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Meet the Artists    


Nat Hulskamp (Oud, Flamenco Guitar)
Nat was born in Portland, OR. He has studied gamelan music and lived in Bali, Indonesia. His interest in Flamenco led him to study with Tarik and Julia Banzi of Al Andalus. He continued to pursue his interest in the Arabic roots of flamenco with study in Morocco. After returning to the US, he moved to Seattle to study ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. There he worked with the groups Carmona Flamenco, The Rez Trio and others ranging in style from Hungarian Csardas and Gypsy swing to flamenco. He now resides in Portland, where he performs regularly with râz , Puro Arte Flamenco Dance Company, Pendar i Paya and Shabâvâ.




Bobak Salehi (Kamancheh, Setar, Violin)
A talented multi instrumentalist, Bobak was born in Tehran, Iran. He ventured into the music realm when he was eight years old, under the direction of his father maestero Hossein Salehi, and later studied violin with other Iranian master artists. He expanded his training into Western classical music by studying with classical violinists Anita Jones and Eileen Dies. In 1999 the Oregon Historical Society recognized him as master artist on Setar (Persian Long-necked Lute). In the same year, he founded the Damâm Ensemble, focusing on the classical and folk music of Iran. He has studies with crossover recording artist Kayhan Kalhor of the Ghazal Ensemble and Pirayeh Pourafar of the Lian Ensemble. In 2003 he co-founded a latin-middle eastern fusion group râz where he focused on blending the popular music of latin america and the middle east.


Deepayan Acharjya (Tabla)
A resident of Seattle, Deepayan was introduced to the wonderful world of tabla at the age of five and learnt the intricacies of the drum and taals for over a decade. He had the fortune of spending many of his growing up years in the spiritual Haridwar-Rishikesk area of India where there's a thin divide between rhythm, life, mysticism and religion. He earned his senior diploma in Hindustani classical music from Prayag Sangeet Samity (Prayag school of Music) Allahabad and was awarded the Indian national scholarship for young musicians at the age of fourteen. Deepayan's regular performance schedule can be viewed at


Chaz Hastings (Tabla)
Another Native of Portland, Chaz has been studying world percussion for five years, starting with Arabic darbouka, followed by his study of the North Indian tabla, with Doug Scheuerell of Eugene. Chaz performed tabla at the Willamette Valley Folk Festival and the Eugene World Rhythm Festival, while studying world music at the University of Oregon. He plays a variety of musical genres and has most recently begun studying Latin instruments such as Conga and Cajon. Chaz will to travel to India in the first part of 2006, to study tabla in depth with the master player Vishal Nagar.




Collaborating Artists    

Maestro Hossein Salehi (Santoor)
Born in Tehran, Iran, in 1949, Maestro Salehi was exposed to traditional Iranian music by his father, Maestro Abbas Salehi, a master violinist. At age seven, Hossein became enamored of the shimmering sound of the Santoor and began teaching himself to play, learning the fundamentals from his father. Later, he studied with some of Iran’s most renowned musicians. Nearly fifty years after striking his first notes, Maestro Salehi’s main goal is to pass on the music he has worked so hard to preserve, and to share his knowledge with those who show a genuine interest in his art. He teaches Santoor, Daf, Tombak and improvisation techniques, and oversees a variety of musical projects through out the year. Through out his musical career, Maestro Salehi has been the recipient of many awards. In 1998, the Oregon Historical Society recognized Maestro Salehi as a master artist on the Santoor and Persian Music. More info at



Maestro Tarik Banzi (Al-Panzi) (Uud, Ney, Percussion)
Maestro Banzi was born to one of the old Andalusian families (in Spanish) of Tetouan, Morocco who trace their roots back to Al-Andalus. He grew up immersed in the Andalusian tradition. Tarik later lived in Madrid, Spain throughout the 80's & moved in Flamenco, Jazz, and Middle Eastern music circles. Tarik formed the group Al-Fatihah with Judeo-Spanish musicologist Dr. Javier Sanchez, which has been recognized in Spain as the first group of Middle Eastern music. At the same time Tarik was collaborating and recording with flamenco masters such as Paco de Lucia, Manolo Sanlucar, Enrique Morente, Jorge Pardo & Carlos Benavent where Tarik introduced such mainstays into the flamenco sound as the darbuka (clay or metal drum) and Udu (clay pot drum). In the late 80's Tarik & Julia formed the group Amal together with Maria Ahmed, Rasgui Boujemaa. Tarik & Rasgui's students Fain Duenas and Vicente Molina later went on to form the group Radio Tarifa. In addition to his musical leanings, Tarik is an accomplished visual artist who completed his Doctoral studies in Fine Arts at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain (Ph.D (a.b.d.). You can see some of his works here. Tarik is the artistic director, co-founder, and composer of Al-Andalus.




Mandonna Salehi (Daf, Damâm)
The younger of Maestro Salehi two children, Mandonna was born in 1979 in Kermanshah, Iran. She began studying violin at age eight and later studied Setar and Daf lessons. Mandonna is presently continuing her musical education under the supervision of her father. Her public performances with Damâm Ensemble include the Hawthorne Gallery grand opening, and the Portland Art Museum's "Ancient Persia Exhibit" closing ceremony, as well as multiple appearances in the Portland Iranian Festival and the World Beat Festival.



Mehdi Farjami (Tombak)
Born in 1968 in Shiraz, Iran, Mehdi’s passion for music began at early childhood, listening to popular Persian music. His first memory of a live music performance goes back to age 7, viewing a great Santoor player in Iran. He started playing the Guitar at the age of 15, influenced mainly by Rock, Blues and Jazz. Having viewed music as an ideal medium for self expression, he has strived to speak this universal language to many different audiences. In the past eight years, Mehdi has been studying Persian music, with Maestro Salehi, on instruments like Santoor and Tombak. In addition, he has ventured into the challenging and adventurous world of Flamenco music. He is currently studying Flamenco Guitar and will continue to perform in the local Portland area.


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