Dhafer Youssef

Dhafer Youssef: A Musical Genius

Perfect music was always something that attracted me, inspired me to learn music, and motivated me to play an instrument. Perfect music gives a better taste to life; It revives and shakes one’s feelings, relieves him of his burdens. Perfect music, the true elixir of life.

November 19th, 1967. Dhafer Youssef was born. He grew up as a simple kid and studied at a Qur’anic school. He comes from a long line of « Muezzins », so for him mastering vocal performances was a heritage and a must. Although he used his voice mainly to recite Qur’anic verses, that didn’t stop him from listening to Jazz now and then, in which he grew an interest.
Moved by his beautiful voice, the local Muezzin asked him to record the call to prayer on tape. Even though he used a cheap plastic microphone, his voice resonated so strong as it flowed from the top of the minaret. That’s one of the experiences he could never forget despite all the albums and live concerts he made later.

Youssef would later leave Tunisia in 1990 for Vienna, where he wanted to start a carreer and shine as a Jazz musician. He jammed in bars and clubs, meeting other musicians and expanding his musical knowledge pool and finding more influences.
His first album « Malak » came out in May 1998; A collaboration with a bunch of musicians. Himself on vocals and oud, Paolo Fresu an Italian trumpeter, and Nguyên Lê on the guitar, etc… The album had a wide acceptance among critics.

« Achingly beautiful vocal » ~ The Guardian

Indian and Norse music are his main influences, from which he drew the wilderness and mystique that you can hear on his musical creations. A purely spiritual artist, his music connects to the soul and rejoices the heart.

There is much more to say about Dhafer Youssef and his Quartet, but even if I tried to I wouldn’t have enough words, so I will just leave you with this beautiful song, a perfect illustration of perfect music, the kind of music that Youssef was born to make.

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