The Berlin-based Israeli and Iranian musicians seek dialogue with their project. They make use of folkloric and religious melodies from Klezmer, Sephardic and traditional Persian music as well as modern and classical compositions. The different melodies and motifs, rearranged with influences ranging from flamenco and jazz to progressive metal, merge into a music that creates something entirely new and builds a bridge between two worlds. Founded in 2012, the music ensemble has since performed on stages in Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and France. Its stops include the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, the Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen and the World Music Festival in Kassel.

Do not miss Sistanagila LIVE at Neuköllner Oper tomorrow, Saturday, 17. April 2021.


1. We are all circumcised.

2. Music is like life – it’s the imperfections that make it real.

3. Make music not war!


1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?

Yuval: For me music needs to feel right and needs to touch something in me. The inspiration comes from the process of searching together for something with the band.
Im afraid its not the cliche of the composer who walks in the woods and gets ideas from nature. Im more of a pragmatic composer who needs to sit down and try things.
When its there, then its there. when not we try something different next time. Composers who inspired me were Leonard Bernstein and Kurt Weill.

2. How and when did you get into making music?
Yuval: I started singing in a school choir and learnt playing Keyboard in a Yamaha School when i was 10 years old.
My most important change from music for fun to a serious plan for my future was in my high school music department (Mor Metrowest High School in Raanana) in Israel
where the teacher taught us not to be only players of instruments but musicians who appreciate and understand music and not only play it.
In this High School I discovered Composition. I then went to study in the Hague, Netherlands in the royal conservatory Contemporary composition and
continues my studies in Berlin in the Hanns Eisler musikhochschule.
My parents always said as a small kid i would put the headphones and listen to classical music. So maybe it started there.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?

Omri (Saxophon): Blackstar, David Bowie
Avi (Double Bass): Kind of Blue, Miles Davis
Hemad (Guitar):Systematic Chaos, Dream Theatre
Yuval (Voice): Sweeney Todd, Stephen Sondheim Original Broadway recording
Jawad (Tombak):Bidad, Parviz Meshkatian

4. What do you associate with Berlin?

Babak (Initiator): This is what I call Berlin:
“Living only fort the moment, turning our full attention to the pleasures of the moon, the snow, the cherry blossoms and the maples, singing songs, drinking wine,
and diverting ourselves just in floating, floating, caring not a whit for the poverty staring us in the face, refusing to be disheartened, like a gourd floating along with the river current.”
From Asai RyÙi (A Tale of the Floating world)

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?

Babak: Farmers’ Market on Winterfeldtplatz at its best in a sunny day, observing the strollers, sun worshippers and immersing oneself in the world of gourmandise, a feast for all senses!

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?

Avi: A writer!

7. What was the last record/music you bought?

Omri: Emily D + Evolution, by Esperanza Spalding. It’s Colourful, hard grooving and rich theatrical music. One of my favourite albums to come out in recent times.

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Yuval: Yo-Yo Ma

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Yuval: I think our Concert in Hamburg in the Laiszhalle with Daniel Weltlinger on violin playing with us our newly composed Four Seasons.

10. How important is technology to your creative process?

Omri: Technology definitely take a big part in my creative process, different softwares and hardware electronic instruments can get you out of your comfort zone to spark new ideas, or make things more approachable when you want to go to your creative ‘Bank’ and start putting ideas out right away. Of course, with synth, effects and electronic controllers there’re infinite sound possibilities which are amazing from enriching the musical world and the drama that can be projected through music. In my opinion, technology is at it’s best when it enhances the mind and heart of the the human character and heart to be themes major force in the experience.

11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?

Avi: I do, they support me with love and cakes.

Photo © Nikolaj Lund