Arabic and Jewish musicians play for peace on an amazing CD

Qadim Ensemble

Qadim Ensemble

As conflict continues in the Middle East and a new American president extends an olive branch to the Muslim world, The Qadim Ensemble, a group of Jewish and Arabic musicians, have joined forces to play for peace on a new CD. Produced by celebrated neyzen Eliyahu Sills and Six Degrees’ artist Jef Stott, "Eastern Wind" is being released worldwide this month on Embarka Records…


{loadposition content_adsensecontent}

Eliyahu Sills, the band’s leader, comments that “music can be a tool in spreading cultural understanding and healing.  ‘Qadim’ brings together musical traditions from the diverse cultures of the Middle East, highlighting their many similarities, and pointing to their common roots in the ancient history of the region.  This experience of shared musical heritage can strike a chord of peace among people who are struggling to find common ground in modern times." 

Rachel Valfer adds, "its hard to hold a grudge against someone who loves something you love, who sits next to you clapping to the same rhythms and moved at the same shift in the maqam mode. We have entered a tense room and felt hostility melt around this musical experience."

Eastern Wind masterfully mixes the sounds of Middle Eastern instruments to create a collection of traditional and original songs that celebrate the shared musical and spiritual heritage of a region now deeply divided by ethnic and religious differences. Featuring folk tunes, improvisations, and songs of love and devotion from the 12th century onward, the eclectic ensemble uses traditional instruments to travel on a musical journey through Arabia, Armenia, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, Turkey and Yemen.

Jef Stott’s digital production brings to life ancient acoustic instruments including the ney, oud, saz, bansuri flute, kemanche, tablas, doira, qarqaba, bendir, daf, zarb, riqq, darbuka and dhola, and upright bass. Eastern Wind features accomplished multi-instrumentalists and vocalists Bouchaib Abdelhadi, Eliyahu Sills, Evan Fraser, Faisal Zedan, Fares Hedayati, John Villa, and Rachel Valfer, the group’s lead vocalist.

About The Qadim Ensemble
Qadim is a word found in both Arabic and Hebrew meaning ‘ancient’ as well as "that which will come."  The Qadim ensemble plays music inspired by many traditions of the Near East, in an effort to bring the richness and beauty of these ancient sounds to contemporary audiences. Recognized for their spellbinding performances, Qadim (pronounced ka-deem) is comprised of an ensemble of acclaimed Bay Area musicians.


The San Francisco Bay Area-based group has attracted a growing global audience who are responding to their authentic musicianship and timely message. Durme Durme, a track from the group’s debut CD, Songs of Qadim, was recently featured on Mediterraneo by Difference Music, an internationally distributed 4-CD set of 73 traditional and modern Mediterranean songs and 200-page hard-bound book showcasing the region’s history, geography and culture. The track Ya Adili Bilah can be heard on Petrol Records new collector’s edition compilation Arabia: The Greatest Songs Ever

About Eliyahu Sills
Eliyahu Sills has been studying and performing music for over 20 years on many instruments including upright bass, bansuri (the bamboo flute of India), and the ney (the reed flute of the Middle East.)

In the early 1990s, he studied the upright bass at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. Deeply influenced by teachers Makanda Ken McIntyre, Arnie Lawrence and Reggie Workman (John Coltrane, Art Blakey), Eliyahu began performing as a sideman and bandleader in renowned jazz clubs such as The Village Gate and Small’s.

In the years that followed, Eliyahu fell in love with the flute and applied the musical theory that he learned through his jazz studies to teach himself this most ancient of instruments. After falling under the spell of the Sufi music of Turkey, he became a devoted student of both the ney and the bansuri. He has since continued to study and perform these ancient instruments under the guidance of his teacher, bansuri master  G.S. Sachdev, to whom he is a devoted student.

In 2006, Eliyahu went on a journey to Turkey to study the traditions and nuances of the nay. During his journey, he had the opportunity to study under masters Neyzen Omer Erdogdular and Neyzen Ahmet Kaya.  In 2008 he returned to Turkey, continuing his musical development under his Turkish teachers guidance. 

Eliyahu’s mastery of musical styles spans the globe. He has performed and recorded traditional spiritual music of the Middle East with  Za’atar, West African folk music with the Palm Wine Boys, soul roots reggae with the Original Intentions, and acoustic soul with Sparlha Swa.  Recently, he has been making music with Ethiopian born jazz/soul vocalist Meklit Hadero,  North African trance  with  Hamsa Lila, recorded devotional music with Shimshai , and toured with Rupa & the April Fishes, and with oudist/composer Yuval Ron.

Eliyahu also mentors teenage youth.  He has taught at The Mosaic Project, an educational program that helps children from all backgrounds celebrate diversity, as well as Omega Teen Camp.  He currently teaches a class guiding young men at WCCHS, a high school in Richmond, CA, and for the rites of passage program at Stepping Stones Project.

For more information, please visit