Profile - Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers


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All photos of Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers this page by Richard A. Sharma.
Copyright © 2004 Richard A. Sharma. All rights reserved.
 Artist: Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers
 Formed: 2003
 Active: 2003 onward
 Group Members: Daphna Sadeh, double bass, electric stick bass, composer/arranger/leader; Stewart Curtis, clarinet, saxes, flutes; Eddie Hession, accordion; Ivor Goldberg, Guitars, Mandolins, vocals; Mark Bassey,Trombone; Ronen Kozokaro, drums and percussion; (previous members also - Koby Israelite, accordion; Nim Schwartz, oud; Assaf Seewi, percussion; Numan Elyer, percussion; Paul Clarvis, percussion; Micha Israelite, percussion); occasional guests - Tigran Aleksanyan, duduk, zurna, Armenian flutes, clarinet; David Lasserson, viola.
 Genre/s: 1) World | Jewish/Middle Eastern
2) Jazz
 Sub-Genre/s: 1) Contemporary, Other
2) Crossover, World Fusion, World Jazz
 Instrument/s: band
 Date Info First Pub'd: 2004/08/22 (updated 2008/07) (upd. 2009/05)
 Based: London, UK
 Contact: email
 Web Site:
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Photo of Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers
Daphna Sadeh and The Voyagers at the Purcell Room in 2004 - L-R, David Lasserson, viola, Koby Israelite, accordion, Numan Elyer,
frame drum, Daphna Sadeh, double bass, Stewart Curtis, clarinet, Nim Schwartz, oud, and Tigran Aleksanyan, duduk.  

Photo of Daphna Sadeh Daphna Sadeh

Photo of Stewart Curtis
Stewart Curtis

Photo of Daphna Sadeh
Daphna Sadeh

Photo of Nim Schwartz
Nim Schwartz

In 2003, Daphna Sadeh founded Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers, one of the most striking bands on the world music/world jazz scene today. The core band initially consisted of Daphna Sadeh on double bass/electric stick bass, Stewart Curtis on clarinet, sax and flutes, Koby Israelite on accordion, and Nim Schwartz on oud. The percussion (usually, Middle Eastern) seat tends to change from time to time, and has passed from Assaf Seewi and Numan Elyer to Paul Clarvis (of among many others Joglaresa/Belinda Sykes renown) and Micha Israelite and to current incumbent Ronen Kozokaro. Occasional guest musicians include Tigran Aleksanyan on duduk, zurna, Armenian flutes and clarinet, and renowned violist David Lasserson on, of course, viola as well as renowned Israeli Arab singer and oud, Arabic violin, and saz player George Youssef Samaan. Koby Israelite was replaced by Eddie Hession on button accordion in 2006/7, while Nim Schwartz left in 2008 and was replaced by guitarist/mandolinist Ivor Goldberg (also of Shir), with the addition of renowned jazz trombonist Mark Bassey who also leads his own jazz quintet, Bassey Plays Basie.

Each of these performers is a stellar virtuoso in their own right and it's no exaggeration to call Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers an "All-Star" band. Together, they are transformed into something greater than the sum of its parts, much greater. An extremely tight band of unparalleled versatility, each individual member is also given plenty of space by leader Daphna Sadeh, among whose many outstanding qualities is that of a superb facilitator in the tradition of Charlie Mingus, to grow and shine as individuals within the group.

The Voyagers' other strengths include their unique musical style, a blend of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern and world jazz essentially, but with tons more influences featuring prominently, particularly Sephardi and Mizrakhi (oriental) Jewish, Arab, and even klezmer and Balkans here and there. This wide-ranging eclecticism results in a remarkable, thoroughly organic fusion of not only great beauty but also great spirituality. Daphna Sadeh and The Voyagers further combine all this with great spontaneity, fervour, boundless high-voltage energy, passion and an irrepressible exuberance as well as an obvious enjoyment of their music and each other. The resultant mix is haunting as well as exciting, original and at times heady, emotional and even spiritual, but above all, totally irresistible and infectious. You just have to hear and see this band live - sheer joy! The "telepathy", if you like, or empathy between the band members is something quite extraordinary and contributes to making Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers easily the most exciting band on the world music and world jazz scene today.

Photo of Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers
Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers with guest Tigran Aleksanyan at Diaspora Music Village 2004, Kew Gardens

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Daphna Sadeh is classically trained and has an extensive background in classical music with among others The Israel Orchestra and The Israeli Opera Orchestra. At about the same time, she also joined one of Israel's premier world music ensembles, The East West Ensemble, recording and touring extensively with them until 1997; this, with its broad mix of cultures of members as well as of the music, combined with her general exposure to the widest multi-cultural influences that were a constant part of her life in Israel, provided some of the inspiration behind her later band, Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers. In 1997, she co-founded the all female group Eve's Women, whose specialty is a fusion of jazz, klezmer, and rock. 2003 saw Daphna Sadeh forming Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers. In addition to leading the band, she also composes and arranges with great vision and skill, needless to say, in an idiom that's perhaps best described as cross-cultural dialogue. Her ability as a bass player is astounding and she often reminds of Charles Mingus as well as Ron Carter, but her style and voice are all her own.

