Yamma Ensemble Brings Music of the Jewish Diaspora to Athens

September 14, 2022

Three men play instruments and a woman stands with outstretched arms in front of a stone wall.

Over thousands of years of Jewish migration, communities have developed distinctive musical styles. The Yamma Ensemble, Israel’s foremost world music group, performs both ancient and modern Hebrew music from throughout the Jewish diaspora. The group makes its Athens debut Thurs., Sept. 22, at 7:30 p.m. at the Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall. A pre-concert talk begins at 6:45 p.m. Tickets start at just $25 and UGA student tickets are only $10.

“So what is the secret of Yamma,” the ensemble’s website asks, “that catches so easily the ear of thousands of listeners all over the globe? The music is rare, esoteric, niche, and played with ancient instruments (duduk, ney, kopuz, oud, shofar) and creates the feeling of ancient times, strong sense of spiritual heritage & tradition although the materials are sometimes original and contemporary.

“The sound, the performance, the selection of the materials and the moving arrangements took this music far beyond any expectation of the ensemble members. Without special plans, the ensemble became global and international, yet managed to remain authentic, local, and loyal to the region in which it developed and was born.”

The ensemble’s visit to Athens includes a Piedmont Athens Regional Performance for Young People Friday, Sept. 23, at 10 a.m.; for more information, call (706) 542-2634. Yamma will also give a public workshop in Ramsey Concert Hall on Sept. 22 at 12:45 p.m.; admission is free without registration.

About The Artists 

Talya G.A Solan is an independent Israeli singer, songwriter and producer who graduated magna cum laude from the faculty of arts in Tel Aviv University. She has founded the Yamma Ensemble and The Israeli Ethnic Ensemble, with whom she released three albums and keeps performing worldwide. She is also a member of the Kedem Ensemble, a Swiss-Iranian-Israeli-Italian group. Her influences and inspiration are derived from ancient times, tribal singing, sacred and secular Jewish chants, and exotic natural Middle Eastern flavors.

Yonnie Dror plays Eastern and Western wind instruments and was born and raised in Jerusalem. His musical education was acquired at the Tel Aviv Music Academy and the Jerusalem Eastern Music Center. He specializes in playing diverse wind instruments: duduk, ney, shofars, clarinet, saxophones, flutes, etc. He performs and records with numerous popular Israeli bands: Rita, Idan Raichel, Shiri Maimon, Evyatar Banai. In recent years he also took part in theater productions.

Aviv Bahar specializes in string instruments. He was born and raised at Kibbutz Afek and Kibbutz Yodfat.  Self-taught, he specializes in folk string instruments from the East: kopuz, oud, sitar. He has been composing and arranging since early childhood and is influenced by Persian, Kurdish, and Turkish music. He has collaborated with masters of Middle Eastern music in Israel (Diwan Saz, Mark Eliyahu, Amir Shahasar). He has also released two albums of original Hebrew pop mainstream music with his musical partner, cellist Hadas Kleinman.

Sahar David plays Middle Eastern percussion including darbuka, daf, cajon, and frame drums. He was born and raised in Ashqelon. His major music influences come from Moroccan, Turkish and Yemenite music. Sahar plays in the Israeli National Andalusian Orchestra of Ashdod as a ney player and plays a wide variety of instruments including guitar, piano, and flutes. He also sings. In addition to music, Sahar has worked in the Israeli wildlife hospital.

Avri Borochov is a double bass player and a musical producer. He was classically trained by Israel Philharmonic Orchestra double bass maestro Eli Magen, practiced Indian classical music with tabla guru Samir Chatterjee, mentored by Afro-Brazilian folklore professor Mestre Camisa, and learned jazz with Reggie Workman, Junior Mance, Peter Bernstein, and Aaron Goldberg. In 2008 Avri graduated from the New School University in New York in jazz composition and performance.

For a complete list of UGA Presents performances, click here.

Three Ways to Order Tickets

  1. Purchase tickets online 24/7 online here.
  2. Call the Performing Arts Center Box Office at (706) 542-4400, Mon.-Fri., 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
  3. Visit the UGA Performing Arts Center Box Office, Mon.-Fri., 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (5 minute parking is available in the drop off circle at the Performing Arts Center for purchasing or picking up tickets.)