Al-Andalus Ensemble, Tarik & Julia Banzi

Al-Andalus Ensemble, Tarik & Julia Banzi

 Portland, Oregon, USA

International, Opulent, Timeless, Intense, Profound, the Al-Andalus Ensemble creates intriguing Jazz World Chamber Music merging bold innovation with traditions of the Middle East, Spain, North Africa, USA. Festival Ensemble is an explosive danceable formation around-the-world musical adventure.


VOX POP Award for the Best Album of 2010.

JPFolks Peoples Grammy Award for the Best World Music Song of 2009 (selected from 560,000 songs from 163 countries around the world).

"A development as fruitful as Astor Piazzolla's, when he shocked the Argentinean establishment with his "Nuevo Tango" - Ted Gioia,

A delightful proposition of exquisite music (El Pais, Madrid, Spain)

Al-Andalus Ensemble founders Moroccan oudist Tarik Banzi and flamenco guitarist Julia Banzi perform with Grammy-winning Charlie Bisharat (violinist for phenoms Alanis Morissette, The Rolling Stones, Janes Addiction); Jorge Pardo (Jazz saxophonist of Chick Corea and Paco de Lucia Sextet, Abu Dhabi-born, Basque contemporary flamenco dancer Laura Dubroca and multi-lingual vocalist Emily Miles to create an emotive tapestry of sight and sound.

The Al-Andalus Ensemble is steeped in tradition but the group beautifully and soulfully merges classical, jazz and contemporary music with music from the Middle East, North Africa and Spain to create what reviewers have called a delightful proposition of exquisite music (El Pais, Madrid, Spain). Historically, Al Andalus was a time when Christians, Jews & Muslims lived in peaceful co existence (Spain 711-1492). The Al-Andalus Ensemble locates its creative impetus in the rebirth of Al-Andalus in todays cultural landscape.

The ensemble won the VOX POP Award for the Best Contemporary Classical Album of 2010 and the JPF Peoples Grammy Award for Best World Music Song of 2009 (selected from over 560,000 songs entered from 163 countries in the worlds largest Independent Music Awards).

Performing to universal acclaim through a repertoire that embodies a new sonic vision that embraces our global cultural heritage, this season the Al-Andalus Ensembles international engagements have taken them to Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, Morocco, Malaysia, Spain, Switzerland, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Audiences can expect a program with rich and unusual instrumentation. The oud (parent of the Renaissance lute), ney (Arabic reed flute) and darbuka (ceramic drum) are entwined with the warmly emotional violin and punctuated with flamenco guitar to create a unique, deeply moving music--a development as fruitful as Astor Piazzollas when he shocked the Argentinean establishment with his Nuevo Tango (Ted Gioia critic, author of History of Jazz). The concert promises to be a fascinating evening where parallels and contrasts will be drawn between the old and the new. Highlights of the program often include contemporary works as well as traditional pieces from Al Andalus, Afghanistan and Iraq. Proud emblems, suspended within sound, each infused with its own poignant expression of nostalgia. The flow of these works, tugs at our heartstrings and inspires affection. The longing for an idealistic time permeates the works and functions as a center of gravity for the program.

The artists of the Al-Andalus Ensemble build a new artistic language that unifies Eastern & Western cultures and generates a work that is rich, layered and socially conscious, expanding the artistic horizons of both experts and novices alike. Further the advancement of international understanding, goodwill & peace by supporting a group that reflects a place and time of international understanding: Al-Andalus.


21 Strings (2009)
Alchemy (2006)
Vision (2002)
Genetic Memories (1999)
Illumination (1996)
Liman: For Whom? (1990)

Set List

The Al Andalus Ensemble presents an intricately woven tapestry of sound and sight: audiences enjoy music and dance from around the world performed from a contemporary Andalusian perspective. The ensemble is internationally known for its innovative fusion of Middle Eastern, North African, European and American traditions, which it represents through classical, jazz, flamenco, and contemporary music. The group’s spectrum of work includes original Nuevo-Andalusian and jazz pieces to stirring renditions of American spirituals to thrilling, improvised percussion solos played on traditional clay drums, and much more. Al Andalus concerts are fascinating evenings in which parallels and contrasts are drawn between the old and the new, the foreign and the familiar, the East and the West.