BAND MEMBERS

Yuval Ashkar Zourouna Middle Eastern Musician

YUVAL ASHKAR

(Vocals, Oud, Cumbus, Darbuka, Daf, Riq, Zarb)

Yuval Ashkar is a composer, oud ('ud) player, percussionist and internationally-acclaimed Middle Eastern musician. Yuval has evolved his unique style of oud playing through the synthesis of Turkish, Iraqi, Egyptian and North African musical influences and techniques. Yuval was born in Israel to an accomplished musical family. His father, from an Iraqi-Afghan background, a master trumpet player and teacher who performed with Israeli orchestras all over the world.

Yuval has worked with a large range of musicians both in Australia and Internationally. Some of these musicians and groups and events include, Cleis Pearce, Greg Sheehan, Greg Lyons, The Romaniacs, Dursun, Akdash, Andy Busuttil, Kurdish Earth, Metulla International Festival” with Ladino singer Yaheli Toren and famous jazz pianist Davis Coleman. Yuval was also invited to perform alongside singer Yasmin Levi in a special performance in Istanbul, Turkey. He has composed music for theatre and film, including a short film which won the "European Short Film Festival". He has performed several times at the Woodford Folk Festival with Guy Madigan and Ayelet Ashkar. Yuval recorded his first solo album, called "Maayan" - Traditional Middle Eastern tunes, songs in Hebrew from "The Song of Songs", and his own original compositions. He then recorded his second album, "Camoon", with Guy Madigan and Cleis Pearce consisting of traditional and contemporary music.

 

middle eastern band Melbourne

BYRON TRIANDAFYLLIDIS

(Vocals, Guitar, Bouzouki, Violin, Darbuka)

Byron Triandafyllidis is an Australian born of Greek descent Vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and lover of the arts and sciences. His main instruments are stringed such as guitar, bouzouki, violin and oud but also percussion such as the Darbuka. He has performed at numerous festivals and events around Australia and New Zealand as well as in Greece.

Byron has opened for performers such as Greek singing legend George Dalaras, world music composer/multi-instrumentalist Omar Faruk Tekbilek, and as a percussionist for Greek pop star Michalis Hatzigiannis. Also, as a session musician, he has played on various labels and movies. Some of his vocals/playing can be heard on the Buddha Bar label and the movie Death Defying Acts, starring actors Catherine Zeta Jones and Guy Pearce.

 

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GEORGE EL-AZAR

(Darbuka, Riq, Cajon, Bendir, Daf)

George El-Azar took an interest in percussion at an early age. Born and raised in Beirut Lebanon, he grew up immersed in traditional Middle Eastern music and culture. George's technique is influenced by authentic Arabic percussion fused with modernised Turkish technique to create his own unique sound. He travels frequently to further develop his musicianship learning from master teachers including Syrian born percussionist Faisal Zedan, Hakan Kaya and Izet Kizil from Turkey, and Rony Barrak from Lebanon. George recently travelled to Greece,Turkey, and Lebanon for training, inspiration and continuous development of his passion for music. He has accompanied various Greek, Turkish, and Arabic artists and bands at several significant multicultural events such as the Victorian Premier's Gala dinner at the Crown Palladium and Viva Victoria at federation square. He also performed at the opening ceremony of the Greek Orthodox Community Centre in Melbourne CBD. More recent performances were with Zourouna at the Assiut and Tie Soiree which featured Rachel Brice at the Spiegeltent, the launch of the Global Music Agency, The Victorian Multicultural Commission Awards at the Governor General's house and also at a well known restaurant in Istanbul. Governor General Linda Dessau even tweeted a photo of the band and stated that we were the best music she'd ever heard at her house. George is also a percussionist who has accompanied various Melbourne based music groups such as Turkey and Melbourne based band Bashka, Babaganoushe and Jadida.

 

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Cuneyt Cakmak

(Kanun, Percussion)

Cuneyt Cakmak is a Kanun player born in Istanbul Turkey. Cuneyt started playing Kanun when he was 8 years old. He studied Turkish music at Bogazici Music School. After he completed his bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering, he came to Melbourne to continue his Engineering study and completed a masters degree in engineering. He has worked with many great musicians both in Turkey and Australia. Currently Cuneyt performs Kanun with various Melbourne based bands and Artists such as Zourouna, Bashka , Mozaiq, Mastika and many other notable bands. Cuneyt has been immersed in various genres such as Turkish classical music, Jazz, Rock, Flamenco, Middle Eastern, and modern Turkish music. This has enabled him to create his own authentic and unique style of playing.

Various Notable Performances

Shir Madness Music Festival 2017

30th Lonsdale Street Greek Music Festival 2017

Brunswick Music Festival 2016 - Rumi Dinner and Show/Music for the People

Victorian Multicultural Festival 2016 - organised by Multicultural Arts Victoria

Assiut and Tie featuring international belly dance superstar Rachel Brice (US)

"I'll Dine With You" Launch - Interfaith Centre of Melbourne - 2016

The Shir Madness Festival Melbourne 2015

Launch of Global Music Agency @ Northcote Social Club

Neighbourhood Night at the Ian Potter Museum

Live performance on PBS Global Village program 2015

Victorian Multicultural Commission Awards 2015 - Governor General's House

Australian Asia Cup 2015 - performed at three matches

 

All artists featured in Zourouna offer private and group lessons for either instruments and/or singing lessons. Contact us to arrange a lesson!