TEAL-ONE97 – Arab – North Africa Music project
The Eclectic Ambassadors of Love
Arab & North Africa Music Project
TEAL-ONE97 is an all-star rock music collective created by a new generation of American artists of Middle Eastern and North African descent. With multilingual vocals, groovy global rhythms, and transcendent melodies, this group creates a uniquely hip soundscape that pays homage to each artist’s ethnic and American musical heritage. Inspired by the global emanations of the Arab Spring, this dynamic combo debuted in 2012 with a powerful message of hope and positive change for a new generation and a new day, worldwide. In fact, their flagship song and debut album are both titled New Day on the Horizon. The single was composed by the luminary composer and music producer Dawn Elder.
The group’s founders—three superb musicians and one visionary Musician/producer—view themselves as a core, ready to collaborate with like-minded artists of all backgrounds. That process has already begun with the performance of New Day on the Horizon recording and with the band’s first major public performance which received rave reviews at the One World Concert featuring the Dalai Lama, and numerous other celebrities performing that day including Dave Mathews, Counting Crow, Voices of Afghanistan, Emmanuel Jal, David Crosby, Roberta Flack, Nelly Furtado, Andy Grammer, Angélique Kidjo, to name a few at Syracuse University Carrier Dome before 27,000 plus and airing to over 44 million viewers. http://oneworld.syr.edu/concert/
What’s in a Name?
There are 196 nations on our planet. “One 97” is an addition—the one that includes all the others. TEAL—The Eclectic Ambassadors of Love—is a playful statement of the band’s deepest purpose. The color teal is a bluish green that signifies trustworthiness and reliability and is believed to encourage spiritual development. Over the years, Teal has been associated with cultural and religious movements involving the evolution and spread of knowledge and humanity. For these musicians, Teal signifies peace and compassion, and the love they believe is key to solving the world’s most intractable problems.
A Global Movement Born of the Arab Spring
The Arab Spring of 2011 resulted in huge changes in the Middle East, and the ripples have spread around the world. Young adults everywhere have become engaged in shaping their own futures. This global climate of change has brought with it a musical spring as well, as young artists—especially in culturally oppressed circumstances—have sought to break free from the old modes and create sounds that take the best of the past, but mostly, look ahead to a better future.
The musicians of TEAL-One97 aim to surpass all prior blends of North Africa, Middle Eastern, and Western music. Their sound is neither Westernized Arabic nor Arabized Western, but rather an expression of today’s globally aware youth, in particular, a new generation of American artists from Arab and North African descent. Bridging the sweet tones of the oud with the rolling rhythms of the guitar, TEAL-One97 incorporate Arab, Middle Eastern, and North African music in equal measure with rock, country, rai and pop.
TEAL-One97’s engaged, active-voice songs call for changes that we can make today. The artists take personal responsibility for shaping a better tomorrow, rather than relying on uncertain hopes, or the authoritarian structures of old orders. Seizing a moment of change, equipped with the richness of the past and the possibilities of the present, these musicians see themselves as ambassadors of Arab Spring youth on Main Street, America. Equally important, they aspire to be role models for Arab youth in North Africa and the Middle East, both in terms of visionary leadership and musical style. For the “unfinished” work of the 2011 revolutions must go on, and lead to a true Arab Summer.
The Musicians of TEAL-ONE97
These are heady goals. But the creators of TEAL-One97 are uniquely qualified to achieve them. Collectively, they bring broad experience in traditional, classical, and popular music. With conflict-torn Iraq as a backdrop, Laith Alattar’s tenor voice carries sweet nostalgia of a beloved yesterday balanced with an unabashed power to create new sounds for a reimagined tomorrow. Nidal Ibourk has parlayed early acclaim of her pure soprano voice in her native Morocco into an innovative career of musical creativity and scholarship in the United States. MC Rai brings a hip North African vibe into the mix, from chaabi folk to rebel rai, and the latest grooves rocking the global dance floor. And composer, pianist and producer Dawn Elder connect with her Lebanese -American roots—and so much more—from her birthplace America rising to compose and produce with masters of the Arab world, and trailblazers of American music and theatre alike.
