Yamma Ensemble brings the music of the Jewish diaspora to Athens

Over thousands of years of Jewish migration, the communities developed distinctive musical styles. The Ensemble West, Israel’s largest world music group, performing both ancient and contemporary Jewish music from across the Jewish diaspora. The group makes its debut in Athens on September 22 at 7:30 pm at the Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall. The pre-concert talk begins at 6:45 p.m. Tickets start at just $25, and UGA student tickets are just $10.

“So what is Yamma’s secret that so easily catches the ear of thousands of listeners around the world?” asks the ensemble’s website. The music is rare, esoteric, niche and performed with ancient instruments (duduk, ney, kopuz, oud, shofar) and creates the feeling of ancient times and a strong sense of spiritual heritage and tradition, although the materials are sometimes original and contemporary.

“The sound, performance, material selection and exciting arrangements took this music far beyond the expectations of the ensemble members. Without special plans, the ensemble has gone global and international, but managed to remain authentic, local and loyal to the region in which it developed and was born,” according to the website

The ensemble’s visit to Athens includes a regional youth performance in Piedmont Athens on September 23 at 10am; for more information call 706-542-2634. Yamma will also hold a public workshop at the Ramsey Concert Hall on September 22 at 12:45pm; entrance is free without registration.

For the artists

Talya G. A. Solan is an independent Israeli singer, songwriter and producer who graduated with honors from the Faculty of Arts at Tel Aviv University. She founded the Yamma Ensemble and The Israeli Ethnic Ensemble, with which she has released three albums and continues to perform worldwide. She is also a member of Kedem Ensemble, a Swiss-Iranian-Israeli-Italian group. Her influences and inspiration are drawn from ancient times, tribal chanting, sacred and secular Jewish chants and exotic natural Middle Eastern flavors.

Yoni Dror plays eastern and western wind instruments and was born and raised in Jerusalem. He received his musical education at the Music Academy in Tel Aviv and the Jerusalem East Music Center. He specializes in playing various wind instruments: duduk, ney, shofars, clarinet, saxophones, flutes, etc. Played and recorded with many popular Israeli bands: Rita, Idan Reichel, Shiri Maimon, Eviatar Banai. In recent years, he has also participated in theater productions.

Aviv Bahar specializes in stringed instruments. He was born and raised in Kibbutz Afek and Kibbutz Yodfat. Self-taught, he specializes in folk string instruments from the East: kopuz, oud, sitar. He composed and arranged from an early age and was influenced by Persian, Kurdish and Turkish music. He has collaborated with masters of Middle Eastern music in Israel (Diwan Saz, Mark Eliyahu, Amir Shahasar). He has also released two albums of original mainstream music in Hebrew with his musical partner, cellist Hadas Kleinman.

Sugar David plays Middle Eastern percussion, including the darbuka, daf, cajon, and frame drums. He was born and raised in Ashkelon. His main musical influences come from Moroccan, Turkish and Yemeni music. David performs in the Israel National Andalusian Orchestra of Ashdod as a musician and plays a wide variety of instruments including guitar, piano and flutes. He also sings. In addition to music, David worked at the Israeli Wildlife Hospital.

Avri Borokhov is a double bass player and music producer. He is classically trained by Israel Philharmonic Orchestra double bass maestro Eli Magen, practices Indian classical music with tabla guru Samir Chatterjee, mentored by Afro-Brazilian folklore professor Mestre Camisa, and studies jazz with Reggie Workman, Junior Manns, Peter Bernstein and Aaron Goldberg . In 2008, Borokhov graduated from the New School University in New York with a degree in jazz composition and performance.

Three ways to order

  1. Purchase tickets online at pac.uga.edu.
  2. Call the Performing Arts Center Box Office at 706-542-4400, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  3. Visit the UGA Center for the Performing Arts box office Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Five-minute parking is available in the Center for the Performing Arts drop-off circle to purchase or pick up tickets.)

Ticket buyers can create a series of five or more performances for a 10% discount.

To learn more about all UGA Performing Arts Center events, visit pac.uga.edu.

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