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Singer, composer, and oud player Dhafer Youssef was born in 1967 in Teboulba, Tunisia. The oud is an Arabic lute, a string instrument that can achieve a beautiful sound from those who know how to master it.
Youssef began singing when he was only five-years-old. Since then he has performed for audiences in Tunisia, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, and other countries. He has appeared with his own ensembles and recorded two albums with them, one in 1993 and the other three years later. Youssef's music combines Sufi tradition, world, mystical, and jazz influences with Arabic lyricism. In 1999, Enja Records released Youssef's third album, Malak, which includes the songs "A Kind of Love," "Tarannoum," and "Eklil." Youssef provided vocals and oud for the album and was accompanied by such well-known artists as violinist Zoltan Lantos, bassist Achim Tang, tabla and dolak player Jatinder Thakur, tambourine player Carlo Rizzo, bassist Renaud Garcia-Fons, and drummer Patrice Héral. In 2002, Youssef released Electric Sufi on Enja and added electronic elements and funky grooves to his genre-bending sound.
Dhafer Youssef (Arabic: ظافر يوسف; born 19 November 1967 in Teboulba, Tunisia) is a composer, singer and oud player. He developed an interest in jazz at an early age and clandestinely listened to it during his education at a Qur'anic school. He later left Tunisia to start a jazz career and has lived in Europe since 1990, usually in Paris or Vienna. He also works in avant garde and world music where he has been nominated for awards. He has released four albums of his own and also did notable work with Sardinian trumpeter Paolo Fresu and the Norwegian guitarist Eivind Aarset. He indicates an affinity for the music of India and Nordic music. He was a guest artist on the Norwegian jazz artist Bugge Wesseltoft's album FiLM iNG. Youssef has also performed with Uri Caine, Jon Hassell, Markus Stockhausen, Nguyên Lê and the Cuban pianist Omar Sosa. In 2001 he recorded Electric Sufi with the ex-Sugar Hill Gang and Tackhead rhythm section of Will Calhoun and Doug Wimbish.