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Vieux Farka Toure

Rafiki Jazz

The most diverse band in the UK, a host of musicians spanning 4 continents with refugee and migrant artists at its heart 

Wednesday 23rd November 2016, 7.30pm

Yellow Arch Studios, Sheffield

Sorry - no report available.

Click below to see João Paulo Simões video of Rafiki playing Dam Mast Qualandar 

Talking Gigs is delighted to present Rafiki Jazz – inextricably linked with Sheffield’s wonderful Yellow Arch Studios – they have been described as "the most diverse band in the UK, a host of musicians spanning 4 continents with refugee artists at its heart".  The band are In Trance-iT  through 2016 recording, performing and celebrating ritual & trance, passion & dance.  At this “home” gig you’ll get the chance to hear the fascinating story of the band and listen to them play a full set of this most wonderful phase of their development … and you might even decide to have a dance!



Rafiki Jazz are something of a legend on the Sheffield world music scene … and indeed even wider.  The band formed over 10 years ago with their first CD featuring 10 musicians from the UK and around the globe including Juldeh Camara, Kudaushe Matimba and Mim Suleiman.  They have been described as ‘The most diverse band in the UK, a host of musicians spanning four continents with migrants and refugee artists at its heart and immense sincerity and compassion coursing through their songs’  (Sashwati Mira Sengupta, Satellite State Disko).


This unique cross-continental collective have continued to evolve musically over the years drawing on and combining the rhythms and traditions of musics from all 4 continents to produce a stunningly unique sound.  They have played numerous festivals across the UK - appearing on the Radio 3 stage at WOMAD, selling out the Southbank and even playing to amazed rural village audiences and at distant Tasmania’s 10 Days on the Island Festival.


On stage Rafiki Jazz lead from the front with inspirational Sufi-soul singer Sarah Yaseen & psychedelic folk of star Hebrew & Hindi vocalist Avital Raz featured alongside ace Senegalese kora griot Kadialy Kouyate and Egyptian oud and ney virtuoso Mina Salama.  Add in a hot and exotic backline of Caribbean steelpans, hi-life guitar & tanpura drone with Indian tabla & Brazilian berimbau plus deep electric bass, and this amazing world music group’s cross-continental trajectory is clear.


But the band are more than just an exciting collection of brilliant musicians exploring the rhythms and music - their music delivers a powerful commentary on absolutely contemporary issues of migration, refugees and human rights. They are a real living demonstration of cross-cultural collaboration which is not worthy and dull, but that has a true vibrancy and passion which gives hope that we can all move on to better places and ways of living.


Marking a decade of recording and touring adventures, Rafiki Jazz have gathered together for 2016 a beautifully compelling new live soundtrack that draws on Pakistan & Senegal's mystic Sufi traditions and ancient Middle Eastern Coptic & Hebrew liturgy, driven by the pulse of the orishas of Brazil's candomble & the momentum of Indian sangeet. Aka Trance in Transit, each performance is an invitation to join a memorable migration to a vivid space where faiths, technologies and traditions meet.                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Rafiki Jazz are: Sarah Yaseen (vocals), Avital Raz (vocals, tanpura) Mina Mikhael Salama (vocals, oud, ney & kawala flutes, duduk), Kadialy Kouyate (vocals, kora, sabar), Vijay Venkat (violin, viola), Cath Carr (guitar, steelpans), Tony Koni (bass guitar, sabar), Johnny Ball (tabla, derbuka),  Guery Tibirica (berimbau, pandeiro, atabaque, gumbe, capoeira)

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