Artists overview


Last Breaths from Aleppo

The rich musical Sufi tradition has been transmitted orally in Aleppo for decades. Jawa’s mission is to preserve this heritage, which has been threatened by the Syrian war. The Sufi masters, who kept the secrets of this musical tradition, are gradually disappearing from the scene, threatening to lose a treasure of songs forever. Jawa Band presents the traditional musical pieces from its personal perspective and its own vision, while preserving the classical way of performing Sufi muwashahat with its complex rhythms and oriental maqams.

As guardians of this rich cultural heritage, Jawa revives the music and does so in a contemporary way. Originally, Sufi music was not played on instruments, but by doing so, Jawa offers a new and more contemporary approach. It is a project of preservation, but also of resistance. They refuse to see a tradition gradually disappear without trying to save it themselves.

Sufi whirling is a form of meditation which is still practiced by the Sufi Dervishes of the Mevlevi order. It is a commonplace meditation practice, through which dervishes aim to reach the source of all perfection. This is sought thru leaving behind one’s nafs or personal desires, by paying attention to the music, focusing on God, and spinning one’s body in repetitive circles, which has been seen as a symbolic imitation of planets withinside the Solar System orbiting the sun. A dervish practices multiple rituals, the primary of which is the dhikr, a remembering of Allah. The dhikr involves recitation of devotional Islamic prayer. This dhikr comes with dancing and whirling, in order to reach a state of “ecstatic trances”.

Musicians :

Khaled Alhafez : singing

Yousef Zayed : oud

Youssef Nassif : qanun

Tammam Alramadan : nay

Marwan Fakhir : violin

Simon Leleux : percussion

Hatim Aljamel : dervish




Tammam Alramadan is a Nay player and teacher. Born in Aleppo in 1994, he graduated from the Arab Institute of Music in Aleppo in 2010. From 2011 to 2012, he taught at the same institute.

He participated and played in many bands in Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia. He moved to Belgium in 2014 and played with many bands and realized many projects like Refugees For Refugees , Wajd Ensemble , Violet orchestra Leuven with composer and arranger Shalan Alhamwi. He has also worked with Mohamad Sharara and the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. He can also be heard on Tamino’s Habibi album with his colleague and friend from Refugees for Refugees, Tareq Alsayed. He also teaches at the World Music&Dance Academy.


Khaled Alhafez was born in Aleppo in 1981. Professor at the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus residing in Belgium since 2013, he is a member of several groups such as Ramal Band, Nawa Band, Wajd Ensemble and he participated in many international festivals in the Arab world (Beydine Festival Beirut with the Turkish master Kudsi Erguner , jerash festival Tunisia, The Kuwait Opera, The Damascus Opera, Pistachio Festival Gaziantep, Bahrain Opera House. He also teaches the origins of classical Arabic singing at the Greek Institute of Labyrinth.



Youssef Nassif was born in Edlib, Syria. He started learning the kanun at the age of 10. He studied in Damascus at the Higher Institute of Music in the fields of canoeing, piano and composition. He has already given concerts in Syria, Tunisia, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates and Turkey.

Since 2013 he has been living in Germany and since then he has mainly performed in Germany and Europe. In 2015 he presented his first album with his own compositions (Man’s Journey). He performs as a solo artist as well as with various ensembles and orchestras. He participated in the Warsaw Contemporary Music Festival, played with the “Stüba-Philharmonie” in Weimar and the “Brussels Jazz Orchestra” and performed with the WAJD ensemble for the European Commission. He regularly gives workshops on Arabic music. Since 2017, he is studying for a master’s degree in world music at the University of Hildesheim.



Marwan Fakir studied at the conservatories of Marrakech, Paris and Tourcoing. He is an expert in traditional Arabic and Turkish repertoires, and works with some of the great masters including Kudsi Erguner. He was one of the first musicians to introduce the five-string violin to the world of Oriental music. His career has taken him to perform on stages across the Mediterranean, in Europe, Latin America and Asia. He is currently a member of several bands and is the main musician for major Arab artists including Lena Chamamyan, Jahida Wahbe and Rashid Gholam, among others.




Simon Leleux (percussion, Belgium) is specialized in Middle Eastern percussions. He started playing music with what has remained his favorite instrument: the darbuka. Trained with grat masters and former student at Codarts in Rotterdam, Simon had the privilege to share the stage with musical celebrities and extremely varied projects, ranging from oriental music with Ghalia Benali to baroque music with Les Menus Plaisirs du Roy, not to forget Berber songs with Khalid Izri, ottoman music with Lâmekân Ensemble, music from the Balkans with Tcha Limberger, Nedyalko Nedyalkov, world music with Emre Gultekin/Vardan Hovanissian, Auster Loo, ….




