French composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Abaji will perform for the first time in New Zealand’s capital for a special concert organised by Alliance Française Wellington, with the support of the Fondation Alliance Française in Paris and the Embassy of France in New Zealand.
Abaji was born in Lebanon where his father, an Armenian-Greek from Smyrna, and his mother, an Armenian-Syrian born in Istanbul, met. They immigrated to France in 1976, shortly after the start of the civil war.
Music is a family tradition. At the age of 11, Abaji started learning the guitar. Then other instruments followed: the clarinet, percussions, oud and bouzouki as well as various flutes he collected during his many travels. Later on, the transformation of instruments will allow him to synthesise his musical passions: Indian, oriental and blues music.
A meeting with the famous composer, Gabriel Yared was a decisive moment in Abaji's career. In 1996, he produced his first album Paris-Beirut singing in Arabic, French and English. Other releases followed: Bedouin Blues – which includes the song Gibran that record label, Network Medien selected for its compilation Desert Blues 2. Oriental Journey which received the Classica outstanding reference record label; and Nomad Spirit, which features three contemporary masters: Djivan Gasparyan Armenian, Ramesh Shotham, and Majid Bekkas.
Abaji has also composed and recorded music for film and television. Most recently, he produced music for the documentary feature film by Jean Deniau, The Hostage Time, broadcast in France in April, 2009.
The Abaji Concert will take place at The Marae in Te Papa.