Artists and Composers

Amel Zen © Amel Zen Amel Zen

Amel Zen is an Algerian author, composer, and performer. Staying close to ancestral rhythms, she protects her North African and Amazigh identity with a modern and unique musical approach that includes world music and progressive rock styles. In 2013, Amel released her first album, a mix of ethno-pop, rock, and chaabi music. Two years later, she released “Tlata," an 18th century song rearranged and adapted into a new pop-rock sound, uniting young people with their heritage. In January 2020, Amel released her second album, Joussour, which aims to create bridges between cultures and people by weaving together contemporary music and world rock. Amel is engaged in many causes, with a particular focus on children, women’s issues, and human rights. She joined the Algerian popular movement (Hirak) in February 2019 and co-wrote the song "Libérez l'Algérie.'' She also released several songs such as "Hourra'' and "Fajr el-Hourria" to support the movement and political prisoners.

Ghassan Sahhab © Ghassan Sahhab Ghassan Sahhab

Ghassan Sahhab (1985) is a musicologist, composer, and musician. In 2017, he released his first album as both musician and composer, Sharqi (My Orient), and created several stand-alone musical pieces for theater plays, films, and podcasts. He has performed in concerts and projects in France, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, Australia, Italy, Azerbaijan, and the Arab region. He is a member of the Université Antonine’s classical Arabic musical ensemble and of the Asil ensemble for contemporary Arab music, among other projects. He is co-founder and musical director of Ma’azef, a cultural initiative for authentic Levantine music and a researcher in the musical traditions of the Arab Mashriq. He is a PhD candidate researching the history and development of the qānūn, and has participated in many musicology conferences in Germany, Tunisia, Egypt, and Lebanon. He has also served as a lecturer at the Lebanese American University and the Université Antonine in Lebanon since 2011.

Hazhar Zahawy © Hazhar Zahawy Hajar Zahawy

Hajar Zahawy is one of the most celebrated Kurdish folk percussionists of our time. Born in Iran to a Kurdish in 1980, he was introduced to music and taught to play the Daf (Kurdish frame drum) at the age of 5. When he was 10 years old he moved to Great Britain, and at the age of 13 he performed for the first time with the National Radio and Television Orchestra for Kurdish Music. Hajar has performed around the world and collaborated with Persian, Greek, Indian, Arab, and Turkish musicians. He has participated in many international music festivals including WOMAD (World of Music, Arts, and Dance) in the UK, WOMEX (World Music Expo) in the Netherlands, and the World Sacred Music Festival in Morocco. He created a track for the 2005 film Kingdom of Heaven, and has appeared in many programs and documentaries about Kurdish music. He also released a solo album of percussion compositions in 2007. Aside from the heavy Kurdish rhythm that characterizes his music, Hajar Zahawy also draws influence from many other countries and uses music as a medium to connect with people and preserve his ethnic and cultural heritage.

Mohamed Adam © Mohamed Adam Mohamed Adam

Mohamed Adam is a singer, composer, and researcher from South Darfur state in west Sudan, now based in Omdurman. His musical career began in the city of Nyala, where he was an amateur singer in a band called Childhood Friends, and from there it went through several stages until finally settling in folk music. He works with different rhythms, styles, and moods of music belonging to Sudan’s various ethnic groups. He is also interested in music’s ability to reflect the identity of the people it represents, unite people, and promote peaceful coexistence. He is co-founder of the Negara Project, which aims to collect and promote Sudan’s ethnic and traditional music alongside people’s daily lives. He views studying and creating contemporary Sudanese music as a means to remove borders between Sudanese regions, raise awareness, and renew cultural ties between generations in order to change Sudan’s image and showcase its cultural wealth and diversity.

Rehab Hazgui © Rehab Hazgui Rehab Hazgui

Rehab Hazgui is a multimedia artist, composer, and improviser of electronic music. Using an analog synthesizer and handmade audio devices, she explores the endless movement of sound and its repetition and uses silence as a third space, a boundary between different forms of the art of listening. Much of her work is informed by her passionate love for sound and her close relationship with the analog synthesizer, a tool she has invested in not only as a composer and player, but also as a designer and builder.

Zaid Hilal © Zaid Hilal Zaid Hilal

Zaid Jamal Hilal is a 29-year-old Palestinian musician from Bethlehem. His passion for music began at an early age. As an 8-year-old, he had the chance to enroll in the Edward Said National Music Conservatory to study the oud, where he studied for 4 years with excellent grades. Later, he continued his study of the oud during the two years he spent at the Frederic Chopin Academy of Music in Bethlehem. In October 2016, he took a step that he had been working up to for a long time: starting his own Arab pop-rock band with other talented musicians from his hometown. In April 2017 he participated in the Ethno Palestine festival in Nablus, representing my country in a project with about 20 international musicians. Between May and December 2017, his own band started touring the country and participating in festivals (Shepherd Fest, Taybeh Fest, Bethlehem Live Fest, Shafaram Oktoberfest, Lamlama fest, Dandanat fest), where they played original compositions as well as other well-known songs. In addition, over the past four years, he has released five original singles as a solo artist, “Fuadi,” “Ya Khabar,“ “Ya Rakeb al Mooj,” “Abu Samra,” and “Motna,” all recorded at his own expense. For him, self-producing with limited financial capacities is a source of both satisfaction and frustration, as the quality of the production depends to a large extent on the amount of money invested.

Yacoub Abu Ghosh © Yacoub Abu Ghosh Yacoub Abu Ghosh

Yacoub Abu Ghosh ist ein bekannter Komponist, Arrangeur, Produzent und Bass-Spieler, der als einer der Pioniere der unabhängigen Musikszene in Jordanien und der arabischen Region gilt. Er hat bis jetzt fünf Alben veröffentlicht und an zahllosen Konzerten, Projekten und Aufführungen in der gesamten Region und in Europa teilgenommen. Yacoubs Arbeit wird von einer großen Bandbreite musikalischer Genres beeinflusst. Auch wenn mittelöstliche maqamatische Musik immer die Grundlage seines musikalischen Schaffens bildet, finden sich auch Spuren von Jazz, Funk, Rock, Elektro und Lateinamerikanischer Musik in seinen Melodien, Arrangements und Beats wieder. Yacoub hat mit seiner Band „Zaman Al Zaatar“ die Alben „Like All People“ (2004), „Zad“ (2007) und „Al Khubz“ (2012) aufgenommen. Unter seinem eigenen Namen brachte er „As Blue as the Rivers of Amman“ (2011) und „Aygithni“ (2015) heraus. Sein nächstes Album wird 2022 erwartet. 
Yacoub lebt gegenwärtig mit seiner Frau und zwei Kindern in Amman, Jordanien.