Amos Libby (oud, vocals)
Amos Libby began his study of Middle Eastern music and oud technique with the late oud master and composer Udi Alan Shavarsh Bardezbanian, and has continued his study of his oud and Arabic and Turkish music through regular and extensive travel to meet with teachers in the Middle East and Turkey. Amos has studied oud in Morocco with Ustaadh Yusuf Madani of the Conservatoire Nationale de Musique Arabe in Rabat. Amos travels periodically to Turkey to study Ottoman classical and Turkish contemporary art music with Istanbul Conservatory veteran and oud and yayli tanbur master Osman Nuri Ozpekel, and has also studied in Istanbul with renowned oud virtuoso Necati Celik.
Eric LaPerna (percussion, nay)
Eric LaPerna has been a percussionist since 1987. He has studied African rhythms with Nigerian drummer Alani Ogunladi, Armenian, Greek and Turkish rhythmic systems with Alan Shavarsh Bardezbanian, and Riqq, Tabla, Duff and the Iqa’at with Master Arabic percussionist Michel Merhej Baklouk. He was the lead percussionist of the late Alan Shavarsh Bardezbanian’s Middle Eastern Ensemble and is a founding member of Okbari Middle Eastern Ensemble and Alhan Arabic Ensemble. Eric also studies the nay (Middle Eastern reed flute) with Ali Jihad Racy, Bassam Saba and Boujemaa Razgui.
Mal Barsamian (clarinet)
Mal Barsamian’s musical career began when he was four years old playing the dumbeg (hand drum) with his father, Leo Barsamian, at an Armenian picnic. Barsamian comes from a family of oud (lute) players across multiple generations. He has gone on to become a sought-after oud player and clarinetist as well as on other instruments such as dumbeg guitar, bouzouki, and saxophone in Armenian, Greek, and Middle Eastern communities for over 35 years throughout the country. He performed with the late Esber Korporcu, an important figure in Boston’s Middle Eastern music community, and has also appeared with Mehmet Sanlikol’s Dünya organization.
Boston-based African style band AIR CONGO play music from the 1960’s-70’s Kinshasa/Brazzaville scene-–the music of Docteur Nico, Tabu Ley, Les Bantous De La Capitale, TPOK Jazz, and more! Drawing inspiration from the instrumental sessions that Tabu Ley’s band Afrisa recorded to be played on the jets of Congo Air, our instrumental readings of this amazing music are upbeat ravers of another age. The group is led by guitarist Nathaniel Braddock, also the leader of the much celebrated Occidental Brothers Dance Band Int’l. He is joined in this group by a cast of Boston’s hottest jazz and world music players from Kotoka Brass and Sawaari.