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.
Matt Stonehouse is a Melbourne based percussionist, composer and instrument maker. He specialises in frame drums and the Daholla (Middle Eastern goblet shaped drum).
Matt has studied with master drummer, Ercin Kacaimamoglu in Turkey and both Faridun Farahani and Sara Fotros in Iran. In 2008 he released the book ʻPercussion of the Arabic world and beyondʼ and went on to release a feature length documentary highlighting musicians in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Greece. ʻThe Rhythmic Eastʼ documentary won two official selections at international film festivals. Matt has recorded on more than forty albums including Unified Gecko, Bashka, Mista Savona, The Reefers, The Tea Party (Jeff Martin), My friend the chocolate cake and Latitude 37.
He released his own album ʻRosieʼs point of viewʼ in 2016 on vinyl. More recently he was featured percussionist on the Australian tour with the Ross Daly quartet. Matt is currently an artist in resident at Dunmoochin artist colony in Cottles Bridge where he is focusing on composition and frame drum making.
Greg Sheehan is one of the leading figures in Australian Percussion. As a performer, teacher and recording artist, he is significantly represented in Australian music over nearly 50 years. He has been a major influence on generations of musicians and has literally reshaped the map of RHYTHM… A passionate visionary who has created a unique system of mathsmusic called ‘Rhythm Diamonds’ which is now being taught in Music Collages around the country. Add to this Greg’s own Body Percussion style and reinvention of Tambourine technique!
Greg has appeared with such artists as Blackfeather, Goanna, Shane Howard, Kev Carmody, Hothouse Flowers, Sinead O’Connor, Donal Lunny and Coolfin, Mark Simmonds Freeboppers, Utungun Percussion, Blue King Brown, Cat Empire, Jeff Lang, The Black Arm Band and Circle Of Rhythm, and at festivals including Australia Now in Brazil, Singapore Arts, Womad UK, Womadelaide,Tedx, Mona Foma, Woodford, Sydney , Melbourne and Adelaide Festivals.
He is known for his innovation in fields of Rhythms , Cross Cultural Explorations and adapting Instruments in his own unique way !
‘Astounding Musicianship’ ; John Shand,SMH.
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.
Paddy Montgomery was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia. Growing up playing guitar and mandolin in various rock, pop and folk settings, early on he took a strong interest in the folk and classical music from around the Middle East and Mediterranean. After hearing Talip Özkan play bağlama for the first time on the radio, he became infatuated with the instrument.
He bought his first bağlama at age 15, taking occasional lessons on trips to Melbourne. After meeting Ross Daly in 2004, he was invited to visit Labyrinth Musical Workshop in Crete, Greece the following year. In the following years, he made multiple trips to Greece and Turkey to attend seminars and lessons with master musicians Erdal Erzincan, Periklis Papapetropoulos, Yurdal Tokcan and Derya Turkan.
Residing in Melbourne for the last decade, he now makes his living playing traditional Greek and Turkish folk music for various clubs and organizations around the country. A musical idiom that remains extremely close to his heart, he will be demonstrating the varying regional repertoire and techniques of the bağlama in Anatolian folk music.
Kelly was studying classical clarinet at the University of Queensland School of Music when she fell in deep with a community of musicians all about Balkan, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern music and has never looked back. She began to pursue the way of the ney at an early Bahar Bayram camp, learning firstly from few and generous Australian based ney players, and later from ney master Ömer Erdoğdular.
Kelly has collaborated with musicians from Balkan, Greek, Turkish, Arabic & Persian musical traditions and performed in contemporary and traditional music groups including Muziz, the Australian Arabic Orchestra, and Kashkul ensemble. These days she performs with Sevdah and Sephardic ensemble Saray Iluminado, and guests with Aria award-winning Greek band The haBiBis.
Phil 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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6dXPrDS9Ms ney http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wKfUyepROw mey http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMF45vZsaVs&feature=youtu.be zurna http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SFKeJLshkI
Nawres 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.
Cieavash has dedicated his life to music.
The instruments that he performs include; Barbat (Oud), Kamanche, Nay, Tar, Divan, Flute, Accordion, Daff, Zorna….
Born in Tehran, Iran he plays traditional Middle Eastern music, including; Turkish, Persian, Arabic and Armenian styles. He is self taught and plays by ear.
Cieavash’s most recent performances have been in the theatrical production, The Village, directed by Todd McDonald and performed at La Boite theatre, Travellers performed at GOMA, World Refugee Day, Luminous Festival, Parliament House and at South Bank performing with Diaspora Ensemble. He has performed at Woodford Folk Festival, QPAC, Customs House and Government House (playing with James Morrison), Brisbane Multicultural Festival, Brisbane Festival, Brisbane Powerhouse, Bundaberg Multicultural Festival and many other events. He performed the music for theatrical plays Vikram and The Vampire and A Beautiful Life (by Michael and Hellen Futcher), and composed and played music for the short film FEARLESS by Tamucin Mostafa. Cieavash also played music for the Queensland Theatre Company’s performance of 1001 Nights at the Queensland Music Festival.
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.
Mike 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 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.
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 has been playing the Riq (Arabic tambourine) since 1997 when she started to learn percussion due to her love of Orientale dance. 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 marimbas in Zimbabwean music bands, Jangala Temple and Shamwari, 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.
Some of Tamara’s riq performance highlights include; QPAC Concert Hall (2017) with Camerata Chamber Orchestra and special guests, Nawres Alfreh, Dheeraj Shrestha and Silvia Encheva, Woodford Folk Festival with Muziz (2005-2012), Shanasheel (2014-2017), and Andy Busuttil and master of the Oud, Christos Baltzidis (2010), plus, a concert with renowned Iraqi musician Anwar Abudragh at the Brisbane Powerhouse (2009). In 2013 Tamara also co-produced (with Mike Taylor) and played in the 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.