Jamarabia Live Music Sessions (Aleppo Tarab Re-imagined) – Elixir Festival 2024

Sat 13 April, 20:00
£17 + bf

“Tarab” is an Arabic word that describes a state of emotional transformation and bliss when one is wholly absorbed in music

Join us for an enchanting evening inspired by the Tarab repertoire of Aleppo in Syria, known internationally as the hub of Tarab in the Arab world for its distinct maqams and diverse lyrical styles. The concert will feature a selection of classical Arabic Tarab songs and poems re-arranged for audiences for the first time.

The evening is curated by the Syrian violinist Bassel Hariri (also known as USTAVI), who was born and raised in Aleppo city, bringing together the finest Arab artists in London. Bassel is the founder of Antika Culture & Diaspora and Jamarabia Live Music Sessions.
Jamarabia will present to you fine selections from iconic works from the Aleppo Mowashahat & Qudood repertoire recreated to give the audience a different experience showcasing the flexibility and richness of the Arabic maqam music in Aleppo.

The evening is presented by Grand Junction, Arts Canteen, and Antika Culture & Diaspora as part of Elixir Festival 2024.



Jamal Alsaqqa (PERCUSSIONS)
Youssef Nassif (QANUN)
Zakaria Riahi (Vocal)
Ziad Hisham (GUITAR)



A Syrian violinist from Aleppo, who has dedicated his music career to exploring different avenues of expressing the sound of the Arab violin. His work spans across a wide array of experimental projects in different genres (Jazz, blues, folk & electronic).
Through Jamarabia streaming platform on the clubhouse app, Bassel has an international reach providing an open space for musical creativity that aims at exploring cultural diversity by bringing together both established and emerging artists to share their stories with music and art lovers across the globe. Through both virtual and physical jam sessions, he facilitates a space for creating fresh, authentic, and human-focused music while inducing dialogue that challenges all political and social norms and assumptions surrounding music-making, especially in the Arab world, with a special interest in Arab maqam music, and use of technology to engage more deeply with the wide spectrum of music making in the UK and beyond.
Outside the music world, Bassel is a corporate Lawyer and researcher. He is the founder of Antika Culture & Diaspora cic. A London based Non-profit organisation focusing on diaspora research and cultural empowerment of Arab diaspora in the UK.

Theo Archer

a Brixton born multi-instrumentalist; songwriter & composer based in London. With a particular interest in music from cultures across the globe, he interweaves a tapestry of influences into his composition & creations. A lover of collaboration, he writes with artists across many genres, ranging from Neo-soul to experimental grunge, indie-folk to jazz-rap & dub reggae to Afro-punk. An upcoming bassist in the London scene, Theo has most recently joined the Arabic fusion group Jamarabia and co-founded fresh Afro-Groove band Angata with musicians from across the African continent.

Ziad Hisham

Ziad Hisham is an Egyptian musician/producer based in London. He started his musical career in Cairo playing with several local bands including Shady el Qasseer Group and Grammy award winner Fathy Salama. After a few years of working as a professional musician, he decided to move to London to pursue a degree in music production and sound engineering. Currently Hisham is exploring the possibilities of integrating traditional Arabic music in Jazz.


Osama is a Syrian London-based Lead Arab Male Singer who studied music at the Arabic Music Institute for Singing in Syria. He is a member of The London Syrian Ensemble, The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, Masters of Syria and Kiwan’s Family Ensemble. Osama has participated in many concerts and festivals including Cambridge Folk Festival and Walthamstow Festival, Cully Jazz Festival, Liverpool Arab Art Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, Holland Festival in Amsterdam and Roskilde Festival in Denmark. Through the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, he has collaborated with Africa Express and Damon Albarn. As an Associate Artist of the Peace and Prosperity Trust he has appeared as the Muezzin in many of the performances of the Armed Man by Karl Jenkins, many of these concerts with Raymond Gubbay Productions and under the baton of Sir Karl Jenkins.

Youssef Nassif

Born in Edlib, Syria, Nassif began mastering the Kanun at 10 before studying music at the Damascus Music Academy. He’s performed extensively across Syria, Tunisia, Lebanon, the UAE, and Turkey. Since settling in Germany in 2013, he’s become a fixture in the European music scene. Notable highlights include performances at the Warsaw Festival of Contemporary Music and collaborations with renowned ensembles like the Brussels Jazz Orchestra. He’s also an educator, regularly conducting workshops on Arabic music. Nassif holds a master’s degree from Hildesheim University, and in 2023 released his second solo album, “Nabd Sharqi.”

Jamal Alsaqqa

Syrian musician and percussion player, A teacher in the Higher Conservatory of Music in Syria and member of the Syrian national orchestra. Author of the book “The complete in rhythms”. Holds an honorary degree from Lyon university, France and a member of the Artists syndicate in Damascus.

Zakaria Riahi

Moroccan born and raised in the vibrant city of Tangier, where the echoes of authentic Moroccan and Andalusian music have inspired his childhood. Passionate about smooth and meaningful spiritual music. Currently based in France.


Arts Canteen

Established in 2010, we curate and produce events, exhibitions and festivals that support emerging, mid-career and established artists from the Arab world and surrounding regions, bringing their work to new audiences in the UK and beyond. We now have an international reputation for excellence and innovation in our work.

Date: Saturday 13 April 2024

Start Time: 20:00

Doors: 19:00

All tickets are unreserved seating, allocated on a first come first served basis. Please arrive early before the concert starts if you have preferred seats.

Bar:  Open from 19:00. We serve a selection of craft beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks that can be taken to your seat.

Length: approx. 2 hours

Tickets: £17 + bf

We recommend pre-booking tickets to guarantee entry. Booking on the door will result in an additional fee of £1.

Venue: Grand Junction at St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Rowington Close, London W2 5TF

Closest Stations: Royal Oak (Circle and Hammersmith & City line) 0.3 miles

Warwick Avenue (Bakerloo line) 0.4 miles

Paddington Station (National Rail services and Circle, District, Bakerloo, Hammersmith & City line, Elizabeth Line) 0.9 miles

Buses 18, 27, 28, 46 and 6 buses all stop nearby.