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Dhafer Youssef Quartet (Tunisia/Armenia/Canada/USA)

(26.07.2009, 10:00 PM, Krakow Philharmonic)


Singer-songwriter and virtuoso of an Arabic lute. He comes from Tunisia. His meeting with music has begun, when in the age of five he started singing traditional islamic songs. He was attending Koranic school, but it didn't prevent him from listening to the „forbidden” radio. „It was only music. That was all I knew. I didn't know which was classical, which was jazz and which was anything else. All of it was just the music..” By learning rather instinctively, he was focusing on the Sufi sound, creating even then very individual vocal and instrumental style. The music of Dhafer has its roots in the Sufi tradition and other mystique sources, always staying open to influences of all musical scenes. Thanks to his poetic attitude for oud (Arabic lute), enriched by Arabic culture of composition and extremely emotional singing, Dhafer Youssef for many years has been one of the most intriguing characters on the music market. His debut album „Malak” (Enja, 1999), presenting wide spectrum of sounds, different styles and elements of music from all the world, has become a big event on the music market in 1999 and initiated some concert tours in America and Europe. By presenting Arabic lyricism, the might of rhythm, the power of visionary, multicultural musical influences and jazz improvisations – Dhafer Youssef created a new definition of culture connection between East and West, contradictory to the Samuel Huntington's theory. „Malak” was very well received by critics and public. Second album of Dhafer, „Electric Sufi” (also released by Enja) was recorded in New York, Cologne and Paris. Next one: „Digital Prophecy” connects the sound of spiritual Sufi with the power of electrojazz in the performance of biggest Scandinavian musicians. At the Rozstaje/Crossroads Festival we will hear Dhafer Youssef as a perfect vocalist and virtuoso of Arabic lute. He will be accompanied by brilliant instrumentalists – on bass guitar: Chris Jennings (Canada), on piano: Tigran Hamasyan (Armenia) and on drums: Mark Guilianna (USA).


„The act of genius; (…) mesmeric mixture of Qawwala music, full of spiritual passion, and poignant sounds of contemporary electronics”.

[BBC Music Magazine]


„The concert, where you pray it never ends. You will be telling other people about it for many, many years. Magic”.

[Straight No Chaser]


„Meditational sounds of Arabic world with modern electronic music. The music of Youssef casts a spell. (…) The rhythm of the Third World and the technology of the First World. Ancient and modern. Sacrum and profanum”.



„Passionate calling for a dialogue and understanding (…); invitation to the shadow in a hot afternoon...”

[BBC Online]


„He is not only the oud master, but also a dramatic vocalist. It's a music, that I'm going to get back to. (…) We were lucky to find ourselves in this enchanted place. The electric atmosphere – the public electrocuted”.

[The Evening Standard]


„Five stars”. [Observer]


„The beauty, the taste and the feeling of style”.

[The Independent On Sunday]


„The deceptive music. (…) The beauty in music and in emotions, hypnotic sublime”.



„Beautiful vocals. Painfully beautiful”. [The Guardian]


„The wealth of textures and melodies”. [The Times]

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