Stacks Image 49
Stacks Image 19

The Qadim Ensemble

Sacred and Folkloric Music of the Near East

Qadim is a word found in both Arabic and Hebrew meaning 'ancient' as well as 'that which will come.'   The ensemble’s repertoire includes Arabic, Jewish, Turkish Sufi, Hebrew-Yemenite, Armenian, Greek, Ladino and Moroccan music, celebrating the common musical and spiritual heritage of the region's cultures, while honoring the great diversity found within them.

Acclaimed for their passionate performances, The Qadim Ensemble is comprised of accomplished and acclaimed musicians. The San Francisco based band has attracted a growing global audience who are responding to their authentic musicianship and timely message of peace and cross-cultural appreciation.
Their most recent CD, Eastern Wind,  received rave reviews world wide, reaching #7 on Billboard's World Music charts.
“Truly world music, some of the most open, human music you'll hear . . . Essential”
-East Bay Express
“Beautifully presented, the players bring superb musicianship and palpable enthusiasm to each performance. Eliyahu’s ney flute along with Rachel’s succulent vocals are stars . . . creating a sense of human communication with the divine.”
-All Things Considered, NPR
“Listeners are deeply moved”
-Jewish Telegraph, London

“Visionary . . . achingly beautiful . . .”
-San Francisco Chronicle

Led by Eliyahu Sills on the ney,  The Qadim Ensemble consists of Rachel Valfer Sills on oud and lead vocals, Faisal Zedan on Arabic percussion such as the darbukkah, riqq & daf,  and Geri Hegedus on Turkish baglama saz, divan saz, persian setar,  and oud.

Eliyahu Sills

Eliyahu studied for over ten years with the Hindaustani bansuri flute master G.S.Sachdev, one of the worlds most highly esteemed musicians in that ancient tradition.  In Istanbul, Turkey, he studied with Neyzen Omer Erdogdular and Neyzen Ahmet Kaya, in Morocco with Akdii Abdelsalaam, and in Israel with Itamar Shachar.

Rachel Valfer

Rachel Valfer is a passionate singer and oud (Arabic lute) player who brings depth of feeling to every song. She studied Maqam and Persian dastgah modal systems in Israel and Palestine for six years at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and sings with several ensembles in the Bay Area. Gifted in the art of language, Rachel sings in Hebrew, Arabic, Farsi,Greek, Turkish, Ladino, and Armenian.

Faisal Zedan

Syrian-born Faisal Zedan was divinely inspired to play Arabic percussion at the age of 15. He received instruction from a distant relative, the only drummer in his village of Oum Dbaid.  Since moving to the United States, he has played with many of the greatest Arabic musicians, such as Ali Jihad Racy, Julien Jâlal Eddine Weiss, and the band Kanzaman. Through team work and daily practice, Faisal is dedicated to keeping Arabic music alive, and inspiring fellow musicians to have a selfless approach to playing music.

Gari Hegedus

Gari Hegedus plays variety of stringed instruments from Greece and Turkey including lauoto, oud, saz and hand drums as well as violin and viola. In addition to playing in the duo Teslim with violinist Kaila Flexer, he performs with world music group Stellamara and Persian vocalist Hamed Nikpay. He has studied with oud master Naseer Shamma and has recorded and performed with Ross Daly. He has toured with the Mevlevi Dervish (Sufi) Order of America and continues to participate in Turkish ceremonial and devotional gatherings around the country.

About the Instruments


The ney is an end-blownflute that figures prominently in Persian, Turkish, and Arabic music.  The ney has been played continuouslyfor 4,500–5,000 years, making it one of the oldest musical instruments still inuse. The ney consists of a piece of hollow cane/reed with five or six fingerholes and one thumb hole. Ney is an old Persian word for reed.


The oud is a pear-shaped stringed instrument commonly used in Middle Eastern music. The oud is readily distinguished from the European lute (its descendent) by its lack of frets and small neck. This instrument and its close relatives have been a part of the music of each of the ancient civilizations that have existed in the Mediterranean and the Middle East regions, including the Sumerians, Akkadians,Persians, Jews, Kurds, Babylonians, Assyrians, Armenians, Greeks, Egyptians,and Romans.


The saz (or baglama) is a stringed musical instrument shared by various cultures in the Eastern Mediterranean, Near East, and Central Asia. The term saz is mainly used to refer to a family of plucked string instruments, long-necked lutes used in Ottoman classical music, Turkish folk music, Kurdish music, Azeri music,Armenian music, Persian music, Assyrian music, and in parts of Syria, Iraq and the Balkan countries.


Setar (Persian: سه ‌تار, from seh, meaning "three" and tār, meaning"string") is a Persian musical instrument. It is a member of the lute family. Darbukka:


Arabian in origin, the Darbukka is commonly found in Turkey, the Balkan countries, and North Africa.The Darbukka is a drum with a goblet or chalice-like shape. Also known as the Dombak, Doumbek, Darabuka, and Darbukka it is commonly associated with Middle Eastern music, often as the lead voice of percussion.


The riq  (also spelled riqq or rik) is a type of tambourine used as a traditional instrument in Arabic music. It is an important instrument in both folk and classical music throughout the Arabic-speaking world. It traditionally has a wooden frame (although in the modern era it mayalso be made of metal), jingles, and a thin, translucent head made of fish or goatskin (or, more recently, a synthetic material).


The bendir is a frame drum used as a traditional instrument throughout North Africa. The bendir is used throughout North Africa, Ancient Egypt, and Mesopotamia, and has been around since prehistoric times. The bendir is used in the special ceremonies in the Sufi tradition is strongly characterized by the use of music, rhythm, and dance to reach particular states of consciousness.

Stacks Image 4

© 2017 Eliyahu Sills | Connect on Facebook