Al Andalus Ensemble: Tarik Banzi, Charlie Bisharat, Julia Banzi

In a marriage of East & West, the Al Andalus Ensemble embodies the new vision of America as a modern society that embraces its cosmopolitan, cultural heritage soulfully merging classical, jazz and contemporary music with musical traditions from the Middle East, North Africa and Spain. This creation brings the music of the Al-Andalus Ensemble to a new level by integrating instruments and musicians from Africa (Tarik is Moroccan American), Europe (Julia is European American, Laura is European) and Asia (Charlie is Palestinian-American) and treating the listener to a confluence of the best of the East and West.
Delicately attuned to one another these twenty one strings remind us that the intricate interplay of diverse voices is the geography of cultural harmony. Harmony by its very nature juxtaposes contrasting notes to create a sound which is more than the sum of its parts. "21 Strings" calls on the timeless power of harmony to weave a divine fabric that wraps the listener in a space of calmness and tranquility.

TARIK BANZI (composer, multi-instrumentalist & visual artist) Tarik is an accomplished visual artist who completed his Doctoral studies Fine Arts (Ph.D.) at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain and further studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. His artwork is included in collections throughout the world. Tarik has performed for such notables as Queen Sofia of Spain and Princess Haifa Al-Saud while his musicianship has graced the albums of flamenco and Jazz masters such as Paco de Lucia, Manolo Sanlucar, Enrique Morente & Jorge Pardo where Tarik introduced such mainstays the darbuka (clay or metal drum) and Udu (clay pot drum). Tarik's students Fain Duenas and Vicente Molina went on to form the Grammy nominated World music group Radio Tarifa. In the United States, Tarik's work in the Pacific Northwest in creating peaceful understanding between the US & Arab world and amongst Muslims, Jews & Christians has significantly contributed to the politics of the region and set the trend for what is now a blossoming Andalusian music Renaissance throughout the United States. Tarik's diversity can be seen in the works of Classical, Jazz, Folk, New Age, Rock & World Music artists from Billy Oskay (Nightnoise), Guadalquivir, La Trinca, Tijeritas, Michael Shreive and Graham Leer (Carlos Santana), Dan Crary, Carolyn Cruso, Lief Sorby, Magical Strings, Paul Winter, John Doan, Oregon Repertory Singers and Enrique Valdivieso. Tarik has composed scores of soundtracks for cinema & film including Delirios de Amor (Felix Rotaeta, Antonio Banderas), Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, Henry IV, Othello, Bodas de Sangre (Garcia Lorca) and Salome' (Nuria Espert). Tarik is a featured Arts Bridge Scholar and has guest lectured at many universities including the Reed College, Syracuse University, Denver University, Arizona State University, Virginia Military Institute, Delta State University, Washington State University, Portland University, Western Carolina University, Lewis & Clark College. Tarik & Julia composed music for American National Public Radio "Legacies: Faith, Hope and Peace" which was subsequently awarded the "Heart of America Award" for best in radio and was recently filmed for an upcoming American Public Broadcasting Station documentary on the three faiths "A Journey of Faith" (Auteur Productions).

Dr. JULIA BANZI (Ph.D.) (flamenco guitar, viola, percussion) The world of guitar boasts few women who ignite the sound of the guitar, and in the macho flamenco culture, even fewer still. Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, Julia lived in Spain for over a decade immersed flamenco and established herself as one of a very few female flamenco guitarists worldwide. In Andalucia's Granada, Sanlucar de Barrameda and later at Madrid's Amor de Dios studios, Julia worked accompanying notable dance instructors such as Ciro, La Tate & Manolete and studied with Spain's finest guitarists including Manolo Sanlucar, Isidro Muñoz, David Serva and Felipe Maya. Her passion for flamenco led her to explore its roots, where she focused on Arabo-Andalusian, Flamenco, Ladino & Indian musics. She went on to complete doctoral studies in Ethnomusicology at the University of California Santa Barbara (Ph.D.) where she simultaneously taught 'American Music and Popular Culture' and wrote her thesis 'Women's Andalusian Ensembles of Tetuan, Morocco.' Julia authored chapters for the Arab World Studies Notebook, Arab World and Islamic Resources and The Middle East Policy Council and served as a consultant for "The Rise of Islam" (Stanford University). She has organized panels and given papers at academic conferences including the Society forEthnomusicology and the College Music Association on topics ranging from 'Academic Ethno Ensembles' and 'Women, Music & Identity' to 'Andalusian Music' and 'The Marketing of Roma in Popular Music.' Julia is currently preparing a book on her interviews and photographs with the late master of Andalusian music Mohammed Temsamani. She currently teaches at Reed College and Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

Andalusian Women's Orchestras: Seven Centuries of Silence

While the historical record is rich with mention of women Andalusian musicians of the 9th-13th centuries CE, there is a notable scholarly void documenting the existence and significance of Andalusian women's ensembles during the seven centuries that followed. What became of these female musicians and their traditions?