Reedist and flautist Stewart Curtis has an equally impressive CV and list of credits to his name. After graduating in jazz at City of Leeds College of music, he toured and recorded with Mari Wilson & the Wilsations in the early 1980s. His performing and recording credits include Nik Kershaw, Tracey Ullman, Selina Jones, Germaine Stewart, Glen Matlock (ex-Sex Pistols), Matt Bianco, Percy Sledge, Gregory Schechter's Festival Klezmer Band, Orchestra Folia and many more. The 90s saw Curtis performing in several West End shows, on numerous TV themes and in the house bands of Channel 4's Viva Cabaret and BBC1's Ben Elton Show. In 1992, he also formed Stewart Curtis' Klezmer Groove, later known as Stewart Curtis' K-Groove, initially influenced by New York's Klezmatics and combining his jazz background with his Jewish heritage. His numerous credits with K-Groove include an appearance in 1998 on Channel 4's arts programme The Warehouse, and supporting Nina Simone at the Royal Albert Hall the same year, as well as two CD albums. Curtis' other major recording credit is Saracubana - The Stewart Curtis Trio Plays B.B. Cooper. More recently, K-Groove has performed as the Stewart Curtis' K-Groove Quartet and has received much acclaim from peers, including from Courteney Pine, as well as public. Stewart Curtis not only plays all his instruments, whether clarinet, alto or tenor sax, flute, piccolo or recorder, with equal commensurate virtuosity but in his own distinctive voice, and his chops are prodigious.

Button accordion and bandoneon player Eddie Hession is regarded as one of Europe's leading master accordionists. His primary focus has been on gipsy tango, where he is also a member of the respected band Zum, with whom he has also recorded, but he has never confined himself to any one genre. Hession is also an acclaimed accompanist and collaborator, and has worked on numerous major Hollywood and UK movies. His innumerable recording and performing credits include the Three Tenors, Ute Lemper, Andrea Bocelli, Lesley Garret, Russell Watson, George Martin, Bill Wyman, The Corrs, Chris Rea, Ronan Keating, and all the UK's leading Orchestras including the LSO, LPO, RPO, Philharmonia, CBSO, BBC Concert Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, and ENO. Eddie Hession also has a solo album under his belt, Under Duress.

Newly joining the Voyagers in 2008 was Ivor Goldberg (guitar, mandolin, vocals), so far best known as a member of klezmer band Shir with whom he also continues to perform. A graduate of Berklee College of Music (Boston, U.S.A.), Goldberg has been active as a professional musician on the London music scene since 1984. He has written music for numerous TV programs and commercials, and has recording sessions with Dusty Springfield, among others, to his credit. Ivor Goldberg has also played jazz fusion with Shakatak and Roadside Picnic, and he is also an experienced music teacher and remains active in the academic sphere.

Renowned jazz trombonist Mark Bassey also joined the Voyagers in 2008, in addition to leading his quintet, Bassey Plays Basie. A highly versatile musician who covers all styles from swing to bop to contemporary, Bassey's performing credits include John Dankworth, Stan Tracey, Alan Barnes, Julian Arguelles and Nikki Iles. Mark Bassey's recording credits include 2007's Mark Bassey’s Telling Stories, an album featuring his own highly programmatic writing, and an album with his quintet is also due. In addition, he is also active in jazz education on the academic scene.

Percussionist Ronen Kozokaro (sometimes also spelled Kojokaro) joined the Voyagers in 2007 and has been a professional musician for twenty years. His early passion for drumming found encouragement from his parents since age 5, and Kozokaro's formal musical education started from the age of 9 at a classical conservatoire in Israel. It culminated with a Master's degree from the London College of Music in 2007. Ronen Kozokaro also performs with Stewart Curtis' K-Groove Quartet and klezmer band Shir. He also is an accompanist and composer at the Laban Centre for Dance.

Photo of Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers
Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers with guest Tigran Aleksanyan at Diaspora Music Village 2004, Kew Gardens

Since their formation, Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers have toured extensively throughout the UK, and venues have included the prestigious South Bank Purcell Room in London and one of London's premier jazz clubs, the Dean Street Pizza Express in Soho. All strength to them! A band as innovative as this comes along but rarely indeed. Music as sensuous and haunting as this, as spiritual as well as inspired, and as infectious as this really needs to be heard by a much, much wider audience. The unique sound of Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers is the most successful organic blending of different, if related, cultures and styles yet and achieves a true inter-cultural dialogue and synthesis.

In 2007, Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers at long last had their first commercial album release with Walking The Thin Line on 33 Records, which has attracted as much critical acclaim as their performances. The album also features Kurdish guest vocalist Nawroz Oramari. The beginning of 2009 witnessed the release of Reconciliation on John Zorn's prestigious Tzadik label.

© 2004-2009 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore

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Album Cover: Daphna Sadeh - Out of Border
Out of Border

Album Cover - Walking The Thin Line
Walking The Thin Line

Album Cover - Reconciliation



2003 Out of Border

2007 Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers - Walking The Thin Line (33 Records - 33WM143)

2009 Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers - Reconciliation (Tzadik)




Appears on


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Other Info

See also separate profiles of Daphna Sadeh, Stewart Curtis

also of Tigran Aleksanyan

See also album and gig reviews of Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers, Stewart Curtis, and Koby Israelite



Purchasing Info:

Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers' recordings can be purchased:
Direct from the artists

From Jewish Music Distribution JMD UK

From Hatikvah Music International (US)

From better CD stores and online sources such as Amazon etc.

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