Ensembles - Instrumental - Singing - Percussion


A wide variety of specialised music and dance workshops is on offer throughout each day. The only problem is figuring out which ones to do! Some of the workshops occur once during the camp and others are progressive. Once you are at the camp you can go to any of the workshops on offer. Schedules are given out upon arrival and are also available to download here – 2018 CAMP SCHEDULE (not available yet). Beginners are welcome and all levels of skill are catered for.

Music Ensembles

Classical Arabic Semai - Nawres Alfreh & Faisal Zedan - 2 x 1.5 hour sessions - OPEN LEVEL - ALL INSTRUMENTS, RIQ, FRAME & DARBUKA

The Semai is an instrumental form of classical music originating in the Ottoman period. Faisal Zedan and Nawres Alfreh will teach students about the musical form of Semai including; ornamentation for instruments and percussion, rhythms, structure and dynamics.

This is a 2 part workshop and will be working towards a performance in the Sunday concert.

A Little Sheikh From the Land of Meknes - Faisal Zedan, Mike Taylor & Greg Sheehan - 2 x 1.5 hours - ALL WELCOME!

A Little Sheikh from the Land of Meknes is a zajal (strophic form of poetry) by Andalusian Sufi poet Abu-al-Hasan Ali ben Abdallah al-Nuymari as-Shushtari or Al-Sustari. This workshop will be teaching the melody, percussion and hand-clapping that interweave in complex rhythms. Singers, drummers, hand-clappers and instrumentalists are all welcome!

You can check out 2 versions of the song via the links below:

Persian Ensemble - Cieavash Arean, Omid Rahimi & Arash Zanganeh - 3 x 1.5 hr sessions - OPEN LEVEL

Cieavash AreanArash (19)OmidLearn to play as part of an ensemble including traditional Persian instruments (led by Cieavash Arean), voice (led by Omid Rahimi) and percussion (led by Arash Zanganeh).

The ensemble will be presenting a piece in the Sunday night concert.

Ensemble - Andy Busuttil - 5 x 1.5 hr sessions - OPEN LEVEL (Incl. 2 sessions with Philip Griffin's Bass class)

Andy BusuttilNothing delights musicophiles more than the opportunity to perform in front of others. Even if you don’t believe that you can be part of an ensemble sound because you may be a relative ‘beginner’ on percussion, pitched instruments or voice these workshops offer you the opportunity to get up there and do it! What’s even better is that more experienced musicians may even get up and perform with you in an encouraging way. Percussionists at any level are welcome, as are instrumentalists from beginners to more advanced and people wanting to stretch their voices in Turkish, Macedonian or Greek. Scores will be provided in concert, Bb and Eb tuning. To allow for Western pitched instruments such as fretted guitars, no microtones will be included. There will be separate workshops for percussionists, melody players and singers and then you will all be brought together or will come together in an organic way to play and celebrate what you have learnt. Dancers won’t be able to sit still when they hear you and isn’t that what it is all about?

2 sessions of this ensemble will collaborate with Philip Griffin’s Bass for Middle Eastern Music classes.

Turkish Ensemble - Phil Carroll - 3 x 1.5 hour sessions - OPEN LEVEL - ALL INSTRUMENTS

PhilBe part of a Turkish ensemble. Musical notation will be provided, or participants can play by ear. This group will be working towards a performance in the Camp Concert. Suited for all instruments and skill levels and percussionists are welcome and needed too!

Percussion and Drumming

Drummers Forum - Mark Bell - 1 x 1.5 hour session - ALL DRUMMERS WELCOME

mark edit auWhen do you ask all those questions you are afraid to ask? Why, in this forum. We will deal with as many as possible. Why do I need to play with a concept? Where do embellishments go? Why can’t I play as loud as I want? Where do colours go when they fade? What is the sound of two hands clapping? Answers to all these and your own questions as well.

Body Percussion - Greg Sheehan - 4 x 1.5 hour sessions - ALL WELCOME

Greg Sheehan Circle of Rhythm-3Learn to create your own rhythms and music through clapping walking and number games!
*Creative games
*Rhythmic numbers and patterns (diamonds theory)

Persian Daf - Arash Zanganeh - 4 x 1.5 hour sessions - OPEN LEVEL

Arash (19)The Def is a large frame drum used in Persian and Sufi music. Learn techniques specific to this drum – different to other frame drums due to the many rings inside the drum which form part of the sound of the instrument. Persian and Sufi rhythms will also be taught and workshops are divided into different skill levels to be advised on camp schedule.

