Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Badawi was born Raz Mesinai in 1973 in Jerusalem. By spending a lot of time with Bedouins in the Sinai desert as a youngster, he picked up on their unique musical style. When he reached the age of seven, he was taken under the wing of dervish sheik Murshid Hassan (of the Palestinian refugee camp of Balata), who taught the youngster all about exotic Middle Eastern drumming. Soon he had mastered such percussive instruments as the bendir, zarb, and darbukka. He also discovered spirituality along the way, following the Hasidic rabbi and folk musician Harav Shlomo Carlebach. After moving to New York City, he found himself immersed in the burgeoning NYC Academy of Underground DJs (which included DJ Spooky and a host of others) and changed his name to Badawai (which means "desert dweller" or simply "Bedouin"). By utilizing home recording technology, he recorded his debut for ROIR, Presents Bedouin Sound Clash, which was released in 1996. A year later, the more experimental (but just as good) Jerusalem Under Fire surfaced, which confirmed him as one of the best dub/reggae DJs of the late '90s. Further releases followed (during which time Badawai changed the spelling of his name slightly, to Badawi), including 1999's The Heretic of Ether and 2001's The Soldier of Midian.