Past Concerts 2016

© 2010 Content; Gil Medovoy© Design: fidlweb


Sonja Drakulich - Vocals, Hammered Dulcimer, Frame Drum

Gari Hegedus - Oud, Saz, Tarhu, Mandocello, Settar, Cümbüs

Peter Jaques - Clarinet

Faisal Zedan - Percussion

Briana DiMara - Violin


Stellamara began when vocalist Sonja Drakulich followed her vision and created a vehicle for the development of devotional music based in Near Eastern and medieval modal traditions.

Extraordinary musicians from diverse cultural backgrounds have since come together within the vessel of Stellamara, creating original music with a common intention: to celebrate love, beauty and unity through transcendent harmony, perfect dissonance, and passionate rhythm.

Rooted in Turkish, Arabic, Balkan, Medieval European and Persian musical traditions, Stellamara carries a deep devotion to the music of these cultures and transmits it with a unique timeless expression. With their world-renowned discography, licensing, and film score placements, Stellamara is at the forefront in creating highly innovative recordings and performances.

They are internationally regarded as being at the forefront of contemporary world music, giving new life and a fresh, modern expression to the beautiful and mysterious qualities of traditional modal music.

Praise from the International Press

 "Imagine an impressionist voice painting of a flickering candle flame. Sonja Drakulich and the other half of Stellamara’s core, multi-instrumental string lord Gari Hegedus, were joined by a lively percussionist and a cellist Rufus Cappadocia, who exorcised notes from his instrument with a near obsessive passion."

— Good Times, “Music Seen”

Right from the start, the virtuoso playing of the members of Stellamara becomes ever-present, while the stellar interplay lends an even greater power to their wonderful web of sound. You’ll find yourself wishing for an even stronger vocal emphasis if only because of the magnificent vehicle of vocal expression that Sonja possesses. Her voice is at a never-ending peak of clarity and luminosity, from soft, distant and tailing off into the night, to lively and ignited by fires that burn brightly within. At times she may bring to mind Lisa Gerrard, Loreena McKennit or Azam Ali, but the magnificent way she uses her voice is hers alone. There is no lack of power or presence in this intricately realized music, and those who favor Balkan, Medieval, Persian, Arabic, Greek, Turkish or Far Eastern music will find themselves captured quite easily in the free-flowing marvel that is created.

— Lloyd Barde, Common Ground Magazine

Something astonishing…. Drakulich pulls lyrics from 13th century Galicia, Croatia, Persia and from deep within her own musical experience and inspiration. The music thus produced defies simple description. This is one to hear with ears and mind open. Given the opportunity, Stellamara will transport you to a place outside of time…. This is world music for another world—one well worth a visit.

— Cosmik Debris

Exotic instruments have been carefully and gently molded to form an other-worldly base for the evocative, gossamer, rich-as-a-golden-bell voice of Sonja Drakulich. Stellamara is stellar.

— Anodyne



With a guest musician & Clarinet wizard Peter Jaques

Sunday, February 21, 2016 at 7 PM

Village Homes Community Center

2661 Portage Bay East, Davis, CA 95616

$15 in advance $18 at the door or more info, call (530) 867-1032

Sunday, April 24, 2016 7pm

Village Homes Community Center

2661 Portage Bay East, Davis, CA 95616

$15 in advance $18 at the door or more info, call (530) 867-1032

Abbos Kosimov

Abbos Kosimov is widely recognized as an international percussion phenomenon. He has long been the foremost virtuoso of the Uzbek doira, and has, through his many innovative techniques, taken the art of Uzbek doira to new heights of virtuosity. Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan to a highly musical family, Abbos’ percussive talents were recognized at a young age. He studied under the honored Uzbek doira artist Tuychi Inogomov, and later the famous doira musicians, the Brothers Islamov. He graduated from the College of Culture and Music in 1988 where he studied under the doira master Mamurjon Vahbov. 

He established his own school of doira playing in Uzbekistan where he taught many of the most talented young doira players, and later taught at the Tashkent State Institute of Culture. Among his many accolades, he was given the prestigious title of Honored Artist of Uzbekistan by the President of Uzbekistan in 2001. He has also been very active on the international touring circuit performing giving workshops and performing at international festivals, concerts, and universities in North America, UK, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, UAE, Austria, Italy, Japan, Germany, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Greece, Bangkok, Taiwan, Australia, India, Malaysia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. He has toured extensively with table master Zakir Hussain as part of the Masters of Perucssion group, and has played with many other well loved musicians including Kronos Quartet, Alim Qasimov, Omar Sosa, Randy Gloss, Austin Wrinkle, Houman Pourmehdi, Andrew Grueschow, Adam Rudolph, Giovanni Hidalgo, Terry Bozzio, Humayoun Sakhi, and Swapan Chaudhuri. Abbos currently resides in Sacramento, CA, and continues to tour and explore the boundaries of tradition and innovation in rhythmic cross cultural collaborations worldwide. 

