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.
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. The ensemble often includes special guests, such as Bouchaib Abdlehadi, Evan Fraser, and Jason Ranjit Parmer.
Qadim is a word found in both Arabic and Hebrew meaning 'ancient' as well as 'that which will come.' Their repertoire includes Arabic, Jewish, Turkish Sufi, Hebrew-Yemenite, Armenian, Ladino and Moroccan music, celebrating the common musical and spiritual heritage of the region's cultures, while honoring the great diversity found within them.
Their most recent CD, Eastern WInd, received raving 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
Eliyahu Sills has been performing music for over 20 years on multiple instruments, including bansuri (the bamboo flute of India), and Turkish and Arabic ney (the reed flute of the middle east) upright bass, electric bass, and oud. In the early 1990s, he studied upright bass at The New School for Jazz in New York City. Influenced by teachers Makanda Ken McIntyre, Arnie Lawrence and Reggie Workman (bassist who played with John Coltrane and Art Blakey), Eliyahu began performing as a sideman and bandleader in renowned jazz clubs such as The Village Gate and Small's.
After leaving NYC, he began his studies of North Indian music on the Bansuri under the G.S. Sachdev, and began performing Middle Eastern music on the ney, which he studied in Instanbul, Turkey with Neyzen Omer Erdogdular and Neyzen Ahmet Kaya, in Morocco with Akdii Abdelsalaam, and in Israel with Itamar Shachar. He currently performs throughout the country with his critically acclaimed band, The Qadim Ensemble, (QadimMusic.com) whose CD reached #7 on Billboard's World Music charts, as well as collaborating with many acclaimed musicians.
Rachel Valfer is a singer and oud (Arabic lute)
player. Comfortable in Greek, Hebrew,
Turkish, Arabic and Farsi, her rich, earthy vocals
evoke longing, love, strength, and ultimately, a
sense of vastness and grace.
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. Rachel teaches Middle Eastern vocal styles and oud from her home in Berkeley, and can be reached at email@example.com.
Syrian-born Faisal Zedan was divinely inspired to
play Arabic percussion at the age of 15. He received
instruction from the only drummer in his village of
Oum Dbaid, a man who was a distant relative.
Faisal has played with many great Arabic musicians, such as Ali Jihad Racy, Julien Jâlal Eddine Weiss, and the band Kanzaman.
Through teamwork and daily practice, Faisal is dedicated to keeping Arabic music alive, and inspiring fellow musicians to have a selfless approach to playing music.
An extraordinary and soulful musician, Gari Hegedus plays a 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.
Bouchaib Abdelhadi, a native of Casablanca, Morocco, has had a distinguished musical career on both sides of the Atlantic. As leader of the Orchestre Abdelhadi, he performed throughout the Kingdom of Morocco in the 1980's. Since coming to the United States in the early 1990's, Bouchaib has been much sought out as a multi-instrumentalist (oud, Moroccan violin, percussion) and as a vocalist in Middle Eastern and North African traditions such as al-qa (Andalusian), Gnawa (Sufi trance), and Chaabi ("popular"). Recent career highlights include collaborating in 2002 with Pharoah Sanders on music for Alonzo King's LINES Ballet Company, and, in 2001, contributing to Omar Sosa's Grammy-nominated CD "Sentir". Bouchaib's live performances range from a US tour with Cuban jazz pianist Omar Sosa to a performance with Stephen Kent and Trance Mission. Bouchaib played with DJ Cheb i Sabbah on the album "La Kahena", with Cheb Khalid "the King of Rai," and Santana at Stern Grove, and has toured with a Sufi Naqshbandi Tarika.
Jason Ranjit Parmar
Jason Ranjit Parmar is a multi- percussionist whose passionate study of rhythm began in his early childhood.
He has since gone on to study world rhythmic traditions hailing from West Africa, Nigeria Cuba, Brazil, Haiti, and India. Jason has been training in Indian Tabla continuously for the past seven years with master Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri.
Jason has also provided tabla accompaniment for Ali Akbar Khan Sahib in both vocal and instrumental classes. Jason regularly performs throughout the west coast in numerous traditional and progressive musical groups, most recently with Tina Malia.
Originally from Orcas Island, Washington, Evan Fraser is a
multi-instrumentalist and recording artist currently based in the Bay
Area. Evan graduated from the California Institute of the Arts in Los
Angeles with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in World Music. His
teachers include: John Bergamo, Randy Gloss, Alfred Ladzekpo, Kobla
Ladzekpo, Sulley Imoro, Nyomen Wenton, Jim Santi Owen, and Mark Growden.
Evan's mission is to heal this planet and it's peoples by elevating the consciousness of each other's culture and the beauty of this Earth through music. Evan plays: Jaw Harp, Kalimba, Berimbau, Pandeiro, Marimbula, Melodica, Overtone Flute, Frame Drums, Calabash, Zabumba, Mouth Bow, Keyboards and various global percussion.