Arabic Darbuka/Tabla - Faisal Zedan - 2 x 1.5 hr sessions - ADVANCED LEVEL

FaisalThe following topics will be covered:

The mechanical aspects and the physical discipline involved in playing Arabic drums
The different sounds produced on the drums and their relationship to each other
The progression of the Arabic beats – basic beat, rounded beat and embellished beat
The different approaches to playing Arabic drums based on regions and genres of music
The relationships among Arabic drums to create a unified sound that anchors the beat and creates a harmonious drumming atmosphere
Exercises and drills to enhance the understanding of the physical part of playing

Odd time signatures - Mark Bell - 2 x 1.5 hour sessions - OPEN LEVEL

mark edit auWORKSHOP 1
We will cover the basics for playing in odd meters such as 7/8, 9/8, 11/8, 22/8, and 25/8 and an introduction to Inciraf (11/4) and Khosh Ranq (17/4). Additionally we will start the process for being able to improvise in these rhythms as well. It’s quite easy once you understand the basics.

Turkish Roman 9’s
Learn the two principle Roman 9’s, peshar and a ğir Roman. We will go over how they are constructed, how to generate the correct feel, and how to improvise in them.

Darbuka with Mark Bell - 2 x 1.5 hour sessions - BEGINNER LEVEL & INTERMEDIATE LEVEL

mark edit auBeginner darabuka
While hopefully ending up in the same place as Faisal, this is how a Westerner figured out how to play. I had to retrain everything I had learned incorrectly, developing concepts, strokes, and a bizarre sense of humour in getting there. We will cover not only how to hit a drum but why,  emphasis on technique, how to start putting rhythms into blocks, how to develop your own concepts, and work on mental flexibility.

Intermediate darabuka
The phase up from the beginning workshop description: always a technique check and more intriguing concepts. I think you will find different explanations extremely helpful in your own develop both as a player and a potential teacher down the road. We will work with “real life” situations from preparing to play complex songs, drum solos, to totally blowing it.

Egyptian Drum Ensemble - Hagalla Drum Solo - Adel Amin - 3 x 1.5 hour sessions - OPEN LEVEL

Adel's New Photo 4Adel will be teaching a Hagalla style drum solo which will be played for the dancers in Paivi’s Hagalla Drum Solo dance workshop! Players of all levels are welcome!

Egyptian Tabla Technique - Adel Amin - 2 x 1.5 hours - BEGINNER/INTERMEDIATE LEVEL

Adel's New Photo 4Adel will be teaching the fundamentals of Egyptian tabla focusing on technique, rhythm, dynamics and style.

Riq (Arabic Tambourine) - Faisal Zedan - 2 x 1.5 hour sessions - INTERMEDIATE TO ADVANCED
Portland Mid East Camp June 2014 photo by Hiro Baba Belinda Underwood

Portland Mid East Camp June 2014 photo by Hiro Baba Belinda Underwood

Faisal will be teaching drills and ornaments for Riq for players who already can a good grasp of the instrument. He will look at open (cabaret) position and closed (classical) position, and how to move between the two.


Riq (Arabic Tambourine) - Tamara Taylor - 2 x 1.5 hour sessions - BEGINNER LEVEL

Tamara TaylorThe Riq is a wonderful instrument that adds colour and excitement to both small ensembles and big orchestras, in Arabic music. This delightful percussion instrument has many sounds and qualities, creating a huge range of possibilities for a skilled Riq player. This introductory workshop will cover techniques, Egyptian rhythms and variations.

Sagat/Zills (finger cymbals) - Ling Shien Bell - 1 x 1.5 hour session - OPEN LEVEL

SagatWe’ll learn various patterns, dividing the group in sections, creating interesting stereo effects. These can be used by the chorus in ATS®, as a refreshing change from the longa RLR pattern. They are found on Raqset al Sajat, Sa’idi, Fellahi, and Masmudi Saghira tracks.

Musical Theory

Maqams into Improvisation - Phil Carrol - 2 x 1.5 hour sessions - OPEN LEVEL - ALL INSTRUMENTS AND SINGERS WELCOME

Maqam workshops picLets explore some of the basic maqams (Middle Eastern scales), using examples from Sufi music. Makams are like scales but each has its own character and personality. We will then take it further and do improvisation on the maqams. All singers, percussionists and instrumentalists are welcome.

Arabic Maqams and Musicianship - Nawres Alfreh - 1 x 1.5 hour session - OPEN LEVEL - ALL INSTRUMENTS AND SINGERS WELCOME

Maqam workshops picNawres will be teaching musicianship and improvisation in Arabic music, covering ornamentation, modulation, intonation and phrasing for all instruments. Maqamat (Arabic scales/modes) will be covered in these sessions too.

Ethnic Musical Instrument History, Design and Construction - Anthony Pizzica - 1 x 1.5 hour session - ALL WELCOME

Ethnic Musical Instrument History, Design and Construction:
(Open to all musicians and dancers)

In this workshop, renowned instrument maker (luthier) Anthony Pizzica will discuss various ethnic musical instruments and go into detail about their history as well as aspects of design and construction that make these instruments look and sound the way they do. There will be an array of different traditional and modern ethnic instruments on display in various stages of construction as well as individual parts and components to help facilitate the subjects of discussion. All musicians/dancers, regardless of level will enjoy this interactive and informative session.