The classical Andalusian musical repertoire is thought to have descended directly from the courtly music of Islamic Spain (711-1492 AD). It is considered by many scholars to be one of the longest continuous traditions of art music in the world. With few exceptions scholarly literature on Andalusian music focuses exclusively on the male version of the tradition. And yet, women musicians are connected to the very "origins" of Andalusian music, the search for which has been the central concern of much of the scholarship related to Andalusian music. Did they cease to exist? Were they collectively forgotten or simply deemed unworthy of remembrance?

This presentation explores how both recent and older Iberian memories continue to influence the dynamics of collective assembly; in this case gender-separated women's Andalusian events involving music. It documents the phenomenon of female ensembles and explores factors that have contributed to their persistence over the centuries. Based on historical and ethnographic fieldwork in Morocco that included interviews with dozens of ensemble musicians, I explore the special status that independent women's ensembles hold in Moroccan society, the intersections of gender and music tradition, and what the presence of these ensembles suggests about broader socio-political and religious arrangements in Islamic Morocco. I contend that the existence of women's musical traditions, previously undocumented by Arab and Western scholars, should lead us to reconceptualize intersections of history, memory, music, religion, gender and identity.


Short BioDr. Julia Banzi Ph.D. Ethnomusicology (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Department of Music, Reed College

Email: music (at) andalus (dot) com

Dr. Banzi is an Ethnomusicologist especially interested in constructing historical ethnographies—that is seeking ways in understanding how the long past influences and shapes present musical changes.

The two main geographic areas she explores are North Africa and Spain. Her special interest is the melding of varied cultures and religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) converging in Al-Andalus (711-1492). In Morocco, her focus is on women's Andalusian ensembles. In Spain, she focuses on the flamenco guitar tradition and the processes of when, why, and how performance traditions become obsolete.

Co-artistic director of the international performance ensemble Al-Andalus (, artist, composer and one of a very few female flamenco guitarists worldwide, her work reflects her over twenty years of living, studying and performing in North Africa and Spain. Julia is a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar who teaches at Reed College. She is passionate about her work and honored and excited to share her experiences with you!

For pictures, etc. see the following websites:

Dr. Julia Banzi (Ph.D.)
Ethnomusicologist, Flamenco Guitarist

Al Andalus Ensemble:

The world renowned, Palestenian-American, master violinist Charlie Bisharat will be joining the Banzis at Performing Tangier 2009

CHARLIE BISHARAT (violin): While you might not recognize the name, you would instantly identify the violin artistry of Charlie Bisharat. His work has graced the albums of such pop phenoms as Alanis Morissette, The Rolling Stones, Jane’s Addiction, and Aerosmith. His diversity can be heard on the works of Jazz and World Music artists Strunz & Farah, Don Grusin, and Oscar Castro-Neves. And his accomplishments have been featured in scores of soundtracks from Swordfish, Texas Rangers, Steal Big Steal Little to on-screen performances of Austin Powers Gold Member, The Drew Carey Show and Friends. A Grammy Award-winning performer, Mr. Bisharat has toured the world time and again with Jazz and New Age groups as varied as Shadowfax, Kitaro, Yanni and John Tesh. He has composed and produced tracks for record-setting album projects as well. His range of styles has led him from pop to jazz to classical, where he is often heard subbing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. His wide array of skills is best exemplified on his own recording on Universal Music Group’s Along The Amazon, an all-star album featuring some of jazz and pop’s greatest artists. A published author as well, Charlie has written and recorded the jazz improvisational book and CD Beyond Classical Violin for Cherry Lane Music. Mr. Bisharat’s compositions have been featured in movies and television as well as a myriad of recording projects. His works for small ensembles range from the original opus Lying In Wait by the all-female quartet Cello, to string arrangements for rock guitarist Andy Summers of The Police. Charlie continues to travel the globe performing in concert and recording with some of the most accomplished musicians of our day.

See also this link:

Artists with whom Charlie Bisharat has toured and/or recorded violin/strings include:
Philip Aaberg
Will Ackerman
Al-Andalus Ensemble
Fiona Apple
Burt Bacharach
Barenaked Ladies
Black-Eyed Peas
Mary J. Blige
Jim Brickman
Mariah Carey
Tracy Chapman
Kelly Clarkson
Keyshia Cole
Sheryl Crow
Neil Diamond
Don Grusin
Faith Hill
Al Jarreau
Jane's Addiction
Elton John
Bradley Joseph
Patti LaBelle
David Lanz
Lindsay Lohan
Barry Manilow
Ricky Martin
Richard Marx
Bette Midler
Ronnie Milsap
Alanis Morissette
New Found Glory
Roy Orbison
Jeff Oster
Pussycat Dolls
Rascal Flatts
LeAnn Rimes
Linda Ronstadt
Jessica Simpson
Rod Stewart
Joss Stone