Sirojiddin Juraev

Sirojiddin Juraev comes from a lineage of dutar players in his native region of northern Tajikistan. “Both my father and grandfather played the dutar,” said Sirojiddin, “and my first ustad was my father. Later I studied at the Music College in Khujand and at Khujand University, and after that, at the Maqom Academy in Dushanbe, where my ustad was Abduvali Abdurashidov. I listen a lot to old recordings of the great ustads, and when I hear something I really like, I try to learn those tunes. Now I teach dutar at the National Conservatory in Dushanbe. When I feel inspired, I also compose my own music on dutar. If you listen to a lot of old records that are inspiring, there should be an urge to compose. You can’t compose from a void. There has to be an inspiration that comes from listening to a master.”

Sirojiddin Juraev has toured extensively throughout Europe, North America, and at music festivals in the Middle and Far East. As one of the foremost virtuosos of the dutar and tanbur, and counted among the top masters of both the folk and the erudite classic tradition of Shashmaqom, his performances have graced prestigious concert halls including Carnegie Hall, the Louvre, and many others. He has performed as a member of cross-cultural collaborations with other world-class masters of traditional music including Wu Man, Humayoun Sakhi, Mukhtar Muborakqadamov, Abduvali Abdurashidov, and Abbos Kosimov. He is currently an artist-in-residence at Harvard University’s music department, where he is teaching dutar and tanbur performance.



Traditional Music of Central Asia by two great MASTERS!

We are honored and excited to showcase two of the most esteemed musicians from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

This upcoming concert will be the first time that both musicians perform in public together outside their home countries!

Sirojiddin Juraev - dutar and tanbur (two fretted string instruments of the Lute family used in traditional Folk and Classical repertoire of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan)

Abbos Kosimov – Doira (Frame drum used throughout Central Asia. Abbos often plays two & three doiras at once!!)


Cookie Segelstein - Violin, Viola

Joshua Horowitz – Chromatic Button Accordion

Stuart Brotman - Bass, Basy, Tilinca, Baraban

Veretski Pass will be playing an improvised program of “fiddler’s choice.” The entire program brings a fresh new perspective to the genre, “klezmer music” and is bound to surprise and delight their audience.

In Eastern Europe, the roots of World Music go back centuries. Jews and

Moslems, Magyars, Rumanians, Ukrainians and Roma played music together in an atmosphere of sharing, in a multicultural area where professional musicians had to know as many musical styles as the diverse languages of the people with whom they lived and worked. Across the Veretski Pass, the mountain pass in theCarpathians through which Magyar tribes into crossed into the Carpathian basin in 895 AD, and through which the emigrating Jews first settled in Transcarpathia, the musical traditions were as varied as the people who lived there.

Taking it’s name from this cultural hotbed, Veretski Pass offers a unique and exciting combination of virtuosic musicianship and raw energy that has excited concertgoers across the world. With colorful instrumentation, unique arrangements and compositions, Veretski Pass plays "Old Country" music; music with origins in the Ottoman Empire, once fabled as the borderlands of the East and the West. In a true collage of Carpathian, Jewish, Rumanian and Ottoman styles, typical suites contain dances from Moldavia and Bessarabia; Jewish melodies from Poland and Rumania, Hutzul wedding music from Carpathian-Ruthenia, and haunting Rebetic aires from Smyrna, seamlessly integrated with original compositions. Much of this rare music has been gleaned from field recordings gathered by the musicians in numerous trips throughout Europe, as well as from family members.

Often touring in Europe, they have twice been chosen as ambassadors

representing traditional Jewish Instrumental Music of Eastern Europe for the German World Exhibition of Klezmer History (Klezmerwelten) and have headlined the Jewish Music Festival of the University of London. They recently performed at the prestigious Concertgebouw Concert Hall in Amsterdam to a sold out audience with a standing ovation, and their CDs have repeatedly been on the 10-best recordings lists of journalists. Cookie’s unique violin style was featured for a Jewish wedding scene on HBO’s “Sex and the City” and Josh and Stu’s compositions provided the music for Jes Benstock's award-winning film “The Holocaust Tourist."