TEAL-One97 was the brain child of the groups manager and produced by a woman who shares these young musicians goals and vision and who has a track record of stunningly ambitious multicultural productions, Dawn Elder. From shepherding historic collaborations between Eastern musical luminaries and Western rock stars, to creating super-groups to represent the cultures of places like Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, and, most recently, Afghanistan, Elder has a multi-decade career of bringing the world together through music.
Just as the energy and dynamism of multicultural America are rewriting the future of business and politics around the world, there is little doubt that TEAL-One97 will revolutionize the future of American, and world, music.
TEAL-One97 Biographies of Members and Special guest collaborators;
TEAL-One97 is a collective, open to collaborations of every sort. Its founding members are as follows:
MC RAI was born in southern Tunisia, a place known for poetry, groovy African beats, and traditional chaabi folk music. His turn to neighboring Algeria’s socially rebellious rai music marked the beginning of his own genre-blending evolution. After moving to the United States in 2000, MC Rai fused sounds from the West with his deep-rooted North African culture. He gained attention from North American audiences for his infectious voice, fiery stage presence, and multicultural lyrics. He has since garnered a worldwide fan base and recognition from key players in the music industry, including major Hollywood composers. His music has been licensed for motion pictures such as Rendition, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, and the HBO series Sleeper Cell. He has performed with Algerian rai legend Khaled, and appeared on stage with such diverse luminaries as Bonnie Raitt, Joan Baez, Shakira, and Slayer. His music addresses humanitarian causes and has been heard in major concerts including Stop the War in Iraq (2003), Save Darfur (2005), and live shows assisting tsunami victims and earthquake survivors. MC Rai’s original songs “Is’ha” and “Yamina” were considered controversial, and banned by the Tunisian media long before the start of that country’s February 2011 revolution. He continues to stand for equality and justice. Now shouting out from San Francisco, MC Rai presents his fusion of chaabi, rai, rock, and hip-hop in the CD Raivolution—a melting pot in which ancient and modern sounds simmer into exotic, genuinely cross-cultural music. As a pioneer of the new generation of Arabic music, MC Rai is constantly expanding and deepening his art, inviting listeners to transcend bias, politics, and cultural divides and surrender to the transcendence of music.
Baghdad-born and American-trained composer, vocalist, and oud player, LAITH ALATTAR moved to the States at age 11, packing with him only his Babylonian heart and soul, deep enough to keep him rooted to the rich culture of that civilization but light enough to allow him to embrace the values, opportunities and challenges of his new homeland. Laith went on to pursue multiple disciplines, from pre-medicine to psychology to the arts. He studied at the University of Michigan School of Music, delving into composition, voice, and piano with Michael Daugherty, Jennifer Larson, William Aikman, Kristie Kuster, Stephen Rush, and Jennifer Goltz. Laith also studied Middle Eastern music theory and oud with masters Simon Shaheen, AJ Racy, Karim Bader, Naim Homaidan, and Rima Khcheich. Laith’s unique sound is an organic blend of traditional and new music. He has composed a number of Arabic and Western pieces, ranging from songs to film scores, including Driving an Arab Street (Arthur Hurley, 2003) and Refusing to be Enemies (Laurie White, 2007). Laith is also a founding member of the Al-Flamenco Fusion Music and Dance Ensemble, which performs Middle Eastern and Spanish fusion music, but also extends to realms of jazz and blues and collaborations with Turkish, Persian, and other musicians. Laith’s music is a wholistic blend of past and present—the sound of a new generation of Arab and American composer-musicians. Diverse American audiences—including Turks, Persians, and Arabs, as well as Asians, Latinos, and European Americans—all find in Laith’s unique sounds memories of yesterday and inspiration for tomorrow.
