“A bridge of sounds between the Orient and Occident”


Zhivko Vasilev (BG) Kaval
Bence Huszar (HU) Cello
Franz von Chossy (GR) Piano
Sjahin During (TR/NL) Percussion

Ancient musical traditions from the Middle East and Balkans are blended with jazz and contemporary improvised music through a Western frame of mind.

Arifa’s secret lies in the creative chemistry between its four members. Coming from Bulgaria, Hungary, Turkey, the Netherlands and Germany their music is just as diverse as their origins, moving from traditional Turkish and Balkan sounds to jazz and contemporary music.

Arifa was founded in 2010 by percussionist Sjahin During. Since then they have performed in 28 countries worldwide and 5 continents at international festivals and venues.

Their CD ’Beyond Babylon’ was released in 2010, ’Anatolian Alchemy’ in 2012, “Voices from the East” in 2014 and their fourth album Secret Poetry” in 2019.

They were consecutively awarded the title “best world music release” in the Netherlands to five star reviews and highly acclaimed internationally.

“Arifa strikes gold. This is music that can make you shiver with delight”

- Songlines Magazine (UK)

ARIFA’S 5TH ALBUM RELEASE “DANUBIAN VOYAGE” by O-Tone Music on 16 sep 2022

The Danube, Europe’s second longest river, rises in the south of Germany and empties almost three thousand kilometres eastward into the Black Sea. For millennia it has been used as a gateway and trade route by such peoples as the ancient Greeks, Hungarians, Turks, Dacians, Germans, Slovaks, Serbians and Bulgarians.

That makes Danubian Voyage a perfect metaphor for this new project by Arifa, resulting in their fifth album. In its latest incarnation Arifa reflects the natural connection between East and West that the Danube symbolizes. The Amsterdam based quartet is truly international in both background and scope.

Kaval player Zhivko Vasilev from Bulgaria and cello player Bence Huszar from Hungary are (relative) newcomers to Arifa, while pianist Franz von Chossy, who hails from Germany, has been part of the group for many years. Sjahin During, the band’s founder, is a cultural hybrid all by himself, having a Dutch father and Turkish mother.

In Arifa’s music East and West flow together seamlessly to become a dazzling amalgam. Ancient musical traditions from the Middle East and Balkans are blended with jazz and contemporary improvised music. The spirit of the ensemble is reflected in its line-up as well.

A new addition to the sonic palette is the kaval, an end blown flute from Bulgaria that was traditionally used by shepherds to gather their flock of sheep. Its sweet and breezy sound, incredibly rich in harmonics, lured Zhivko away from his piano and accordion to focus more on traditional music. After that he went on to become the first ever kaval player to study jazz at Codarts in Rotterdam. In Bence’s family home in Hungary classical music was ever present.

After his formal training he studied with Ernst Reijseger to explore experimental techniques on the cello, which helped him develop new ways of pulse based rhythmical improvisation.

Franz grew up in Germany but his Ukrainian grandmother opened his ears to the East. His lucid, lyrical and impressionistic style has been a hallmark of Arifa’s music since many years. Before founding the group in 2010 Sjahin had already carved out a reputation for himself as a world-class percussionist, honing his craft the old fashioned way: studying with masters from Cuba, Turkey, Spain, Africa and India. His unique hybrid percussion set contains instruments from virtually every continent.


Such as Jazzahead (DE), Concertgebouw (NL), London Jazz Festival Southbank Centre (UK), Kennedy Art Centre (USA), North Sea Jazz festival (NL), Ethnoport Festival (PL), Womex (DK), Jarasum Jazz Festival (KR), Chicago World Music Festival (USA), Bimhuis (NL), Garana Jazz (RO), Havana Jazz (CU), Istanbul Akbank (TR), Shanghai World Music Festival (CH), de Roma (BE), Barbican’s Transcender Festival (UK), Glatt & Verkehrt Festival (AUS), Ollin Kan Mexico (MX) , BBC London (UK), Jodhpur Riff Festival (IN), Jazz au Chellah Festival, Rabat (MA), Handelsbeurs (BE), Moods Zurich (CH), Izmir European Jazz festival (TR), Sunfest (CA), Jazz a Vienne Festival (FR).


They have collaborated in the past with artists as Aynur Doğan, Arto Tunçboyacıyan, Theodosii Spassov, Laka Khan, Alex Simu, Osama Abdulrasol, Mehmet Polat, Waed Bouhassoun, “Voices from the East” featuring Niusha Barimani, Meng Xiaoxu, Vanya Valkova, Alma Quartet, that resulted in concerts, recordings and tours.

Arifa has released five albums which all are received with outstanding reviews and high attention by the media and audience. Awarded as best world music releases in the Netherlands consecutively for three years and distinguished with 5 star reviews by various publications (such as Songlines, Transglobal World Music Chart, All About Jazz, Volkskrant).

“Masters in playing with elegance. An album not to get enough of.”

- Ton Maas, MixedWorldMusic (NL)

“The music of this unconventional ensemble is not just animated, its thrilling, it’s not obtrusive but intrusive. Arifa was the biggest surprise of the 2010 Dutch Jazz & World Meeting.”


“Their music is just as diverse as their origins, moving from traditional Turkish and Arabic orient sounds to jazz and classical music. Arifa’s inspired arrangements and inventive compositions create an intense, radiant atmosphere.”

- Jazzahead (DE)

“Ancient wisdom from the East is reinterpreted through an enlightened Western conceptual framework, resulting in splendid musical alchemy.”

- Parool (NL)