hussein-zahawyHussein Zahawy was born in the Kurdistan region of Iraq in 1980, in a musical, Sufi background. He grew up in Iran, where he learned to play the daf at the age of three, followed by other percussion instruments. Receptive to musical experiences and new encounters, he is continually perfecting his skills and is a member of a varied array of music ensembles. He has composed works for the daf and studied ethnomusicology at the University of London. He has British nationality and lives in London.

abbasAbbas Bakhtiari was born in Bandar Shapour, in the south of Iran, in 1957. Initiated into traditional Persian music by his father, he learned to play the zarb under master zarb-player Hamdawi. After moving to Paris in 1983, he perfected his singing skills under Hossein Omoumi and Shahram Nâzeri. He has played and taught the daf since 1990, having been tutored by Ardechir Kamkar and Ardechir Fahimi. In 1990, he founded the Pouya Cultural Centre, of which he has been the director ever since, in Paris.

kemalKemal Ceylan was born in Erzincan in Turkey (northern Kurdistan) in 1975. He was two years old when his family moved to Istanbul. Music is a family tradition, since his grandfather, father, brothers and numerous relatives are all musicians. He spent all his school life in Istanbul, afterwards attending the National Conservatory of Turkish Music, where his principal instrument was the balaban. He wrote his dissertation on dance. At the same time as

studying, he worked as a musician and dancer, taught both disciplines and took part in numerous concerts and shows. Having completed his studies Turkey, he left for Germany to hone his skills. He accompanies major artists in concerts across Europe. He lives in Cologne and regularly performs with a variety of ensembles.


Farouk Soran

was born in Rawandoz, in Iraqi Kurdistan, in 1967. In 1988, he obtained a diploma from the Music section of the Mosul Institute of Fine Arts, where he studied violin. He helped set up Iraq’s Kurdistan Institute of Fine Arts. A member of the Iraqi Artists Union and the Kurdistan Artists Union, he accompanies top Kurdish artists both in Kurdistan and abroad. He also works for the Kurdish television broadcasting company, RojTV. He has lived in the Netherlands since 1996 and has Dutch nationality.

goran_kamelGoran Kamil was born in Sulaymaniye in Iraqi Kurdistan, in 1971. He learned music from a young age, going on to study at the School of Fine Arts, in the Music section, where he studied the cello, graduating in 1992. While a student, he set up a group of young musicians, then in 1991 helped set up the Kurdistan Symphony Orchestra in Hawler and later the Suleimaniye Symphony Orchestra. He taught at the Institute of Fine Arts from 1993 to 1997 before leaving for Europe, where he co-founded the group Agiry Zindû. He still presents numerous music tuition programmes for Kurdish television. He lives in the Netherlands, where he also works as a composer and arranger. He plays the lute.


This saga of ancestral love was passed down by word of mouth from generation to generation. The Kurdish poet Ahmed Khâni (1651-1707) then wrote it down in his work entitled Mem û Zîn, which was translated into several languages. Despite this, the oral version is still the more familiar one.

Set in the region called Jazira Botan (Turkey), the saga recounts the adventures of two lovers who meet first of all in a dream. Each leaves a ring on the other’s finger. It is then that the long and perilous journey of Mem begins, in search of the imaginary kingdom of Zin.

The dream soon becomes a reality, as the two lovers meet. One event follows another and the plot thickens in an atmosphere of tragedy which climaxes with the death of the two heroes before their wedding.

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