Recent New Member:
SIMO FILILI CHAHAD born in Casablanca, Morocco is a multi -instrumentalist- Arabic -Keyboardist, Piano, Guitar, Drums, percussion and vocalist was born in Morocco with the blessing and gift of music. The piano was his first instrument and he has studied classical music at the Academy of Music in Morocco , followed by training in traditional Arabic scales and rhythms. His natural ability allowed for him to be able to pick up playing the guitar and drums/percussion. Filali “whenever I faced the keys….natural rhythm and harmony would flow and songs would seem to materialize as if by magic. I went on to play every instrument I touched, including the guitar and the drums, eventually leading me to the Love of my Life, the keyboard. Simo came to the US to continue his education earning a master’s degree in computer Science which he believes directly relates to his music, and the unique programming of his developed with tech/ and live sounds. He has played with some of the most renowned bands in Morocco before coming to America. And has gone on to play with R & B and Rock bands while studying, eventually joining MC Rai in his group. So it was only a natural progression that the chemistry between the group, would lead him to be asked to join TEAL-ONE97.
Special Guest Collaborators
It is rather hard to imagine that the energetic Rai artist who owns the crowd with his smile and golden voice was once terrified by the thought of holding a microphone. Algerian-born Yacine discovered his singing talent when was 17 years old. As a young teenager, he was focused on his studies and a few extra-curricular activities such as painting and soccer. At the age of 19, Yacine’s love for singing and composing grew too big to ignore or let go. Nothing meant to him more translating feelings into musical notes and singing them. One of Yacine’s relatives pitched him the idea of starting his own local band in Setif, a small town in Algeria. After the regional success of the group, Yacine had overcome his shyness but faced another obstacle as his parents did not approve of his new-found career path. However, the Rai artist did not lose hope and was determined to follow his musical vocation. Yacine expanded his talent and passion to include musical composing and arranging. He also learned to play instruments such as the guitar, tabla, keyboard to name a few. Yacine then switched bands, recorded his first album and started his professional musical journey in Algeria and Tunisia between 1994 and 1997. In 1998, Yacine moved to Egypt and became a member of the national singing group, Transit. Yacine’s career took off in Cairo and he was awarded the 2000 International Music Festival Musical Arrangement Award. Yacine emerged as the ambassador to Rai music in Egypt. In the year 2005. Yacine’s talent was picked up by Dandana TV’s CEO and Executive Producer, Dr. Amr Altahwi. Dandana TV is the first Arab-American network to broadcast from the United States with a mission of being the eye and the mirror between the East and the West. He was so impressed with Yacine’s talent he decided to sponsor him and bring him to the US, where Yacine shot his first music video for Dandana TV in New York City which premiered worldwide in 2007 going viral. Yassin, growing popularity, both Internationally, and nationally in North African communities was becoming evident as the thousands of fans appeared at each of his live concert appearances. This was not enough for Yassin, he decided that producing his own music, and sounds was the only way to create his own signature sound, as well as learning to speak in English, and be able to incorporate new sounds into his music. Yassin has spent the last 4 years touring and writing music, releasing three more singles and working on his new album. When the opportunity arose to be a part of TEAL-ONE97, Yassin felt that fate had stepped in, and the chemistry he had been searching for in his music.. found a perfect home with MC, Laith and Simo.
KARIM NAGI is a native Egyptian drummer, DJ, composer and folk dancer. He is the creator of Turbo Tabla, and has released four internationally distributed CDs of this unique brand of Arab House/Electronica using acoustic instruments. Karim has authored instructional DVDs for the Tabla/Doumbek, Riqq tambourine, Maqam & Taqsim, Drum Solo for Dance, and Arab Folk Dance. He is well versed in the ultra-traditional styles of music, and has lead the Sharq Arabic Music Ensemble since 1999. He promotes and fosters the study of Arab dance in the USA as the director of the Arab Dance Seminar. Karim performs and teaches Tahteeb Cane Dance, Dabka Line Dance, and Zikr Sufi Dance. He taught at the New England Conservatory of Music for 5 years, and has lectured and presented at Harvard, MIT, Yale, Bowdoin, Princeton, Stanford, William & Mary, Georgetown, and several Community Colleges. Additionally, Karim Nagi’s Arabiqa program has conducted over 300 school assemblies across America, exposing young audiences to Arab traditional arts. His performances boast a dynamic concoction of live drumming and dance, done in unison. Because of his proficiency in both music and dance, his workshops deliver students to a new physical understanding of the connection between these two disciplines. As a dance and drum teacher, Karim has taught in dozens of festivals in the United States, Asia, Europe and Cairo, as well as all major Arab Culture festivals in the USA. Karim Nagi is a true crossover artist, uniting Traditional and the Modern, the Ethnic and the Urban. He is also now a collaborator and contributing musical artist to TEAL-ONE97 The Arab North African Music Project.
