Blending a psychedelic sensibility and a pan-Mediterranean sensuality, Basya Schechter leads her band, Pharaoh's Daughter, through swirling Hasidic chants, Mizrachi and Sephardi folk-rock, and spiritual stylings filtered through percussion, flute, strings and electronica.Her sound has been cultivated by her Hasidic music background and a series of trips to the Middle East, Africa, Israel, Egypt, Central Africa, Turkey, Kurdistan and Greece.
She began retuning her guitar to sound like a cross between an Arabic oud and a Turkish saz, with harmonic minor melodies, and odd time signatures. With the many amazing musicians, named below and others as well she has recorded four albums, three with Pharaoh's Daughter and one instrumental exploration with Persian santur player, Alan Kushan. PD also appears on three Tzadik label compilations: Voices in the Wilderness, the 10 year of anniversary of Zorn's Masada compositions; a collection of Sasha Argov music; and, a Brazilian Jewish composer from earlier in the 20th century, Jacob Du Bandolim.
Pharaoh's Daughter has toured extensively through America, Eastern and Western Europe, as well as Greece and the UK. This past summer, Pharaoh's Daughter had the honor of debuting at Central Park's Summer Stage series in August 2004, and has played such presigious stages as Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park, and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. When she's not touring or performing, Basya plays darbuka, riq and frame drum as part of the B'nai Jeshurun music ensemble that accompanies Friday night services.
Over the past two years, Basya was the recipient of numerous compositional and project grants from NYSCA (New York State Council of the Arts) American Composers Forum (for Trance, and multilayered sound and video installation collaboration with fillmaker Pearl Gluck) and the American Music Center. She hopes to record Pharaoh's Daughter's fifth album, Hagar, within the next year.
Graduated as the valedictorian of her class in the Boston Conservatory of Music for recorder performance. She plays all size recorders from the sopranino to bass recorder. Daphna MorSteeped in the Rennaissance and Baroque, she brings with her the precision and fluidity of a classical musician, but the inventiveness and improvisational skills of a world street musician. In that spirit, over the last three years she has also included in her wind collection, the snakecharming sounds of the crumbhorn, the turkish outdoor party instrument, the Zurna, the melodica, the Armenian duduk, and is presently studying the classical Arabic flute, the ney. She helped found the all women New Amsterdam recorder trio, travels throughout Europe performing classical music, leads musical programs at the esteemed Metropolitan Museum, and is part of the musical ensemble which plays at B'nai Jeshurun on Friday nights.
A virtuoso violinist and innovative improviser Meg Okura, has been seen in 65 countries through televisions and live performances. After receiving a Master's degree from the Juilliard School, Meg left the classical violin scene and started pursuing more contemporary music, performing and recording with some of the biggest names in music including David Bowie, Michael Brecker, Philip Glass, Jesse Harris, Lee Konitz, Steve Swallow and Diane Reeves.
She has performed at the Kennedy Center with the late Alexander Schneider and the New York String Orchestra and wrote her first symphonic work " Fanfare", commissioned and premiered by the New York Symphonic Ensemble in 1998. She then began a journey into Jazz, which led to collaborations with Sarah Brightman, Eric Friedlander, Heidi Grant-Murphy, Darryl Hall, Susie Ibarra, Ziggy Marley, Sam Newsome, Jeremy Pelt, Elliot Sharp, Dave Soldier, and Steve Sacks. She became a member of the Grammy winning Michael Brecker Quindectet, a Jewish/Middle Eastern jazz group Pharaoh's Daughter, Cuban-Jewish band Septeto Rodriguez, and avant-garde string quartet "Sirius String Quartet." She has also been cast as the violinist for the Cirque du Soleil's "VAREKAI " and is also the first call sub for the jazz violin chair in the Big Apple Circus and played on the sound track for "THE AVIATOR" with the Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. She is currently working on a record of her own contemporary originals.
Yuval Lion grew up in Tel Aviv, Israel and and after playing with Israel's top artists, moved to the US in 1997, where he has become one of the most sought after drummers in New York City.Yuval Lion Yuval has played and recorded with Joy Askew (Peter Gabriel, Joe Jackson), Warner Brothers recording artist Lizzie West, New York funk master Milo Z to name a few. Currently he tours and records regularly with two NYC rock acts — The Blam and Pink Noise — and makes national and international appearances with more ethnic ensembles like the Moshav Band, Michal Cohen's Henna Project and Pharaoh's Daughter. In all of his projects he has the masterful flexibility to fuse his uncompromising grooves with an array of ancient middle Eastern rhythms, hip hop, funk and rock and roll.
Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz
Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz — acoustic/electric bass, oud —was born in 1975 in Brooklyn, NY. Shanir has recorded and performed extensively with Satlah, Rashanim, and Pharaoh's Daughter, all who have made many records on John Zorn's Tzadik label. Shani Ezra BlumenkranzOther CDs recorded for Tzadik include a compilation of music by Israeli composer "Sasha Argov", a compilation of music composed by Zorn called "Voices In The Wilderness" for the tenth year anniversary of his band Masada, a compilation of unheard Masada compositions called "Unkown Masada", a compilation of music by Brazilian composer "Jacob Du Bandolim", "John Zorn: Filmworks XV" featuring Zorn and Cyro Baptista, and a new CD by Basya Schechter called Queen's Dominion.
Other CDs which feature Shanir on bass and oud include "Chinatown" - Nottwo Records, featuring Daniel Carter. "Sextet 2003" - Parallactic Records, featuring Anthony Braxton and Sonny Simmons. Trio Tarana's "Climbing The Banyan Tree" - Cleen Feed Records, featuring Ravish Momin and Jason Kao Hwang. Shanir has performed in many clubs and festivals around the world, including a concert for BBC Radio in London with Zorn. Shanir is also a featured performer in the May 2000 issue of Bass Player Magazine.
Shanir has also collaborated with Ravi Coltrane, Fred Sherry, Satoshi Takeshi, Hank Roberts, Sabir Mateen, Roy Campbell Jr., Tony Malaby, Will Connell, Jon Madof, Daniel Zamir, Jenny Scheinman, Daniel Kelly, Eyal Maoz, Avishai Cohen, Kevin Zubek, Jazz Mandolin Project, Lemon Juice Quartet, George Garzone, Okkyung Lee, Brad Shepik, William Winant, Jim Puglesie, Jim Black, Jamie Saft, Anthony Coleman, Mark Dresser, Charlie Burnham, Sonny Simmons, Ned Rothenberg, Marty Ehrlich, Trevor Dunn, Sylvie Courvoisier, Susie Ibarra, Min Xiao-Fen, Michiyo Yagi, Kasu Uchihashi, Makigami Koichi, Cyro Baptista, Marc Ribot, Kenny Wollesen, Joey Baron, Anton Fier, Eric Friedlander, Mark Feldman, Roberto Rodriguez, Louie Belogenis, Ikue Mori, Bill Laswell, and John Zorn.
In 1995 at age 20, Mathias Kunzli, a member of the Swiss Jazz Orchestra was awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston. Some of his most prominent teachers included Jamey Haddad, Ian Froman and Hal Crook. After making his residence in NYC in 1998, he became a widely sought after drummer and percussionist to Lauryn Hill, Yo Yo Ma's Silk Road Project, John Zorn's Electric Masada, Paul Winter Consort, Alessandra Belloni, Matt Dariau and Frank London to name a few. He has been hired for countless scores and recordings, ranging in styles from Pop, World, Classical, Jazz, Funk, Singer Songwriter. He is part of Rashanim, a trio with Shanir Blumenkranz and Jon Madof, who is one of the most prolific recording artists on Tzadik Records, with a sound that crosses boundaries into Jewish Middle Eastern, Eastern European Jazz and Jamband. Their appeal is wide both in America and abroad in Europe where they tour yearly.
Walking a fine line between jazz and world music, the accordianist, pianist and compsoer Uri Sharlin has become an established musician in the New York scene and around the world. His knowledge of both Western and Middle Eastern music feeds his unique composition style, expressed in the music of his band Cardamon Quarteet. Living in New York for the past 7 years, Uri trained as both a classical nad jazz musician while participating in some of the most exciting world projects in the city. He recorded several albums inlcuding a first album with Cardamon Quartet. Uri also performed with bands inlculding Anistar, Kaiku, Sul Norte, Ayyuab as well as musicians Cliff Korman and Roberto Rodgriguez. Recently, Uri spent an extended period in Brazil learning Choro and Forro musical styles among others on accordion and percussion. In 2005 a three week tour with Anthon and the Johnsons brought him to such venues like Montreux Jazz Festival, Town Hall New York, and Royal Festival Hall in London.
Also performing with Pharaoh's Daughter is David Byrne percussionist Mauro Refosco.
Queen's Dominion Project: Alan Kushan
Alan Kushan is best known for his unique techniques and performances in the world avant-garde music on his self made Santur. Composer, singer Alan Kushan lead a very diverse childhood traveling through Persia, India, Pakistan, Israel, Russia, China, Turkey, Greece, Japan and Europe. It was these early travels that laid the foundation for his unique love and understanding of global music and culture.
He studied music composition in Zurich, Köln and Berlin then he continued his further education in improvisation with Sir Yehudi Menuhin, avant-garde theory with Karlheinz Stockhausen .He quickly became recognized as one the most dynamic forces within contemporary world music and has performed and collaborated with some of today's greatest musicians, including Miles Davis, Paco De Lucia, Max Roach, Billy Cobham, Ronald Shannon Jackson and Mickey Hart.