Sounds Of Mirrors

Dhafer Youssef (tun)

A magical fusion of jazz and global.

Dhafer Youssef, a composer, singer and ud player originally from Tunisia, makes music without borders and is writing music history as the composer who introduced the ud to jazz. At nineteen, Youssef discovered Indian music in Vienna. He was captivated by the deep, sonorous Hindu sounds: “I was convinced that one day I would be playing with legendary Indian musicians”, he recalls.

Singer, ud master and composer Dhafer Youssef, born in Tunisia in 1967, started singing at the age of five. Unlike his grandfather, the muezzin of the local mosque, Youssef tried to improve his voice by singing songs he heard on his mother’s radio.

He was introduced to the ud, bass guitar and groove in a youth centre in his hometown Tabulbah. After playing at weddings and giving the conservatory of the capital Tunis a try, he was not satisfied and moved to Austria to continue his musical development. When he discovered that he was not looking for an academic education after all, the master fell under the spell of jazz and ethnic tones like in Indian music.

A match made in heaven
Some dreams need time to mature. For it is only thirty years and nine albums later that he discovers his match made in heaven in tabla legend Zakir Hussain and Turkish clarinettist Hüsnü Şenlendirici. Together they make Sounds of Mirrors (release 2018). Dhafer: “Indian music was the starting point on this album but during the recordings that took place in Mumbai and Istanbul something more universal emerged. While playing together, I clearly felt that we were kindred spirits that reflected each other. Hence the title of the album: Sounds Of Mirrors. So feel free to think of the album and also the concert of the same name as an ode to friendship and brotherhood.”

Youssef brings his musical alchemy to Heerlen with Raffaele Casarano on sax and Adriano Dos Santos on percussion.