Dhafer Youssef closes the Istanbul Jazz Festival

The 19th Istanbul Jazz Festival will be closed by oudist and vocalist Dhafer Youssef with a premier of his project The Dance of the Invisible Dervishes, within the festival program Encounters with Masters.

Youssef gathered an international ensemble for this project, made of pianist Kristjan Randalu from Estonia, clarinetist Hüsnü Şenlendirici and kanunist Aytaç Doğan from Turkey, Norwegian guitarist Eivind Aarset, American percussionist Marilyn Mazur and British bassist Phil Donkin.

“When I work with Hüsnü, who sings through his instruments with the voice of Allah, it’s ecstasy. Our concert on July 19 will be declaration of my love, my aşk to Istanbul”, said Youssef announcing the concert which will be held at the courtyard of Istanbul Archeological Museum tonight.

“This is going to be the world premier of the ensemble, although some of us did play together last year in Germany. Despite the name of the ensemble The Dance of the Invisible Dervishes, the audience won’t see any dervishes on stage, but they will be able to imagine them very easy”, said this Tunisian artist in an interview for a one Turkish journal before the performance.

The Bosnian and Herzegovinian audience had the chance to listen to this extraordinary musician on the Jazz Fest stages in 2003 when he introduced himself with the ensemble Digital Prophecy, and at the 10th jubilee of the festival in 2006, when he played two concerts – with a band and pianist Bojan Z.

Listen to Youssef’s unique vocal at a concert in Sarajevo performing his composition Aya. Dhafer comments his vocal abilities as follows: “As a child I learned to sing in Quranic school. I remember going to the mosque to sing and loving the reverberations of my voice inside it. Because I’m an oudist, I think my voice has the color of the oud. I actually never had lessons, I just never wanted to sound like other people. I want to sound more like an instrument. The sound is important to me, and I’m still discovering it!”

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