Artist of the Month

Basel Zayed

Basel Zayed is a virtuoso oud player and acclaimed vocalist skilled in classical and contemporary Arabic music. He draws on extensive experience with the Maqam (Arabic) music tradition to explore the beauty and universality of Middle Eastern music, especially when combined with other musical styles, such as jazz. An experienced music educator with a background in music therapy, Basel holds a master’s degree from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama at City University of London. He is also a trained pianist and skilled musical arranger. He has composed and arranged music for several successful artistic projects and performing groups. He also creates and records original soundtracks for movies, plays, and dance troupes. Basel has performed at many international music venues in various roles − featured artist, bandleader, conductor − in Sweden, Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, Lebanon, the United Kingdom, the United States, Jordan, Egypt, and Palestine.
Basel began his music career as a composer, vocalist, and professional oud artist in Palestine, and has developed a reputation as a successful musical leader and conductor. He has composed and performed with several groups, including Sanabel at Birzeit University, the First Ramallah Group, Yalalan, and Nawa. One of Basel’s early contributions to contemporary Palestinian music was founding the group Turab (“Soil”) in 2004. Through popular fusion-style compositions with lyrics based on the works of contemporary Palestinian poets, Turab has translated into music the complexities of politics, occupation, poverty, love, and daily life in Palestine.

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Basel currently lives with his wife and two children in Massachusetts, where he works as an artist, clinician, and educator, and engages in a number of projects.
Ayn Trio performs Basel’s unique instrumental string compositions (with Basel on oud/buzuq, Naseem Alatrash on cello, and Layth Sidiq on violin) that offer audiences a modern musical style that incorporates Middle Eastern musical heritage with a global perspective that highlights diversity. By seamlessly blending elements of Western musical arrangement with striking motifs of Mediterranean music, Ayn Trio realizes Basel’s vision of uniting listeners from diverse backgrounds in a common musical experience.
Kharoub (“Carob”) is an ambitious cross-cultural music project that combines Basel’s original, modern Middle Eastern music with the Hamon Martin Quintet’s traditional French Breton music. Soon after meeting in 2014 at the Palestinian National Theatre in Jerusalem, Basel and the members of the quintet realized that they shared a vision of bringing to life onstage their respective musical traditions for a global audience, et voilà − Kharoub was born. Since then, Kharoub has toured and performed Concert Palestine/Bretagne in various venues, most recently at the Temps Fête Festival, Festival de Bouche à Oreille, and other major festivals during the summer of 2018.
Awweed (“Oudist”) is Basel’s musical solo performance centered on the traditional style of Oriental music performance, featuring classical and modern heritage of Oriental music using oud, buzuq, and voice.
For more information, visit his Facebook page (Basel Zayed) or website (www.baselzayed.com), or listen to the playlist at
www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLclUr6wmBESqLGw6ZqdLJGSWoCm9Fo5eV.