HAMID AJBAR - LEAD SINGER, VIOLIN, DIRECTOR
Hamid Ajbar was born in the city of Chefchaouen, Morocco, in a family of musicians. He studied solo singing and violin for over ten years in the conservatories of Chaouen and Tetouan, and finishing at the Conservatory of Music in Rabat, where he graduated top of his class. He won the National Competition for Andalusian Singing in Morocco on three occasions.
He specializes in both classical Andalusian music and Middle Eastern music, and over his long musical career has collaborated with many great artists from Morocco, including Abdelkrim Raïs, Mohamed Bajadoub, Mohamed Briouel, Bennis Abdelfattah and Aïcha Redouane, as well as many renowned artists from the flamenco and early music scenes. These include Paco de Lucía, José Mercé, Carmen Linares, Ana Reverte, Eduardo Paniagua and Luis Delgado. He also did a tour throughout Spain with Turkish neyzen Omar Faruk Tekbilek. He leads and directs CusCus Flamenco, as well as Hamid Ajbar Sufi Ensemble, and has taken part in several festivals and events.
AZIS SAMSAOUI - QANUN
Aziz Samsaoui was born in Tetouan, Morocco. He studied lute and Andalusian violin at the Conservatory of Music in Tetouan, under the direction of Telemsani, amongst others. He was part of the Youth Orchestra of Andalusian Music of Tetouan for several years, taking part in several festivals on a national level. His artistic career has been marked by collaborations and recordings with various groups, including flamenco and early music as well as classical Andalusian music. These include Al Andaluz Project, Capella de Ministrers, Hamid Ajbar Sufi Ensemble and Veterum Mvsicae.
Aziz Samsaoui has also taken part in notable collaborations with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Malaga, in Eneko Vadillo´s work “Usul,” and also with Cinco Siglos and Alia Musica (Medieval Mudejar and Sephardic music ensemble) At present, he is dedicated to the preservation and diffusion of classical Andalusian music, as well as being the director of the Festival de Musica Antigua de Granada (Early Music Festival, Granada).
FATHI BEN YAKOUB - VIOLIN
Fathi Ben Yakoub was born in Tetouan and studied in the Conservatory of Music in the same city. He studied classic Arab violin under the direction of Mohamed Albunani and Mers. He was p art of the Youth Orchestra of the Conservatory of Classical and Arab Music of Tetouan, taking part in several festivals both on a national and international level.
He received first prize, second prize and an honorary prize in the Royal Competition for Young National Interpreters. His artistic career has been enhanced with collaborations and recordings with several groups of diverse musical styles, and he has collaborated with renowned artists Enrique Morente, Carmen Linares, Arcangel and Michael Nyman amongst others.
NOUREDDINE ACHA - NEY
Noureddine Acha was born in Tangiers, Morocco. From a very young age he began his studies with the ney and Andalusian sanaa. He studied under the best masters in the Conservatory of Music of Tangiers. He is a very well known musician, and a master in both classical Andalusian and Arab music.
His professional career has led him to take part in several festivals, within Morocco as well as many European countries, including Germany, France, Belgium and Spain, and also other North African countries such as Algeria and Tunisia, as well as Bahrain.
He has played with many renowned musicians, such as Hamid Ajbar, Marouane Hajji, Said Belcadi and Omar Metioui, to name but a few. His versatility makes him very sought after by musicians and singers from Andalusian, Arab and Flamenco groups.
MOUHSSINE KORAICHI - LUTE, PERCUSSION
Mouhssine Kouraichi was born in Tetouan, Morocco. He first began his musical studies playing lute and violin. He soon discovered percussion instruments, and continued studying these under the direction of professor Chekara, as well as perfecting his technique by completing several percussion courses.
He is a versatile musician who has played with several musical groups and orchestras in Morocco and Spain, learning from the best percussionists. He has taken part in several festivals and musical events in classical Andalusian music, early music and flamenco fusion.
KHALID AHABOUNE - DARBUKA, RIQQ, BENDIR
Khalid Ahaboune was born in the city of Tetouan, Morocco, where he studied percussion for more than six years. He then specialized in Arab percussion instruments, such as the riqq (tambourine), the darbuka (goblet drum), and bendir (frame drum).
He perfected his technique in Egypt, with master percussionist Said the Artist, and also masters the flamenco box drum.
He has played many concerts in several concerts, including Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Bangladesh, Italy, France, Portugal and Belgium, and has collaborated with many well known artists, including Omar Faruk Tekbilek.
FAUZIA BENEDETTI - FLUTE, BENDIR
Fauzia Benedetti was born in Bern, Switzerland, and began studying piano and music theory at the age of ten with jazz pianist and professor Vince Benedetti, also her father.
She learned to sing spiritual Sufi poems at a young age as part of a Sufi Tariqa in England, and also Meknes, Morocco. Whilst living in Zurich, she started studying flute with Regula Schwarzenbach, and continued later in Granada with Professor Lirio Palomar Faubel in the Conservatory of Granada, where she has been living since 1992.
Since living in Granada, she has continued to study classical Andalusian and Arab music, as well as completing several courses in Byzantine, Greek and Turkish modal music with Christos Kanellos Malamas.
MOHAMED BABLI -DERVICHE
Mohamed Babli was born in Aleppo, Syria. He began to learn the Mawlawiya (Mevlevi) Sufi dance (whirling) from the age of twelve, learning from the best Sufi Derviches and frequently participating in the Halaqat az Zikr (circles of Dhikr, or Sufi gatherings). The Mawlawiya is a spiritual dance that was invented by the Sufi master Jalaluddin Rumi, it is a circular dance that is similar to the movement of the planets orbiting the sun. It is done as means of abandoning one´s ego, or nafs, in order to reach a higher spiritual level, and requires great concentration.
Mohamed Babli has continued his turning in many events and festivals both within Spain and in other countries such as Portugal. España como en otros países como Portugal.
These include the Festival de Tres Culturas from Merida, Mexico, the Festival of Maghrebi Culture in Algiers, Algeria, Festival Andalusiyat Casablanca, Alegria Festival Chefchaouen, the Festival de la Dieta Mediterranea in Tavira, Portugal, the Festival de Música Antigua de Granada MAG, the Islamic Festival of Mertola, Portugal and the Murcia Tres Culturas Festival amongst others.
He has also taken part in several prestigious festivals in several countries, including Spain, Morocco, Algeria, and Germany amongst others. He is also director of the Festival of Early Music of Granada (festivalmag.es)