram and The Vampire ” by Michael and Hellen Futcher,and also composed and played music for a short film called FEARLESS by Mr Tamucin Mostafa.

Andy Busuttil

Andy BusuttilAndy is an international performer and highly experienced music teacher. He has run a multitude of workshops in percussion and the broader skill of music making. A talented multi-instrumentalist, Andy plays darabuka, clarinet, alto sax, saxillo and other wind and percussion instruments. He is also a renowned vocalist in both Anglo and mawaal styles. Andy believes that music comes from the heart and soul and that learning an instrument needs to be a joyful experience. He believes that all elements of performance and teaching must have a deep sense of connection and communication built into them. Andy’s current project ‘Skorba’ has been achieving huge recognition around Australia.

Mike Taylor

Mike_oudMike Taylor has been learning the music of the Middle East for the past 15 years and is a multi-instrumentalist, (oud, ney and percussion) and composer.  Mike currently plays in Brisbane based bands Shanasheel Arabic Music Ensemble, East of West Trio and Mashrabiyya Duo, as well as working with national and international musicians when the occasion arises. In 2013 Mike formed the Australian Arabic Orchestra and produced and directed the El Haneen concerts in Brisbane and Byron Bay. Mike is committed to furthering an appreciation of Middle Eastern music in Australia and helping to develop a wider audience for this genre. He particularly loves the music of Iraq, Egypt, Syria and Turkey and has focused on learning repertoire from these countries. In 2017, Mike was awarded a professional development grant from Arts Queensland to attend the Labyrinth workshops in Crete and undertake further study with master of the oud, Adel Salameh, who he has been studying with (via Skype) since late 2015.

Nawres Al-Freh

Nawres's profile photoNawres Al-Freh has been playing classical and Arabic violin, joze and kamanche for 17 years. His classical training in music began at the Baghdad Conservatorium and he completed his degree at the Jordanian Conservatorium. After his studies he performed in numerous of international festivals such as WOMAD (UK), Jarash (Jordan) and ethnomusicology projects and workshops in Sweden, Cyprus, the UK, Oman, Australia and Jordan. He also played and arranged music for variety of Arabic ensembles such as Amman Arabic music orchestra. Nawres has performed with a number of renowned world music masters such as Naseer Shamma and Ross Daly, as well as many of Australia’s finest world music players. He is currently a violinist in the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra as well as Joza and Kamancheh player in The East Orchestra (Silk), which was formed by the Oud master Naseer Shamma and based in Egypt and features number of very fine musicians from the Middle East and done remarkable performances in different places in the Middle East including playing in the opening ceremony of Oman opera house. Nawres also plays violin, joze and kamanche in local world music ensembles and teaches music privately.

Phil Carroll

PhilPhil has been playing middle-eastern music for 20 years. He has studied Ney, Mey, Quartertone accordion and Zurna (mizmar) in Turkey, Egypt and Morocco. He has played with La Kasbah (Moroccan), Ta’esh Fa’esh and the sufi group Sanctuary Ensemble. He has lead the band Yalla!  for over 10 years playing at festivals in every Australian state with one CD. He has played in Alwan who have made one CD. He also plays in the Australian Arabic Orchestra. Phil’s passion for the Eastern sound deepened during his travels in ’98 to the Middle-East with The Breezes Of Anatolia Turkish ensemble and subsequent studies in Egypt , Turkey and Morocco where he studied Oriental music. He lived in Turkey in 2007 and 2008 where he worked as a musician in Istanbul sufi ceremonies, cafes, bars and functions. He has taught middle-eastern music at camps, festivals and NMIT. His instruments: quarter-tone accordion ney mey zurna

Adel Amin

Adel's New Photo 4Recognised as a talented musician from an early age, Adel was awarded a scholarship to the Cairo Conservatorium of Music commencing his training when 8 years old. From the Conservatorium he was selected as a bandsman for a popular Egyptian children’s TV show “El Musrah El Saghier” (“The Small Stage”) where he featured for two and a half years. Since coming to Australia, Adel has worked with a number of Western and Middle Eastern bands including Sahara (now Boom Crash Opera), Black Train (nine piece Gypsy band based in Sydney), The Amera Show, Sydney, Javalani (South African soul and funk band based in Melbourne), and has performed at a number of festivals’ including the Woodford Festival. Adel continues to share his knowledge and love of Egyptian and Arabic music, particularly his skills as a Middle Eastern drummer, and teacher with regular classes on the Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Brisbane and conducting Australia-wide workshops.

