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Genre: World Music

Website: http://www.zilzala.com

MP3 (click name to download; click player to stream):


Led by acclaimed vocalist / arranger Christiane Karam, the ZilZALA Middle Eastern Ensemble is a Boston-based World Music band that draws from several musical cultures to re-interpret classical, traditional and folk Arabic Music. Instrumentation includes voice,’ud, kanun, buzuki, violin, cello, bass, trumpet, flugelhorn, soprano sax, nay, clarinet,flute as well as various percussion instruments (frame drums, zils, cajon, cymbals, djembe, udu, riqq, darbouka). The outcome is a powerful and uplifting blend of Eastern and Western influences that range from Lebanese, Egyptian, Turkish, Greek and North African grooves and melodies, to contemporary Jazz harmonies, that creates a truly unique musical experience. The ZilZALA Ensemble has been playing to packed houses in Boston and New York, bringing together music lovers from the Middle East with a western audience that is eager to learn about and enjoy the exotic middle eastern rhythms and melodies.
ZilZALA has headlined at venues such as Ryles Jazz Club, the Berklee Performance Center, Club Passim, The Zeitgeist Gallery and Tagine in New York City. They have been featured several times on WMBR (88.1 FM), Cambridge. The ensemble owes the richness of its sound and its colorful interpretations of traditional Middle Eastern music to the diversity of its musicians' musical and cultural backgrounds (Brazil, Italy, Columbia, Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, the US, Canada, Lebanon and more!). Currently in ZilZALA are Christiane Karam (voice, percussion), Anastassia Zachariadou (kanun, flutes), Theodoulos Vakanas (violin, buzuki), Eylem Basaldi (violin), Nicole Rampersaud (trumpet, flugelhorn), Petr Cancura (soprano sax, clarinet), Giacomo Merega (bass), Eric Doob (percussion), Tupac Mantilla (percussion), and Engin Gunaydin (percussion).

Founder Christiane Karam was born and raised in war-torn Beirut, Lebanon. She came to Boston in 1998 to puruse a musical career, graduating Summa Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music in 2003. She is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Contemporary Improvisation at the New England Conservatory, where she was named the 2004-2005 Kimball P. Stickney Scholar, and recently again for the academic year 2005-2006. She has performed with the likes of Bulgarian legend Yanka Rupkina and pianist/composer Ran Blake, and has been featured on VH1. Her teachers include Jamey Haddad, Rima Khcheich, Simon Shaheen, Dominique Eade, Ed Tomassi, Hal Crook, Jerry Bergonzi and Bobby McFerrin.