Musical Performance: Re-Encounters on the Silk Road: Arab, Indian, Turkish and Kurdish Music

Sat, April 25, 2009 9:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

(View all musical performances »)


Ozan Aksoy (Vocals, Baglama)
Taoufiq Ben Amor (Vocals, 'Oud and Percussion)
Ramzi El-Edlibi (Percussion and Dance)
Gaurav Shah (Vocals, Bansuri and Harmonium)
Satyan Shah (Tabla)
Zafer Tawil ('Oud, Violin and Percussion)

Doors open at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets: $20/$15 students with I.D.


About the Music:

The Silk Road is a network of ancient routes extending over 5,000
miles from Eastern China all the way to the Levant and the Eastern
Mediterranean basin. This road was traveled not only by traders and
merchants but also by pilgrims, monks, soldiers, and prospectors
and, thus, was instrumental in the exchange of not only
commodities such as rare textiles, spices, incense and tea, but also
of cultures, languages, ideas, and belief systems. In a world that is
becoming increasingly fortified against immigration and the direct
exchange of human experiences, New York City stands at the
crossroad of a new Silk Route as a unique place where such
encounters can be re-imagined. Through playing together, a group
of New York-based musicians from India, Turkey, Palestine,
Lebanon and Tunisia are attempting such re-encounters.

About the Musicians:

Ozan Aksoy

The roots of Ozan Aksoy's dedication to music lies in his early childhood when his father began teaching him the art of baglama or Kurdish tembur, (long-necked lute), an instrument of special symbolic importance for the Kurdish Alevi minority in Turkey. He was born in 1976 and developed an interest in the multi-ethnic musical traditions of Turkey from the beginning of his music career, and became a member of the band Kardes Türküler (Ballads of Fraternity) from 1995 to 2003 as an arranger, composer and performer. Aksoy has recorded five albums and given concerts all around Europe and Turkey with the Kardes Turkuler, performing the local music of Anatolia, the Balkans and Caucasus. He has studied various traditional instruments of Turkey and Kurdistan with world renown masters such as with Sadreddin Özçimi, ney (reed flute) and with Kemal Sahir Gürel, kaval (shepherd's flute).

Having graduated from Bosporus University in Istanbul, Aksoy has pursued his passion for the different ethnic musical traditions of Kurds and Turkey in various media, including producing a 2003 documentary called The Other Voices for a TV channel in Turkey. He has also composed music for the documentary Sirtlarindaki Hayat (Life on Their Shoulders) and the movie Bulutlari Beklerken (Waiting for the Clouds), both of which were directed by the award-winner film director Yesim Ustaoglu. Besides performing in venues like Miller Theater, Makor, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Cornell University with two groups he founded, "Nour" and "Ozan Aksoy Trio," he is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Ethnomusicology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York as a Chancellor's Fellow and currently teaching world music and Music of the Middle East at Hunter College.

Taoufiq Ben Amor

Taoufiq Ben Amor is a Tunisian vocalist, percussionist and oud player. Taoufiq started learning percussion at an early age, then learned the Malouf (Andalusian repertoire) and sang with ensembles and choirs for many years. Fifteen years ago, he began studying the oud and the Arabic maqam system with various teachers such as Mohamed Labbad, Jamal Aslan and Simon Shaheen.

For the last decade, Taoufiq has been an active performer in the US and Canada and played in various venues including the Joseph Papp Theater, Symphony Space, Cooper Union, the Knitting Factory as well as several campuses. He is involved in several projects including fusion with North Indian, Afro-Brazilian and Iranian musicians. Taoufiq is also an educator, who does research and lecture on the subject and conducts workshops. He founded The Columbia Middle Eastern Music Ensemble and he produces Alwan's Festival of Sacred Music. Taoufiq is currently Professor of Arabic at Columbia University.

Ramzi Eledlibi

Ramzi El-Edlibi’s dance career began in Lebanon as he studied with the renowned choreographer Wadia Garrar and was a principal dancer with the Caracalla Dance Co. With Carracalla and on his own, Ramzi traveled extensively as a much sought-after performer of the Middle Eastern Folk Dance Art Form, performing in Russia, Japan, Spain, France, the U.K, Egypt, Libya, Iraq and more. Each of these locations have offered not only the opportunity to demonstrate his talents, but to extend them—absorbing influences from the various cultures that would continue to add interesting and varied dimensions to the complex tapestry of his art and his life. Ramzi is also an accomplished percussion player and teacher, mastering the tabla, riq (Arab tambourine) and frame drum.

Gaurav Shah

Gaurav is an initiated disciple of Ustad Sultan Khan. He learned flute from Pandit Ronu Majumdar and studied Western classical piano before discovering singing. While at Harvard, he co-founded the band Karyshma. He now also works closely with Falu, with whom he's appeared at Carnegie Hall, on national Fox TV, on multiple yoga compilations, alongside Ustad Sultan Khan on the maestro's debut U.S. album Rare Elements, and in the music of Angelina Jolie's film A Place in Time.

Satyan Shah

Satyan Shah a vocalist and songwriter who possesses an ability to seamlessly blend Indian classical/semi-classical music and contemporary pop/rock songwriting. After an introduction to Indian music from flute master Pandit Ronu Majumdar as well as several years of training in Western classical piano, he turned to singing and became an initiated disciple of Ustad Sultan Khan alongside Falu. As an undergraduate at Harvard, he co-founded the band Karyshma. He now lives in New York and works closely with Falu as a co-singer and songwriter. He is a neuro-oncologist by day.

Zafer Tawil

Zafer Tawil is an accomplished Palestinian musician based in New York City. He is a virtuoso on oud, violin, and qanun, and a master of Arabic percussion. Zafer performs in concerts, clubs, and at private events, and holds workshops in 'oud technique and Arabic music theory across the US and in the Middle East, including a recent U.S. tour of "Aswat" with Simon Shaheen. Zafer is constantly exploring the boundaries of Arabic music, and has worked on many collaboration concerts involving classical Indian and Persian music and Jazz fusion. His compositions and performance can be heard in Jonathan Demme's Oscar-nominated film Rachel Getting Married.

* * * * *

Last updated: 2009-04-25 19:22:19

Alwan for the Arts

16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor
(between Broad St. and Broadway)
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732-3261

Alwan Auction 2016

Join Our Mailing List:



Classes are currently being scheduled. Please check back soon for updates.



There are currently no upcoming events.


16 Beaver Street
4th Floor
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732 3261
Email Us

Alwan for the Arts is accessible to people with disabilities. Please call 646 732 3261 in advance, or, buzz at the door to arrange a ramp.

© 2020 Alwan for the Arts

Hosting donated by:, the Arabic Encyclopedia