Seffarine: Forging a Fresh Flamenco and Moroccan-Inspired Sound of the Mediterranean
Born in the ancient city of Fes, Morocco, internationally acclaimed singer Lamiae Naki and her ensemble Seffarine channel their deep knowledge of the music of both sides of the Straits of Gibraltar, the crossroad where African, Middle Eastern and European cultures meet. From the 9th to 15th centuries these cultures coexisted peacefully, producing a seminal musical alchemy that influenced the foundations of both classical Arabic and European Renaissance music.
In the 21st Century, Seffarine embraces and extends the rich legacy of this golden age of tolerance and exchange between Muslim, Jewish and Christian cultures by creating fresh, innovative works reconnecting these shared Mediterranean roots.
Charged with texture and color, Seffarine concerts carry the audience on a vibrant musical journey, channeling the heart-wrenching joy of the music and dance of North Africa and southern Spain to wide acclaim. Described by Bass Player Magazine as a "gorgeous intersection of Spanish flamenco, Arabic and Andalusian music, Persian classical and jazz," Naki's fluid, riveting vocals entwine elegantly with Nat Hulskamp's expert flamenco guitar and oud. Persian classical master Bobak Salehi's sweeping kamancheh (spike fiddle) and tar (Persian lute) play off bassist Damian Erskine's grooves and the drums and explosive flamenco dance of Manuel Gutierrez. Diving deep into the drama and technical prowess that characterizes these traditions, Seffarine invites listeners to hear with fresh ears the age-old conversation that spanned a sea, reminding us of the connections and histories modern identities disguise.
Seffarine has performed at prestigious events and venues around the world, like the Lake Tahoe World Concert, winning over audiences from Indonesia to Spain. They have brought their musical vision and cultural knowledge to community audiences and schools, including a recent tour of rural Montana schools on the Fort Peck Reservation. The ensemble has a strong history of support from the field: in 2017, Seffarine was selected by the Western Arts Alliance as one of three Launchpad Artists. Their debut album, “De Fez a Jerez” was supported by a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, allowing the group to work and record in Jerez, Spain with several of the living legends of flamenco music. The album received international acclaim and placed in the Transglobal World Music Charts top 20 world music releases, selected by a panel of 43 world music experts, and was named one of the “best African albums of 2015” by prestigious African music blog Afribuku.
Seffarine takes its name from the ancient metalworking square in Lamiae's home city of Fes, Morocco. Her family is well known in the Seffarine as master metalworkers continuing the tradition today. The square dates back to the 9th century and is famous for the complex rhythms that can be heard from the blacksmiths' hammers.
"gorgeous intersection of Spanish flamenco, Arabic and Andalusian music, Persian classical, and jazz"
"Un placer para los oídos"
"A Treat for the Ears"
— Javier Mantecón, Afribuku (Spain) —
"this enchanting album deserves international attention."
— Brett Campbell, Oregon ArtsWatch —
"an ear-caressing blend of sounds from Spain and north Africa, spiced with a bit of fiery instrumentation and percussion."
"a skilled blending of musical alloys"
— Willamette Week —
2017-2019 WAA Launchpad Artist
Recipients of grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Council and Oregon Arts Commission
Top 20 World Music Releases, Transglobal World Music Charts
past performances include:
Feb 3 Northeastern Arts Network - Malta, MT
Feb 4 Northeastern Arts Network - Glasgow, MT
Feb 5 Northeastern Arts Network - Frazer, MT
Feb 6 Mondak Cultural Center - Sidney, MT
Feb 7 Northeastern Arts Network - Sidney, MT
Feb 8 Mondak Historical Center - Sidney, MT
Feb 12 West Linn Library, West Linn, OR (Trio)
Mar 13 Guests in Antonio Rey Concert - Seattle, WA
Mar 14 Guests in Antonio Rey Concert - Portland, OR
Mar 20 Mission Valley Live, Polson & Ronan, MT
Apr 2 L&C College Mid East Studies Symposium - Portland, OR
May 13 Laguna Beach Live - Laguna Beach, CA
May 14 Portland Community College - Portland, OR
June 07 Connections Concert Series - Portland, OR
Aug 16 Edmonds City Park Concert - Edmonds, WA
Aug 30 Musical Travel Series - Portland, OR
Oct 4-6 Two Valleys Stage - Seeley Lake, MT
Oct 23 With Barrio Manouche - Berkeley, CA
Nov 6 Starring Artists Concert Series - Carlsbad, CA
Dec 1 Experience Music Concert Series, PCC - Portland, OR
Broadway Performance Hall | Seattle, WA
Columbia City Theater | Seattle, WA
Western Washington University | Bellingham, WA
Sprague Theater | Bandon, OR
Ruang Putih | Bandung, Indonesia
The Straw Hut | Bali, Indonesia
Serendipity | Jakarta, Indonesia
Alberta Rose Theatre | Portland, OR
Oregon Shakespeare Fest | Ashland, OR
University of Puget Sound | Tacoma, WA
Holocene | Portland, OR
SXSW Representing Seruni Audio Microphones | Austin, TX
Royal Room | Seattle, WA
Secret Society | Portland, OR
Ashkenaz | Berkeley, CA
Walters Cultural Arts Center - Hillsboro, OR
University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
World Concert - Lake Tahoe, CA
El Camino College Center for the Arts - Torrance, CAWest Charleston/Clark County Libraries - Las Vegas, NV
All of our members are educators as well. Please inquire about residencies, workshops and masterclasses offered in Arabic, Persian, jazz, flamenco music and dance.
For more information and videos about our outreach programs, visit our outreach page below.