Sunday, July 17, 2016 7pm

Village Homes Community Center

2661 Portage Bay East, Davis, CA 95616

$15 in advance $18 at the door or

more info, call (530) 867-1032

Raman Osman - Vocals & Saz

Faisal Zedan - Percussions

Audio track on soundcloud

The track is "Sabiha"

This upcoming concert features two musicians who are natives of Syria. They will feature, for the first time in our area.

The traditional Folklore of the Kurdish community in Syria. They will also include a smaple of Kurdish music from other countries in this region including Turkey, Iraq and Iran.

Traditionally, there are three types of Kurdish Classical performers - storytellers (çîrokbêj), minstrels (stranbêj) and bards (dengbêj). There was no specific music related to the Kurdish princely courts, and instead, music performed in night gatherings (şevbihêrk) is considered classical. Several musical forms are found in this genre. Many songs are epic in nature, such as the popular Lawiks which are heroic ballads recounting the tales of Kurdish heroes such as Saladin. Heyrans are love ballads usually expressing the melancholy of separation and unfulfilled love. Lawje is a form of religious music and Payizoks are songs performed specifically in autumn. Love songs, dance music, wedding and other celebratory songs (dîlok/narînk and bend), erotic poetry and work songs are also popular.

Another style of singing that originated as practice to recite hymns in both Zoroastrian and Islamic Sufi faiths is Siya Cheman, This style is practiced mostly in the mountainous subregion of Hewraman in the Hewrami dialect. However, some modern artists, have adopted the style and blended it with other Kurdish music. Siya Cheman can also be classified as çîrokbêj because it is often used to for storytelling. 

Musical instruments include the tembûr (tembûr, saz), biziq (bozuk), qernête (Duduk) and bilûr (Kaval) in northern and western Kurdistan, şimşal (long flute), cûzele, kemençe and def (frame drum) in the south and east. Zirne (wooden shawm) and dahol (drum) are found in all parts of Kurdistan. 

The most frequently used song form has two verses with ten syllable lines. Kurdish songs (stran or goranî) are characterized by their simple melodies, with a range of only four or five notes.

Raman Osman is a Kurdish composer and master tembûr (saz) musician from Alhasaka, Syria. He has performed Kurdish music and songs at a variety of venues, including the Damascus Opera house, and Universities in Syria. Raman currently lives in Northern California where he regularly performs concerts of Kurdish music as a solo artist as well as with artists from various world music traditions, including with the Aswat Ensemble and El Hana Group. Raman Osman performed as a guest artist with the UCSB Middle-East Music and Dance Ensemble for the fall concert on December 6, 2014. Other performances including many concerts in Agoura Hills, Topanga, Berkeley, San Jose and San Francisco.

Omar Mokhtari – Vocals and Amandol

Dany Torres – Flamenco Guitar

Alex Bernstein – Banjo, Wind instruments


Omar Mokhtari is a master vocalist and instrumentalist from Algeria now residing in Northern California. As a child in Algeria, Omar was self-taught, displaying such talent that he was awarded honorary memberships in two conservatories. At the age of eighteen, he won a national first place as a solo musician and for four years led the orchestra of the University of Annaba.

Omar has chosen to help spread the peace and joy of this rare and beautiful tradition by establishing the first Andaluse conservatory in North America.

Awards, Honors, Appointments:

1969_menbership,conservatory of Bejaia ,Algeria.
1971_National First Place-Solo Musician. Algeria.
1972_membership Conservatory ofAnnaba. Algeria.
2000-2003_California Arts Council Grant.
2003_Algerian American Association Award.
Released Recording:Assaru Ustikhbar Anthology of Modes. On

Omar has chosen to help spread the peace and joy of this rare and beautiful tradition by establishing the first Andaluse conservatory in North America.


Omar Mokhtari – Vocals and Amandol

Dany Torres – Flamenco Guitar

Alex Bernstein – Banjo, Wind instruments

Below are some notes detailing the two main genres that Omar performs:

Andalusian classical music (طرب أندَلُسي), موسيقى الآلة trans. ṭarab andalusi. In Morocco it is also known as mūsīqa al-ʾālah (Spanish: música andalusí), meaning "instrumental music", as opposed to religious music which is primarily vocal. It is a style of Arabic music found in different styles across the Maghreb (Morocco, and to a lesser degree in Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya in the form of the Ma'luf style). It originated out of the music of Al-Andalus (Muslim Iberia) between the 9th and 15th centuries. Some of its poems were found to be composed by authors such as Al-Shushtari, Ibn al-Khatib and Al-Mu'tamid ibn Abbad. The central pillar of the Andaluse Music is the Nuba, a large ensemble piece roughly equivalent to the European concerto or suite.