Paul Hefti , Guitarist, composer, son of the late Grammy winning Composer Neal Hefti, joins the group for their first recording, and on select tour dates.
Mohannad Mchallah, Syria, A native of Aleppo, Syria, Mohannad Mchallah is a professional singer of Muwashshah, a secular musical genre using Arabic muwaššaḥ texts as lyrics. A student of Sabah Fakhry, he has performed across the Middle East—notably in Lebanon and Dubai—and was selected to participate in Syria’s Super Star 2 (2004), a television show based on the popular British show Pop Idol that also spawned American Idol. He ultimately won sixth place out of seventeen contestants. Following his success on Super Star, Mchallah has gone on to record two singles. – He joins the group for their first recording, and on select tour dates.
Ramy Antoun -Hailing from Alexandria Egypt, Ramy Antoun was born into music—literally. The son of a producer and pianist, Antoun was given a snare drum at the tender age of three. By the time he was just seven years old, he was playing in his father’s band.
Having never taken a drum lesson in his life, 1980s and ’90s’ pop music was Antoun’s primary teacher. From an early age and all through his teens, Antoun would sit behind his kit for an hour a day and turn up the volume on the radio, becoming the drummer to every song. His self-taught approach paid off, as Antoun soon found himself one of the most in- demand drummers in music.
Before long his roster of credits included names like the Black Eyed Peas, Seal, Pat Benatar, Paul Oakenfold, and currently Ed Kowalczyk (Formerly of the band LIVE). Not merely content to work as a drummer, Antoun also dove into production and songwriting, garnering track credits on hit television shows and movies such as Matchstick Men, Crazy Beautiful, and The OC. Goldspot, Antoun’s recent musical endeavor, was nominated for Best International Artist in the 2010 VH- I Music Awards, for its record, Tally of the Yes Men. joins the group for their first recording, and on select tour dates.
Nidal Ibourk is a virtuoso singer, scholar, and multi-talented artist based in Chicago. She was born and raised in Rabat, Morocco, and moved to the U.S. in 2006 with State Department support to pursue postgraduate studies at Kent State University. Nidal’s amazing talent as a singer was recognized early, and, in 2004, she was a finalist on the Lebanese television program Star Search, a broadcast seen throughout the region on MBC. Nidal went on to sing at major festivals in Rabat, Marrakech, and beyond. In the U.S., Nidal caught the discerning ear of master composer and multi-instrumentalist Simon Shaheen, with whom she collaborated on revival performances of Arab music from the 50s and 60s. Aside from her mastery of Arab and Moroccan classical music.
A Chicago native of Palestinian descent, Ronnie Malley is a multi-instrumentalist and renaissance man who has performed since his youth. Ronnie began guitar lessons at age nine, and soon moved on to piano, Middle Eastern percussion, and, his principle instrument, the oud, which he taught himself to play. Ronnie performed at weddings, concerts, festivals, and local Middle Eastern clubs in a family band with his father and brother. Together, they accompanied such renowned artists as Kazem Al Saher, Magdi Husseini, Wael Jassar, Tony Hanna, Faisal Wazani, and Zahi Ghraib. After fifteen years of playing Middle Eastern and American rock music, Ronnie broadened his horizons collaborating with musicians from Senegal, Sudan, Algeria, India, Macedonia, Iran, Greece, and Turkey. He worked with Afro-Peruvian folk artists Rodolfo Munoz and Miguel Ballermos. He composed and performed for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s production of the Chinese fable The White Snake.
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