Algerian-born Abdelkader Saadoun is a renowned master of RAI music – which originates from traditional Algerian music (Chaabi, Kabil, Gnawa and Chawia) and also encompasses Pop, Flamenco, Jazz, Funk, Rock, Reggae, Fusion, and Blues. Based in London, he is a composer, singer song writer, educator and plays Oud, Mandola, Percussion and Drums. A formidable band leader with a great track record in bringing together musicians from diverse cultures to create dynamic live gigs which combine these different musical stylings to extraordinary effect.

He has performed and worked for Islamia School, The Kayall Theatre in Luton. Abdelkader also performs with his band at various museums, Art Centres, weddings and many festivals and schools. His latest work featured at the Horniman Museum, VNA British Museum and the Natural History Museum. Abdelkader Saadoun and The Takaleed Drummers have performed for The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Andrew and The Amir Of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al – Thani at South Hook in South Wales and major festivals within the UK.

Abdelkader is part of the
TAKALEED project:
TAKALEED means tradition, based in the UK and brings people together through traditions with positive energy, creates and promote traditional music, art, fashion, North African and Arabic culture.
Takaleed also runs music, dance art and other creative workshops in schools, companies, special events & other venues around the world.


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Maren started her musical education from an early age in Germany. Initially trained in western music, she focused her studies on jazz and Middle Eastern music. Maren passed her Masters in Near and Middle Eastern Music Performance in 2010 with Merit at the School of Oriental and African Studies. Over the last 7 years Maren has studied Turkish and Arabic Ney flute with international recognised Masters of Ney such as Wadie Nossier (Cairo/London), Mohammed Antar (Cairo), Dr.Kadry Sorour (Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt), Ömer Erdoğdular (Istanbul), Murat Ferhat Yeguel (Konya State Conservatuary), Çağin Aydin (Istanbul), Mutlu Yilmazer (Turkey).
Maren has worked as a theatre musician specialised in Arabic Wind Instruments for the Arabian Nights Show at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford upon Avon and she regularly teaches Ney and Middle Eastern Music at Summer Schools and Universities in the UK.

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Russell has been involved in the study and performance of Middle Eastern music since the mid 1980's - After a initial period of study in Konya,Turkey specialising in Anatolian folk traditions with Ustat Ahmet Ozdemir, a renowned player of Oud and Saz ( long necked lute ) he broadened the scope of his study to include Arabic instrumental styles, specialising in Oud and Percussion. Russell has performed extensively throughout the UK with groups Bazigah, Taaliqa and Panacea and with a range of international artists including Adel Salameh and Naziha Azzouz.

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Asif Qu has been playing and teaching for several years. Specialising in Middle Eastern Percussion, but also plays and teaches West African Percussion and is learning to play the Indian Dhol.
Although mostly self-taught he has taken workshops and private tuition from Faisal Zedan, Tim Garside, Chas, Mark Bell, Karim Nagi, and Issam Housan.
Asif Qu has set up percussion groups in Shrewsbury, Nottingham, Lancaster, Lincoln, Northumberland and Cumbria. He has also taught at some of the major dance festivals such as Jewel of Yorkshire, Majma, Tribal Goddess.
He is also part of a Band called “The Nomads” alongside Mike Parnell, Mark Carlyon and Pete Gostelow.

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Chas has been learning, performing and teaching Arabic percussion for over 25 years. Predominantly self taught he has also taken instruction and inspiration from some the UK's best players. He has also travelled extensively across the regions and studied with many great players en route. Known for his clear and relaxed teaching methods, Chas is one of the most experienced and popular teachers of Mid. East percussion and rhythms in the UK and regularly teaches at prestigious events such as Womad, Glastonbury, Drum Camp East etc. Along with his partner Maren he plays in several musical projects (
Mazaj, Souk Bab el Louk ) and performs nationally and internationally. Chas plays many of the percussion instruments found in these regions including: Darabuka, Frame Drums, Riq ( Arabic Tambourine ), Zills ( Finger Cymbals ) and Qarqaba ( Moroccan Castanets ).

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Drum Solo ( Issam )

Drum Solo

Playing Frame Drum



Bland is a Kurdish musician from the North of Iraq, where he mastered Oud, Kemenche ( Spike Fiddle ) and the Duduk. He relocated to the UK and studied at several academic institutions and is currently completing his PhD in Music and Media. He has worked with many artists and musicians from different cultures expanding his knowledge regarding their art and music.

He has performed at many prestigious venues and events including the 21st International Tartu Early Music Festival "Orient et Occident",Vilnius, Kaunas and Warsaw. He also had a residency alongside Maren Lueg at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford upon Avon for their Arabian Nights show.

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Since his teenage years Elvin has had a musical interest, playing guitar in various bands touring the Welsh circuit playing covers from artists such as Santana, The Eagles etc. Elvin was always a frustrated percussionist at heart and decided to take up hand percussion (Djembe, congas, bongos, Cajon) 15 years ago. Since then he has played with many bands and recorded several original pieces with them.

Elvin has a long history of performing contemporary live music but was looking for a new outlet for his creativity, so when he watched a performance of Issam Houshan playing the darbuka, he knew he’d found exactly what he had been looking for.

Elvin’s commitment to and passion for Arabic drumming belies the fact that this was only 5 years ago and since then he has studied intensely through a combination of online courses and attendance at residential courses and workshops taught by internationally renowned teachers. As a result, Elvin has gone from strength to strength, playing with other musicians such as Ommodom, Laylet amar and Hazir. More recently Elvin toured with Club Cairo during their recent and highly successful Julnah of the Sea production. Elvin is a well-regarded teacher and over the years has worked with a variety of belly dancers running drum workshops throughout the UK.
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HAZIR: Turkish/Urdu = 'Ready, Willing, Available’

The members of Hazir Ensemble will be joining several workshops to provide live music for dance and singing workshops.

The Hazir Ensemble play their own intoxicating, high-energy, shimmy-inspiring interpretations of popular, folk and classical melodies, songs and rhythms from across the Middle East, Turkey and beyond.

Hazir are:
Elvin Herrick - (Darabuka/Riq/Frame drums)
Jo Levine - (Quarter Tone Accordion, Percussion)
Simon Leach - (Oud/Saz/Percussion/Mizmar/Voice)
Tom Parry - (Clarinet/Saxophone/Percussion)
With special guest singer;
Sevilay Turlington.