In Algeria, three main styles or schools are to be found: The Gharnati of the region of Tlemcen.

The Sana'a of the region of Algiers. The Ma'luf style in the east of the country in Constantine and Annaba. Another popular style in Algeria is Sha-bii It is, in North African countries, folk music; in Algeria, however, it refers to a style of recent urban popular music, of which the best known performer was El Hajj Muhammad El Anka, considered to be the Grand Master of Andalusian classical music.

Sunday, August 21, 2016 7pm

Village Homes Community Center

2661 Portage Bay East, Davis, CA 95616

$15 in advance $18 at the door or

more info, call (530) 867-1032

Traditional Music of Algeria with

Maestro Omar Mokhtari

An Evening of Traditional/

Classical Turkish Music

Peter Jaques (Clarinet Wizard) is on a short visit from Turkey and we had to make a time to have him back! Two of his musical friends will join him. Gari Hegedus on Oud, Saz and most likely other string instruments, Sean Tergis will join them on Percussions.

Gari Hegedus is one of the most accomplished string instruments player, both plucked & bowed, in the context of Balkan and Middle Eastern music.

He has been one of the most active  players in the San Francisco Bay area. He has studied with Oud master, Naseer Shamma, and recorded and performed with Ross Daly.

Gari has collaborated with some of the finest ensembles including; Stellamara (co-founder),

Teslim, Janam, The Helladelics and Eliyahu & The Qadim Ensemble.

Check his website here;

Peter Jaques, a Clarinetist & Trumpeter had been an active member of the Bay Area Balkan/Turkish music scene for many years. He was the founder of the first Balkan Brass band based in the San Francisco area, Brass Menažeri Balkan Brass Band, Peter was also a member of the groups Beat Antique and Stellamara.

He has moved to the Balkan region (mostly Turkey & Greece) a few years ago in order to work and

learn with local musicians. Currently, his website does not have much information but if you'd like

to contact him, that would be the place to reach him at;


composition; Kurdilihicazkar by Kemani Tatyos Efendi

composition; Muhayyerkürdi by Sadi İşilay

Sunday, November 20, 2016 at 7 pm

Village Homes Community Center

2661 Portage Bay East, Davis, CA 95616

$15 in advance $18 at the door.

Info: 530-867-1032

or email


Turkish Singer, Saz player, Composer and Scholar of Turkish Music and Folklore


Latif Bolat is a native of the Turkish Mediterranean town of Mersin. After receiving his degree in folklore and music at Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey, he taught traditional music throughout the country. He then went on to manage Ankara People’s Theater, a musical theater company, which performed traditional musical plays. Mr.Bolat also received further degrees in Turkish History and Middle East Religion and Politics from Ankara University and an MBA from San Francisco State University.


His recent performance and teaching engagements include:


  1. Educational concerts-lectures at Carnegie Hall in NYC.

  2. Soundtrack music for:

  3. George Lucas Studios TV series "Young Indiana Jones".

  4. PBS documentary “Mohammed: Legacy of a Prophet”.

  5. CBS TV series Burn Notice

  1. Released 4 successful CDs in the US, Co-authored the Turkish mystic Sufi poetry translations and anthology book: “Quarreling with God: Mystic Rebel Sufi Poems of the Dervishes of Turkey”.

  1. Festivals, concerts and conferences at many institutions including, the United Nations, Oxford University, SOAS-London, Stanford University,  University of Chicago, Brigham Young University, Monash University in Australia, Leeds University, University of California at Berkeley, London Sufi Music Festival, All-India Mystic Ruhaniyat Festival, Urkult Festival in Sweden, Monterey World Music Festival in California, Singapore Esplanade Music Festival, Varna World Music Conference Festival in Bulgaria, National Festival in Canberra/Australia, Middle East Spirituality Festival in Edinburgh/UK, Boulder World Music Festival in Colorado, and many other respectable universities, concert halls and Festivals all around the world.

  1. The California Art Council rewarded Mr.Bolat with a grant for his contributions to the preservation of Turkish traditional music. Turkish Ministry of Culture sponsored his Turkish Sufi poetry translations project titled “Quarreling with God”. He also leads educational Cultural tours to Turkey for the past 12 years. Please visit his web site below for music, press reviews and other information. WWW.LATIFBOLAT.COM