Join composer and vocalist Faraj Abyad, along with violinist Yarub Smarait, in this interactive workshop. Participants will learn how to set Arabic poetry to music using the Arabic Maqam and rhythm.


Faraj Abyad

Faraj Abyad is a composer and a multi-instrumentalist of Syrian/Aleppian descent based in New York City, who specializes in performing traditional Arabic music. He often performs concerts, in which he gathers distinguished musicians and singers from around the Middle East, to advocate classical Arabic music in a contemporary world.

His goal as a musician and singer is to preserve and uphold the timeless beauty of ancestral Arabic music, while advancing and progressing their historic melodies to appeal to the modern era. Although his primary role in his orchestra is singing, he also is particularly skilled on oud, violin and percussion.
Faraj was the first Arabic singer/composer to have an exclusive video filmed in the Islamic wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Additionally, Faraj was recently featured at Carnegie Hall on Arabic Language Day in 2021. In 2022, he was commissioned by Abu Dhabi Music Festival to produce an album of modern Tarab to the greats of classical Arabic poetry. This album was recorded in the legendary Power Station studios in New York City where some of the greatest American musical icons have recorded their albums.

Yarub Smarait

Yarub Smarait’s career as a violinist has taken him all over the world, putting him at the forefront of a new generation of musicians emerging from the Arab region. Yarub was born in Amman, Jordan, but now lives in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Inspired by traditional fusions, Yarub’s music radiates with an international appeal that transcends languages, making complex compositions easy on the ear. He doesn’t shy away from breaking the rules, resulting in unique sounds and compositions. Yarub is curious and adventurous, absorbing influences from Eastern Europe, Transcaucasia (Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan) and the Balkan region. His exploration of Arabic music has also cemented his unique musicality and a distinctive technique in reinterpreting oriental tunes. Yarub’s performances have impressed audiences across the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the United States of America. Yarub is currently an instructor at Berklee Abu Dhabi.