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Here you will find press info, band bio, audio clips and hi-res photos all in one place. To explore the different aspects of Asefa, please visit the pages on this website by following the menu to the left.

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Ensemble Background
Asefa was founded in 2001 by bandleader and composer
Samuel R Thomas. From the Hebrew word for an assembly or collective, Asefa brings together diverse worlds in the spirit of gathering and community. Drawing upon a plethora of musical traditions from North Africa, the music Asefa presents is a blend of North African grooves and song traditions with passionate and innovative composition and improvisation. This is Mitteleuropean proto-blues. This is music that honors both ritual and experimentation, reminding us of the vitality and variety within the Jewish tradition -- a tradition that reflects the world. Listen and trace your own roots, whatever they are.

The core collective includes Samuel R Thomas: winds, percussion, voice and composition; Noah Jarrett: bass and guimbri (sentir); Yoshie Fruchter: oud and guitar; Richard Stein: Middle Eastern and African percussion; Eric Platz: drums and percussion.

Written Press:
The Forward | Community Magazine | Tablet Magazine | WNYC | Teruah 1 | Teruah 2

Radio Press: WNYC-NPR Radio | WFMU 91.1FM -- Transpacific Sound Paradise, w/ DJ Rob Weisberg | WBAI 99.5FM -- Beyond the Pale, w/ DJ Abe Velez

Album Reviews: Jerusalem Post | Klezmershack | NYC Jewish Music | WNYC-NPR

WNYC-NPR @ The Greene Space (2011) Sephardic Music Festival (2010) Joe's Pub (2011)


Audio Tracks
 Allah Hu Echad -- This live excerpt is from an original setting of a poetic text composed by the Moroccan Rabbi David Bouzaglo, extolling Jerusalem as the seat of the Divine presence. The refrain integrates Arabic and Hebrew to remind us that the Abrahamic faiths share in the oneness of the Divine.
 Habibi Yah Habibi -- These live excerpts are from an original recasting of the popular Sephardic piyyut (paraliturgical poem) by early 20th century poet R' Asher Mizrahi. Verses of the piyyut implore us to recognize Divine mercifulness, to rekindle the ancient menorah, and to remember the pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times each year. During the chorus, shouts from the collective ensemble of "Yah Allah" juxtapose Hebrew and Arabic, reminding us that Divine energy is close to each and every one.
 Djemaa El Fnaa (Extended) -- Djemaa El-Fna is the name of the central square and marketplace in the southern Moroccan city of Marrakesh. This original instrumental reinvents the soundscape of the market, reminisces on the shofar, and opens up the heavy African-based rhythmic grooves to dancing. This piece features the ghaita, a double-reed instrument common in Morocco's Berber communities.
  Du Kiyum -- This piece features Shanir on oud, performing an original composition steeped in the maqam musical system of the Near East. Du Kiyum, translated as The Fulfillment, envisions a hope for coexistence between Arabs and Jews by evoking the musical matter that is readily apparent in the cultural traditions of the Arabs and Jews from the region - a Levantine liminus.
  WNYC-NPR Radio Feature | Web Article

Hi-Res Photos
Click the thumbnails to download high resolution photos for printing.

Venue Archive

WNYC - The Greene Space

BAM Cafe

The Blue Note
www.bluenote.net | Click Here to Listen...

Brooklyn Arab Music Festival 2008
Brooklyn Historical Society - Roundtable: Arab Music Traditions and Their History in Brooklyn Listen...
Sha'abi Shake Down @ Sultana, Williamsburg

Sephardic Music Festival Sephardic Scholarship Series

The Jewish Museum - Travel U

Brooklyn Children's Museum

Indiana University, Bloomington Opening concert for the Sephardic Initiative and class visit to Jewish Studies

Laila Lounge Bridging the Divide Benefit Concert

Center for Jewish History Moroccan Dream-weavers

Temple Beth Torah (Board of Jewish Education)


Congregation Beth Shalom JAMs workshop

Jewish Music Cafe



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