Award-winning vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Ozan is leading this ensemble to present an ethno-jazz fusion from Persian, Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian songs with Arabic and Nepalese influences through the members of the group.
- Ozan Aksoy, saz, lava, nay, and vocals
- Jeff Dingler, Bass
- Ramzi El-Edlibi, percussion
- Richard Miller, bass
- Shyam Nepali, piano
Ozan Aksoy, saz, ney, and vocals
The New York City based Kurdish musician Ozan Aksoy’s destiny was set with his birth name — Ozan — an ancient title for mystical bards in West Asia. As a child growing up in Turkey, he first learned to play the saz (lute) from his father, and soon demonstrated remarkable breadth as a multi-instrumentalist, becoming proficient in many of the string, woodwind, and percussive instruments. He developed a passion for the music of ethnic and religious minorities in his country including Kurdish, Armenian, Laz, and Alevi among others. Later in college, as an early member of the critically-acclaimed ensemble Kardeş Türküler (Ballads of Solidarity), his colleagues and Ozan performed the songs of these unrecognized and sometimes suppressed cultures pushing the boundaries of inclusion in Turkey. During his time with the group they released four albums and toured extensively throughout Europe, spreading the message of inclusion. Ozan then relocated to the United States to complete a doctorate in ethnomusicology and further develop his diverse multicultural repertoire.
Now, in his long-awaited first solo album named after this ancient title of his namesake, OZAN, he draws upon songs with deep cultural roots, delivered in Turkish, Kurdish, and Armenian along with two of his compositions featuring world-renown musicians. He delivers an acoustic and electroacoustic collage of overlain tracks, performing most instruments and vocals on the album himself. Ozan creates mesmerizing and modern arrangements, bringing these sounds to a new audience. His lush melodies and textured voice evoke a mysterious and meditative sound that transcends borders. He holds a PhD in Music from CUNY Graduate Center and has taught at Columbia, NYU, and Hunter College. He has founded and led several Middle Eastern ensembles in NYC.
New Album “OZAN” is out: https://ozanaksoy.hearnow.com
Jeff Dingler, bass
Residing in Queens, New York, Jeff Dingler has been involved with many projects in various music styles ranging from the classic jazz sound of The Nelson Riddle Orchestra, to the funky Balkan grooves of Brad Shepik’s Balkan Peppers, all the way to the vintage Ethiopian sounds of The Addis Acoustic Project. Jeff’s recent album In Transit, inspired by living three years in Ethiopia, has received glowing reviews globally. He has also served as professor of jazz composition and bass at Mekene Yesus University in Addis Ababa. This year, Jeff is busy playing bass for the Adam Makowicz Trio, and Dave Frank’s quartet among many other groups. You can see Jeff perform at jazz and world music venues around New York City in the coming months, including The Blue Note.
Ramzi El-Edlibi, percussions
Ramzi studied Arabic dance and Ballet since an early age in Lebanon with Mrs Jarrar and Mr Caracalla. Ramzi has performed dance with leading vocalists and dance companies in the Middle East, such as Feiruz, Sabah, Wadi Al-Safi and Caracalla dance Co. With the raging civil war in Lebanon, Ramzi traveled around the world dancing and learning other forms of dances. Since coming to the USA, Ramzi continued his dancing career by learning and researching dance and music of the world.
Ramzi is the Artistic Director of Dance Around the World, an Arts-in Education program that bring dance and music to public schools.
Richard Miller, guitar
Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to an American father and a Brazilian mother, Richard Miller has maintained a busy performance schedule with concerts that explore his Brazilian choro roots, American jazz roots, and his classical guitar training. Recent credits include a special performance for Pope Francis; a White House performance for President Obama; music director for the Kennedy Center’s production of Olivério, A Brazilian Twist, a residency at Club Bonafide in New York City, concert halls such as Strathmore Hall, Kennedy Center, and Merkin Hall; New York jazz clubs such as Iridium, BB Kings, Cornelia Street Café, Zinc Bar, and DROM; the Pearl Theater in the New York production of The Stranger from Seville; lectures, workshops and concerts at universities such as Texas Southern University, University of Florida, Georgetown University, Baruch College, College of Charleston, James Madison University, UPenn, NYU, Middlebury College, among many others.
Richard earned a PhD in music theory from Catholic University of America and a Masters in guitar performance from Manhattan School of Music. He currently teaches music theory and ear training at Columbia University and is the Director of Education Programs for the Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance. Lambert Academic Publishing recently published his dissertation, “The Guitar in the Brazilian Choro.” A long-time practitioner of yoga and surfing, Richard created the Balanced Guitar retreat to enable students to learn a holistic lifestyle that will ensure many years of healthy and creative guitar playing. The guitar/yoga/surfing retreat takes place yearly in January (http://www.balancedguitar.com).
Shyam Nepali, sarangi
Shyam, started his education (singing, dancing and playing sarangi) at the age of eight with his grandfather Magar Gaine Gandharba and father Ram Sharan Nepali, both renowned sarangi maestros of Nepal. Shyam made his first public appearance at a musical competition held at the Royal Nepal Academy at the age of 15. Later on, he formed a music band Surva and released his first CD. His discography currently included more than fifty items. He is now one of the most noteworthy instrumentalists of Nepal. His Sarangi playing reflects both the typical Nepalese and fusion style, which is remarkably very soft, melodious and touchy to the heart. He has rendered more than 5000 performances both in Nepal and abroad.
Shyam has formed a band named ‘Rudra’ and is also a member of band named Sukarma and is a member of Singhini Research Centre that is working for the promotion and preservation of Nepali traditional and classical music. He has been invited to share his music in several cities in Asia and Europe. He has been traveling extensively in different parts of the world such as Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Japan, Korea, Holland, Denmark, Kyrgyzstan, and India etc. The main objective of each travel has been cultural exchange through his music. He is a regular performer on national Nepali radio and Television and is one of the most featured artists in the print media.