The music ensemble Nawaris combines both traditional Iraqi music and original songs composed by the members of the band. The oud or Eastern lute, soprano saxophone, flute, violin, percussion, cello and occasional vocals intertwine, playing together, having a conversation and leaving spave for improvisation. The band is made up of five members:
Hussein Rassim is a young Iraqi musician and player of the oud (Eastern lute), who studied at Iraq’s best music schools. Hussein is also a member of the band Solo Baghdad and Belgian band Arumbo (Catalonian music). In 2015 he recorded an album entitled Amerli with Refugees for Refugees, in partnership with MuziekPublique.
Juliette Lacroix is a cellist, musician and educator and has always been involved in a variety of projects. Juliette studied at the Conservatory of Poitiers, Reims and Bordeaux and got her degree in 2009. Following her classical education, she has worked on different projects combining theatre, poetry, dance and drawing. She brings her experience of mediaeval, Balkan and Latino music into her classical projects (Duo Conversation, Symophonic Orchestra of Gironde), contemporary projects (Ensemble Un), jazz (L’nude, Reg), electronic music (Bunk) and folk music (Moonshine Fish). She adds a classical touch and an acoustic structure to Nawaris.
Manuel Hermia is an improviser, composer and explorer of world music with a patent love for both the saxophone and the bansuri. In addition to studying the saxophone and jazz harmony at the conservatory, he learned to play the bansuri, a bamboo flute from Northern India. He has also studied Indian and Arabic music.
Nicolas Hauzeur has been playing the violin since he was a child. He has travelled a lot, including two stays in a Bosnian refugee camp in Slovenia close to the Hungarian border. Here, he discovered different cultures. After this experience, he went to Plovdiv in Bulgaria to learn about traditional music. When he returned to Belgium, he started working in the new Centro Galego in Brussels. Nicolas played in several mestizo bands: Mex Yec with Slovenian Roma, TAN with the Turkish troubadour Tanal Catalpinar, the Music à neuf project with pianist Pirly Zurstrassen and folk violinist Luc Pilarts, Violons Populair in Wallonia by the same Luc Pilartz, Dunyakan with Guinean musician N’faly Koyate, Szeret with Hungarian singer Zsuzsana Hajdu, Silla with a Roma family from Bulgaria, Szilva with Tcha Limberger, Transylvanian music and more.
From 2005-2016 he was Artistic Director for World Music at the Académie Internationale d’Eté in Wallonia. He strengthened the link with Romania and started a music school project in Transylvania, together with Marcel Râmba, soloist for the Tirgu Mures ensemble.
Currently he plays with different bands in Brussels, including Vinylio Rebetiko Blues and Roda de choro de Brusselas, and he also teaches Balkan music at MuziekPublique’s World Music Academy.
Saif Al Qaisi is a young musician from Iraq. He plays percussion and sings with a versatile and melodic voice. Saif worked as a musician in Syria for 4 years. In 2015, he fled the conflicts in the Middle East and arrived in Belgium. He met Hussein Rassim during a concert and they started playing music together. He collaborated with Hussein
on the recording of a demo CD entitled Migration in July 2016. Since then, they have played several concerts as a duo, and with other musicians, playing traditional Iraqi music, and are now working together in Nawaris.