Philip Griffin


Philip Griffin has played a wide range of plucked stringed instruments over the past 40 years. He studied and then taught classical guitar at the Western Australian Conservatorium of Music in the 1980s whilst playing Macedonian folk music in bands such as Makedonski Bop, Churinga, Xenos and Ssassa, often with Linsey Pollak. During that period he also played bass in a reggae band, electric guitar in a jazz orchestra and drum-kit in a rockabilly band. Whilst on tour in Germany with Xenos in 1994, Philip met Ross Daly, which led to an invitation to study laouto (a Greek lute) in Athens and it was there that the idea of learning the oud came in being. A few years later, Philip moved to the Middle East, where he then lived for 3 years, studying, amongst other things the Turkish Oud. He has played extensively with Linsey Pollak, toured and recorded with Ross Daly and plays with many musicians around Australia and New Zealand. Of particular interest in relation to the oud is the Ottoman Classical tradition, with its rich repertoire of semai and pesrevs, as well as more rhythmic dance-like forms. In recent times, Philip has become involved in Baroque music, in particular playing continuo (the Baroque equivalent of the rhythm section) which feeds well into his many years of experience playing electric bass, occasional upright bass and uBass. Finding the right way to support melodies by coming up with appropriate bass-lines is a never-ending journey and one that he hopes to explore in his workshops at MEDAM Camp.

Tamara Taylor

Tamara TaylorTamara has been playing the Riq (Arabic tambourine) since 1997 when she started to learn percussion from master Egyptian drummer, Adel Amin. Starting out on Darbuka, Tamara quickly became lured towards the Riq because she was enchanted by the versatility of the instrument. With a love for music from all over the world, Tamara’s experience also includes playing Zimbabwean music with Marimba bands, Jangala Temple and Shamwari, and Brazillian percussion in the Brisbane Samba School, and in recent years she has taken up the Kora (West African harp). Tamara currently plays Riq with Shanasheel Arabic Music Ensemble and Mashrabiyya Duo (with husband Mike). Some of Tamara’s music performance highlights include playing in the camp cabaret bands, playing with Shanasheel at Woodford Folk Festival 2015/2016, playing with renowned Iraqi musician Anwar Abudragh at the Brisbane Powerhouse in 2009; as a guest with Tunji Beier and Linsey Pollack as part of their Shopska Salata act; with Andy Busuttil and master of the Oud, Christos Baltzidis at Woodford Folk Festival 2010 and in the 2013 Australian Arabic Orchestra’s El Haneen concerts.

Founder and creator of the Bahar Bayram camp, Tamara is motivated by her love of dance and music and her heartfelt desire to facilitate the opportunity for creativity and community for all.

Anthony Pizzica Anthony has been building and repairing musical instruments for almost 2 decades. After completing a carpentry and Joinery apprenticeship, he spent 15 years as a professional touring musician, performing around 200 shows per year with corporate band “VelvetStar” and sharing the stage with some of the worlds most renowned musicians (Jimmy Barnes, Grace Knight, Jon Stevens to name a few). After studying and working with various luthiers (Australia and Europe) and in several music stores through the 2000’s (as a technician), In 2007 Zed Instrument Company, Anthony’s own business, was born and located in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland township of Maleny. While the core of his business is in Guitars, Anthony passion for Middle Eastern/Balkan music has seen him build and repair many traditional and hybrid instruments over the years and in 2015 was awarded a RADF grant for a “Tree to Stage” project that includes the design and construction of a 22 stringed hybrid instrument, a documentary film, CD release and regional tour.