Yousef Zayed was born in Jerusalem and began playing oriental percussion instruments at the age of 11. He then studied under Youssef Hbeish at the Edward Said National Conservatory in Ramallah, where he obtained a diploma in percussion. He studied the oud and oriental music theory and also played other string instruments such as the bouzuq and the cumbas. At the same time he obtained a degree in media at Birzeit University. He plays in many music groups and with famous artists such as Khaled Jubran, Basel Zayed, Ahmad Al Khatib, Issa Boulos, Nawa, Turab, Karloma, Awj, The Oriental Music Ensemble, Palestinian youth orchestra PYO, Samer Totah, Lena Chamamyan, Elie Ma’alouf Jazz Quintet, The Joubran Trio, Samih Choukaer, Abed Azrié, Wassim Qassis, Jameel Al-Sayeh, Sabreen, Smadj, Beit Almusica musical group, Yasamine, Al Funoun Folk dance group and First Ramallah group.


Norman Darwen

Last Breaths from Aleppo ★★★★
“It is deep, affecting music, as befits the dance’s trance-inducing purpose.”

Nigel Williamson

Last Breaths from Aleppo ★★★★
“Alhafez and his comrades see the album not only as a project of preservation but a message of cultural resistance, while sonically the effect is trance-like, even without the ecstatic whirling of the dervishes of the Mevelvi brotherhood which traditionally accompanies such music. Listeners, of course, are at liberty to provide their own devotional dancing.”


“The Sufi tradition in Aleppo, which is generally oral, is not in the best of shape due to years of war. The seven-member collective, consisting of five instrumentalists, a singer and a dancer, tries to save some of their gems for posterity on their first album.”

MixedWorldMusic (NL)
Ton Maas

“The stately singing of Khaled Alhafez is framed exceptionally beautifully by plucking on qanun and ûd, by violin playing, percussion and, of course, the instrument that represents the Sufi tradition and with its lilting and nasal sound symbolises the breath and thus the soul: the ney.”


“This is music that wins hearts and crosses borders despite being deeply rooted in many centuries of tradition. It also gives hope for the future to see that the music lives on despite difficult circumstances! Jawa should receive an award for the humanitarian impact of their music.”


« Last Breaths from Aleppo » is in the top 100 of the best albums of the year by Transgobal World Music Chart, and in the top 40 released in September.

Nigel Wood

« Last Breaths from Aleppo » is in the playlist and in the album recommendations of the show Ear to the Globe, on Irish radio Dublin City.

Marius Roeting

« …because of the plurality of tempos, the album is easy to listen to. »

Willi Klopottek

« A very moving album with great music… »

Le Soir (BE)
Jean-Claude Vantroyen

« It’s symbolic, strange, spiritual and beautiful. »


“The Jawa Band favors a personal perspective, grafting instruments onto songs previously performed a cappella, offering, in fact, a new approach in the execution of the mūwashshahat, a genre of strophic poetry with a refrain of medieval origin, characterized by the subtlety of intervals of the maqām and by complex rhythmic cycles.”

Transglobal World Music Chart (DE)
Steffen Kolodziej

« Last Breaths From Aleppo » ranked #22, #13 and #12 in the Transglobal World Music Chart top of best albums of June, July and August 2023.


Willi Klopottek

Jawa is on the German show Voyages on Radio SR2.


« Allamo almahboba hajri » by Jawa is on the Luxembourg show MONDOPHON on Radio ARA.

German Record Critics' Award (BE)
Yves Tassin

« Last Breaths From Aleppo » is nominated for a Quarterly Critic’s Choice award by the German Record Critics’ Award.


« …it expresses spirituality, but also joy and sadness. »

Willi Klopottek

« Ayuha Al-uzzal » by Jawa is on the Luxembourg show MONDOPHON on Radio ARA.


« Jawa immerses you in a world of traditional chants on ancient instruments such as the oud, the quanun, and the nay, which is strange yet fascinating to us. »


« Last Breaths From Aleppo » is #15 in the World Music Chart Europe top albums of June 2023.

Jan Willem Broek

« Last Breaths From Aleppo » is #22 in the Transglobal World Music Chart top albums of June 2023.

Senzor AM 639 (AT)

Jawa is on the playlist of the radio Senzor AM 639.

Holly Moors

« Hijaz Hamayun Peşrev » by Jawa was played in the #74 episode of the Italian podcast Globofonie.


« Sit back, and listen. It’s not going to get much more impressive this year. »

Jan Willem Broek

« Shefaa » and « Taba waqti » were played on the #607 episode of the Continental Drift show on Australian radio 3BBR.

Upcoming concerts

05/12/24 Arsonic (Mons, BE)
01/03/25 Concertgebouw (Brugge, BE)
19/03/25 CC Het Bolwerk (Vilvoorde, BE)
12/04/25 CC Ter Vesten (Beveren, BE)
12/04/25 CC Ter Vesten (Beveren, BE)

Past concerts

22/04/23 Muziekpublique- Album Release (Brussels , BE)
26/03/23 Festival Temps d'une Lune (Lille, FR)




Kenza Ismaili BE/EN- kenza@muziekpublique.be

Marie Devlieger NL- marie@muziekpublique.be


Tel : +32 2 217 26 0