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One of the greatest drummers and percussionists of our time, Israeli born Asaf Sirkis grew up in the Yemenite neighbourhood of Rehovot, near Tel Aviv. Its multicultural community shaped Asaf’s understanding of music and rhythm. He took up drum lessons aged 12 and developed a love for the electric bass, with musical influences including The Beatles, Police, Yes, Genesis, and Mahavishnu Orchestra to name a few.
After his national service, Asaf began his career as a musician, playing with different young bands spanning Klezmer to Jazz Rock and much in between. He also worked with Israel’s Jazz and World luminaries, such as Harold Rubin, Albert Beger, and Yair Dalal, supported by releases on pioneering local label Jazzis. In 1995 Asaf formed his first trio and found an outlet for his writing with his debut album ‘One Step Closer’. His experimental nature drew in church organ, electric guitar and drums with his next trio, ‘The Inner Noise’.
He settled in London in April 1999, quickly establishing himself in the vibrant UK Jazz and world music scene. Asaf recorded the album ‘Nuzha’ with Palestinian oud player and composer Adel Salameh, which featured Asaf’s Middle Eastern frame drum playing. Asaf also re-formed his Inner Noise band with UK musicians Steve Lodder and Mike Outram.
Meeting Gilad Atzmon in 2000 led to them forming the seminal Orient House Ensemble, recording seven albums together. ‘Exile’ won ‘Best Album of the Year’ at the BBC 2003 Jazz Awards and they were nominated in the ‘Best Band’ category the following year.
Since 2006, the prodigiously talented drummer/composer has also enjoyed a unique collaboration with acclaimed saxophonist/composer Tim Garland. They have released four albums to date and toured the world with their Lighthouse Project. Asaf remains one of the hardest working musicians, boasting an incredible discography and a who’s who of collaborations. These, among others, also include Larry Coryell and Jeff Berlin.
Asaf often makes intensive use of the South Indian (Carnatic) art of konnakol in his drumming. In addition to conventional drum rigs, Asaf also plays special rigs of frame drums, udu (a clay drum), hang drum (aka steeldrum) and others. His unique versatility, virtuosity and sensitivity and his immense tonal palette always keep Asaf in the greatest demand.
Asaf Sirkis Trio
In 2007 the Asaf Sirkis Trio came alive, with the original line-up featuring Greek guitarist Tassos Spiliotopoulos and Israeli bassist Yaron Stavi.
Asaf explains in an interview for Jazz UK magazine: ‘I wanted to create a sound where electric guitar and electric bass sound like a single instrument. All the music I wrote for this band came from this approach’.
‘I’ve always been drawn to the trio format. Music for me is about teamwork and communication and there’s something about trios that really delivers this and everybody in the band can really express themselves’
The trio has already recorded two albums with a new release planned for 2013. Newcomers to the Asaf Sirkis experience can expect an intense, exhilarating performance. A spiritual baptism of drumming and percussion with his boundless energy and an infinite array of sounds. A treat for all music fans.