Throughout my life, musical traditions from North and West African, Arab, American, Southeast Asian and Cuban cultures have informed the music I play. Born and raised in New York City, a first generation American of Egyptian/Syrian heritage, I play music that expresses a journey, an integration and universal expression of feeling. My intention is to create beauty, to move people to feel, to enjoy, to reflect, to come together and celebrate life.
In 2012, I toured Morocco with my band Querencia, performing at the Lotus Club in Marrakech, and culminating at the Essaouira Gnaoua Festival, where the band received great acclaim.
In September 2014, I released a third CD: INCARNATE. This music is my response to the passions and pains of life, The language is Latin Jazz. The rhythms are Afro-Cuban. The soul is universal.
In June 2017, I returned to the studio to record my latest album. HEAVEN AND EARTH ~ CIELO Y TIERRO. It was released in November. The personnel includes: Colette, Melvis Santa, Reut Regev, Rey David Alejandre, Cesar Orozco, Jorge Bringas, Roman Diaz, Luisito Quintero, and Yusnier Sanchez Bustamante.
Over the years, I have performed with Youssou N’Dour in Senegal, Fathy Salama in Egypt, Julio Cambara Palacio and the Cuban Express in Curacao, as well as Harry Whitaker, John Stubblefield, and Hubert Laws, in NY.
I have recorded on albums by Harry Whitaker, Richard Bona, and Kaissa. I've also performed with Kenny Barron at the Jazz Yatra Festival in India (1986), Richard Bona at the St. Louis Festival in Senegal (1995), and Gnaoua Maâlem Abdelkebir Merchant at the Essaouira Gnaoua Festival in Morocco (2012).
From 1999 to 2002, I was an adjunct faculty member in the Jazz and Contemporary Music Dept. at the New School in New York City.
From 2005 to 2007, I played flute in NYC’s “Charanga Soleil”. From 2007 to 2015, I performed weekly with “Nu’ Guajiro/Nu’ Delux”, co-led by Aaron Halva and Jainardo Batista, at NYC’s clubs Oliva, Boca Chica and Cienfuegos. In 2008, I toured Cape Verde with Cape Verdean singer Toi Pinto and his band.
In 2012, with “Flor de Toloache”, co-led by Mireya Ramos and Shae Fiol, I performed at various venues, including El Museo del Barrio, Rockwood, Barbes, including appearances on NBC and Telemundo.
In recent years, I continue to perform weekly in NYC venues such as SOB’s, Havana Central, Son Cubano, BAM Cafe, NJPAC, Shapeshifter Lab, Drom, Barbes, and more.
Since April 2017, I perform weekly with Chino Pons y Grupo Irek @ Brooklyn's venue "33 Lafayette".
Onstage, I do what I can to communicate love, love of music, love of life. Playing music is vital to me. I am grateful for the desire to play, the ability to play, and for each opportunity to play.