Stringed Instruments

Arabic Strings - Nawres Alfreh - 2 x 1.5 hour sessions - OPEN LEVEL

13909346_10154374551028537_2884195973270284262_oFor already experienced strings players who wish to learn the Arabic style of ornamentation and technique. Learn techniques to get the authentic Arabic sound and style. Suitable for violin, cello, bass, viola, kamenche and joze.

Turkish Oud - Philip Griffin - 2 x 1.5 hour sessions - OPEN LEVEL

Philip GriffinPhilip Griffin will teach Turkish style, technique and tunes on the Oud. The workshop will be tailored to whoever attends the session. Players of all levels are welcome.

Oud Basics & Technique - Mike Taylor - 1 x 1.5 hour session - OPEN LEVEL

Mike_oudWe will go through the fundamentals of the oud including holding the oud, basic fingerings, holding the risha and a basic melody if time permits.

Bass in Middle Eastern Music - Philip Griffin - 2 x 1.5 hour sessions - ALL BASSISTS WELCOME (These workshops will combine with Andy's Ensemble)
Wondering how to make a bass guitar fit into an ensemble playing Middle Eastern music?
Which notes to use, how to make the rhythm fit with other musical elements?
If someone else is playing chords, what should I do?
If no-one if playing chords, what should I do?
These are the questions I hope to address, and others you may have.
We’ll try and make it very practical and spend as much time as we can fitting any ideas into practice.

Wind Instruments

Orientale Clarinet - Karzan Al-Bajalan - 4 x 1.5 hour sessions - OPEN LEVEL

Karzan websiteKarzan will be teaching orientale style clarinet fundamentals along with different stylistic elements of Middle Eastern music such as; ornamentation and maqams. Saxophone players are also welcome.

Kawala (Egyptian Village flute) - Ling Shien Bell - 2 x 1.5 hour sessions - OPEN LEVEL
LingKawala is a folkloric end blown flute from upper Egypt, experience in flute playing is not necessary, as the blowing technique is very different. We’ll go over the maqams for intonation accuracy, then go over the songs.
‘Azara’ l’Akhdar, Egyptian Fellahi song, we’ll follow the arrangement of the track found on Tribal Spirit, Carolena Nereccio’s favorite for fast ATS®.
Sa’idi Roah is a Helm Original, using Egyptian rhythms and maqams, works beautifully to accompany a cane dance, it is found on Spice Box.
Ghoshmeh - Cieavash Arean - 2 x 1.5 hour sessions - OPEN LEVEL

Learn about the Ghoshmeh a Persian folk instrument from the North East of Iran. Cieavash will teach about the cultural context of the instrument and how it is played and also teach a few folk tunes.

Ghoshmeh will be for sale at the camp.

Mizmar/Zurna (or how to annoy your neighbours) - Phil Carroll - 1 x 1.5 hour session - OPEN LEVEL

Phil CarrollBYO instruments. Discussion and practice of instruments, reeds and techniques. May involve walking long distances from other humans.

Persian Ney - Cieavash Arean - 1 x 1.5 hour session - OPEN LEVEL

Learn the basics for playing the Persian Ney, including an introduction to some of the persian scales. More advanced technique will also be taught depending on the skill level of the students.

Persian neys will be for sale at the camp.

Turkish Ney - Phil Carroll - 1 x 1.5 hour session - OPEN LEVEL

Learn the Turkish technique and style of playing the ney, an end blown reed flute used in Turkish sufi and classical music.

Ney for Newbies - Mike Taylor - 1 x 1.5 hour session - OPEN LEVEL

Mike will teach you some technique and Maqamat (scales) and some easy tunes. PVC practice Neys will be available at the workshop and you can buy one for only $15.


Persian Singing - Omid Rahimi - 4 x 1.5 hour sessions (3 with Persian Ensemble) - OPEN LEVEL

OmidOmid will be teaching some of the traditional Persian songs and vocal technique. The singing group will combine with the Persian musical ensemble.

Kurdish Songs - Karzan Al-Bajalan - 2 x 1.5 hour sessions - OPEN LEVEL

Karzan websiteKarzan will be teaching some traditional Kurdish folk songs. He will cover the translation, pronunciation, and the melody as well as providing insight into Kurdish culture and musical traditions.

Singing - Ling Shien Bell - 2 x 1.5 hr sessions - OPEN LEVEL
We’ll work on intonation accuracy first, warming up our voices with drills that outline the maqam of the songs.
Then we’ll go over the meaning, and fit the melodic lines to the rhythms, either with clapping or finger cymbals. The more experienced singers will sing both the verses and choruses, and the novices will sing just the choruses, thus creating a nice contrast.


Fellahi song “Azara” l’Akhda r( Tribal Spirit) with finger cymbal Fellahi patterns

WORKSHOP 2 (combining with Turkish ensemble)

5/8 Turkish song, and a 10/8 Armenian Curcuna song