Arts & Humanities Campus News

Yamma Ensemble brings music of the Jewish diaspora to Athens

The Yamma Ensemble will take the Performing Arts Center stage on Sept. 22. (Photo by Zohar Ron)

Over thousands of years of Jewish migration, communities have developed distinctive musical styles. The Yamma Ensemble, Israel’s foremost world music group, performs both ancient and modern Hebrew music from throughout the Jewish diaspora. The group makes its Athens debut on Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall. A pre-concert talk begins at 6:45 p.m. Tickets start at just $25, and UGA student tickets are only $10.

“So, what is the secret of Yamma that catches so easily the ear of thousands of listeners all over the globe?” the ensemble’s website asks. The music is rare, esoteric, niche and played with ancient instruments (duduk, ney, kopuz, oud, shofar) and creates the feeling of ancient times and a strong sense of spiritual heritage and tradition although the materials are sometimes original and contemporary.

“The sound, the performance, the selection of the materials and the moving arrangements took this music far beyond any expectation of the ensemble members. Without special plans, the ensemble became global and international, yet managed to remain authentic, local and loyal to the region in which it developed and was born,” according to the website

The ensemble’s visit to Athens includes a Piedmont Athens Regional Performance for Young People on  Sept. 23 at 10 a.m.; for more information, call 706-542-2634. Yamma will also give a public workshop in Ramsey Concert Hall on Sept. 22 at 12:45 p.m.; admission is free without registration.

About the artists

Talya G.A Solan is an independent Israeli singer, songwriter and producer who graduated magna cum laude from the faculty of arts in Tel Aviv University. She has founded the Yamma Ensemble and The Israeli Ethnic Ensemble, with whom she released three albums and keeps performing worldwide. She is also a member of the Kedem Ensemble, a Swiss-Iranian-Israeli-Italian group. Her influences and inspiration are derived from ancient times, tribal singing, sacred and secular Jewish chants and exotic natural Middle Eastern flavors.

Yonnie Dror plays Eastern and Western wind instruments and was born and raised in Jerusalem. His musical education was acquired at the Tel Aviv Music Academy and the Jerusalem Eastern Music Center. He specializes in playing diverse wind instruments: duduk, ney, shofars, clarinet, saxophones, flutes, etc. He performs and records with numerous popular Israeli bands: Rita, Idan Raichel, Shiri Maimon, Evyatar Banai. In recent years, he also took part in theater productions.

Aviv Bahar specializes in string instruments. He was born and raised at Kibbutz Afek and Kibbutz Yodfat. Self-taught, he specializes in folk string instruments from the East: kopuz, oud, sitar. He has been composing and arranging since early childhood and is influenced by Persian, Kurdish and Turkish music. He has collaborated with masters of Middle Eastern music in Israel (Diwan Saz, Mark Eliyahu, Amir Shahasar). He has also released two albums of original Hebrew pop mainstream music with his musical partner, cellist Hadas Kleinman.

Sahar David plays Middle Eastern percussion including darbuka, daf, cajon and frame drums. He was born and raised in Ashqelon. His major music influences come from Moroccan, Turkish and Yemenite music. David plays in the Israeli National Andalusian Orchestra of Ashdod as a ney player and plays a wide variety of instruments including guitar, piano, and flutes. He also sings. In addition to music, David has worked in the Israeli wildlife hospital.

Avri Borochov is a double bass player and a musical producer. He was classically trained by Israel Philharmonic Orchestra double bass maestro Eli Magen, practiced Indian classical music with tabla guru Samir Chatterjee, mentored by Afro-Brazilian folklore professor Mestre Camisa, and learned jazz with Reggie Workman, Junior Mance, Peter Bernstein and Aaron Goldberg. In 2008, Borochov graduated from the New School University in New York in jazz composition and performance.

Three ways to order

  1. Purchase tickets online at
  2. Call the Performing Arts Center box office at 706-542-4400, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  3. Visit the UGA Performing Arts Center box office, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (five-minute parking is available in the drop off circle at the Performing Arts Center for purchasing or picking up tickets.)

Ticket buyers can create a series of five or more performances for 10% off.

To learn more about all UGA Performing Arts Center events, visit