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Meet the artists: Second music residency

Halaqat second music residency
From left to right: Ahmed Elhefny, Najah Tannous, Soroush Kamalian, Eren Akşahin, Alex Simu, Khaled Yassine, Sarra Douik, Tammam Alramadan, | © Jean-Francois Carreau, © Shalan Alhamwy, © Alexia Webster – OneBeat Sahara

Seven musicians from Europe and the Arab world will meet in Anderlecht (Brussels) in May 2022 to co-create and play together under the direction of reknowned percussionist Khaled Yassine. They participate in the second Halaqat music residency organised together with Werkplaats Walter, the Amman Jazz Festival and Bozar Concerts. Focus is on ethnic and folk music.

Eren Akşahin was born in Germany and is a Baglama player, multi-instrumentalist and a composer. His music could be described as a Synthesis between Anatolian folklore and Western classical sounds, it could be named contemporary title Anatolian folk music. It is characterized by a strong sensitivity and authenticity for the foundations of Anatolian folk music, as well as through beauty of sound and innovation on its own instrument off.

Tammam Alramadan was born in Aleppo, Syria and is a Nay player. He graduated from the Arab institute of Music in 2010. He played with many bands in the MENA-region then moved to Belgium in 2014 and participated in different projects in more than ten countries in Europe : Refugees for Refugees, Wajd Ensemble, Broukar Band, Mohamad Sharara & orchestra philharmonic Stockholm, violet orchestra Leuven, …

Sarra Douik is a vocalist and Oud player from Tunisia. Her multi-faceted and open-minded approach allows her to seamlessly integrate the sounds of Tunisian and Arab music with other musical worlds. She established a deep bond with her musical origins, which she has represented internationally in contests and tours all over North Africa, Europe and the U.S.A.
In the recent years she was part of artistic residencies such as OneBeat (U.S.A.) and Medinea (Tunisia), she recorded her first composition “Netfakker”. She is currently studying Jazz singing at the Conservatory of Mantua (Italy).

Ahmed Ghanem is a bassist, arranger and composer born in Alexandria, Egypt, and based in Paris since 2013. He works on different projects such as : Swinguez Moustaches Septet who play swing music for Lindy Hop dancers reviving the spirit of the 30/40s . With Velum trio, they are exploring the freedom and the interplay through their original compositions. And for Reflections Quartet he arranges songs from the Middle Eastern musical tradition and composes original tunes, exploring what this tradition can bring to the jazz tradition and vice versa ! Beside these projects and being a sideman for different bands, he teaches upright and electric bass. 

Soroush Kamalian is a kamanche player, a percussionist and a pianist. Born in Iran, he is based in France. He also plays and teaches many different other oriental instruments such as Daf, Tonbak, Bendir, Cajon, Darbuka, as well as piano and music theory. As a performer, he participated in concerts in different groups in Europe and Middle East and led several groups in domestic and foreign festival. He also composed music for films and bands at a national and international levels.

Alex Simu is a saxophonist and clarinetist. Born in Bucarest, Romania, he is currently based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. His performances and compositions were awarded or selected more than 25 times. He performed and toured all over the world and specially in Europe and the MENA-region. He conducted differents orchestras, and has a long experience in composing and arranging.

Najah Nicolas Tannous is a qanoun player from Lebanon. She studied music education and music therapy in Lebanon and teaches music in many conservatories. She has participated in many concerts and music conferences in Lebanon and abroad and is playing with different bands. She has a long experience with music therapy with adults suffering from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, with children suffering from autism and with addicted people. 

Mentorship by Khaled Yassine:
A self taught musician, mostly known for his work with Anouar Brahem Quartet,  ALif,lekhfa and tarek yamani trio, Khaled Yassine’s unique approach to drums and percussion made him one of most sought-after musicians in the region.
He is also known for his collaborations with different art forms like contemporary dance/theatre productions,installation and documentary films.