The Rohana Overwater Ensemble is the fruit of the musical friendship between the Palestinian ud player Nizar Rohana and Dutch bassist Tony Overwater. Together they selected three prominent musicians from the Arab world and the Netherlands: clarinet player Maarten Ornstein; Tunisian violinist and viola d’amore player Jasser Haj Youssef and the Jordanian percussionist Nasser Salameh.
Rohana formed his trio with Hungarian double-bass player Matyas Szandai and French-Lebanease percussionest Wassim Halal in 2013. The trio performs original repertiore that is an extension of Arabic and middle eastern traditions, but also draws from a wide range of other sources such as jazz and western classical music.
Nizar’s playing reveals his deep fascination and aptness for breathing the spirit of the 21st century into traditional Arabic music. As a composer, he takes the unique character of the ud as his starting point to develop a distinct contemporary sound, which gently hints at myriad influences that can never quite be identified.
The Duo emerged from the recording sessions for the recent IKON documentary series 'Om de Oude Wereldzee' (‘Around the Ancient World Sea’) based on the travels of Dutch politician Abraham Kuyper. Both musicians bring their own compositions, and improvise on the interface between the Arab and Western music.