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Lingua Franca circumnavigates on a musical wandering. 

A journey during which the rich eastern mediterranean traditions and western music elements blend and compose colourful soundscapes using music as their common language.

Michalis Kouloumis - Violin          Giannis Koutis - Oud, Vocals          Michalis Cholevas - Tarhu, Ney          Ruven Ruppik - Percussion, Marimba

"By their creativity and subtlety of compositions, improvisations as well as the knowledge of Maqam and talent of his members, I consider this ensemble a great response to the easy patch works and the fusions of world music projects".

Kudsi Erguner

Ney Master, UNESCO Artist for Peace

"Their sound, rather than pointing to a single geographical location, reflects instead a broad panoramic view which brings the various musical idioms, primarily of the eastern Mediterranean, into a context both timeless as well as contemporary".

Ross Daly 

Multi-instrumentalist, Director of Labyrinth Musical workshops

"Lingua Franca knows how to please, without ever being coquettish. In spite of the title of this beautiful debut album, it looks like it’s here to stay". 

Ton Maas

Journalist, Editor


TK Circus

"At their first meeting, there was an immediate attraction. The breath-taking air acrobatics of TK Circus flawlessly connects with the enchanting oriental music of Linga Franca. Together they create a common language of sound, rhythm, melody, movement and dance. They show how acrobatics, dance and music, rooted in old traditions, can evolve and merge into a new, timeless form of art.

With Dutch top circus artists Tarek and Kami-Lynne (a.o. Cirque du Soleil and Ulrike Quade Company) and musicians Michalis Cholevas, Michalis Kouloumis, Ruven Ruppik and Giannis Koutis."

Mujer Klórica


Alicia Carrasco



 Jose Manuel León



 Audun Waage



 Ruven Ruppik

Alicia Carrasco and José Manuel León both originate from Algeciras in the province of Cádiz.
Alicia Carrasco started her singing career at the side of guitar player Paco Martin. With her vivid voice and her free approach to the genre she brings the pure flamenco to life.  She won several prizes and cooperated with great names, such as Carmen Linares and Ginesa Ortega (and even with Isabel Pantoja, but that is a different story). José Manuel Léon began playing guitar at the age of 13, under the expert guidance of his father Salvador Andrades José. He releases his first album Sirimusa in 2006. The album was launched live at the  ‘Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla’ (ed. 2006) and then raises high sums on 'Malaga and Flamenco' (2007) and the 'Festival de Jerez' (ed. 2008). The following years a lot of interesting collaborations will follow. Both flamenco pur sang (including Carmen Linares and Gerardo Nuñez) as excursions to jazz (including Kikke Perdomo, Martin leiton and Borjan Barruetta) and the experimental electronic music (Artomático) passed the revue.
Alicia Carrasco and José Manuel Léon also collaborated on the project ‘Rosa de papel’ by Myrddin.
Since 2014, they collaborate in Mujer_Klórica (with underscore), a project in which diversity, equality and women's rights are central, and to which many committed musicians participated. For this particularly beautiful project, Alicia and José Manuel sought and found inspiration in various musical traditions and genres, with flamenco as a thread. Mujer_Klórica has been presented in various formats on stage in Spain, Canada, Morocco, France, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands and Belgium. Today Mujer_Klórica is in De Centrale. A flamenco homage to the woman!

Rima Khcheich

Rima Khcheich, a Lebanese singer, was born in 'Khiam', South Lebanon, in 1974.

She started singing Classical Arabic music at the age of nine, and was awarded the bronze medal at the 'Bizert Festival for the Mediterranean Song' in Tunisia, 1985.

Rima's singing career started off with the children's choir at the 'Arabic Cultural Club', and later evolved into a solo performance with the 'Beirut Oriental Troop for Arabic Music' under the supervision and direction of Maestro Salim Sahab.

Rima studied the tradition of classical Arabic singing at The Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music' in Beirut, and her efforts were supported by her father Kamel Khcheich who encouraged her to memorize and master classics from the Arabic music heritage like *Muwashahat, Adwar and other styles. She has performed Zakariah Ahmad, Al-Kassabji, Sayyed Darwish, Kamel Al Khal'i and Muhammad Abdel Wahab, amongst others.

Having participated in various concerts in Lebanon and around the world, Rima has gained international repute and admiration for her gift at performing complex Arabic classical forms such as Dor 'Emta El hawa', and Muwashah 'Anta al Mudallal'.

Currently, Rima teaches Oriental singing at the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music and is invited on a yearly basis to Massachusets, USA where she teaches voice and classical Arabic singing at Mount Holyoke College under the framework of the Arabic Music Retreat program directed by renown musician and composer Simon Shaheen.

Her professional collaborations include performing with Simon Shaheen, singing in renown composer Toufic Farroukh's album 'Tootya' released in 2006, and being an integral part of the Dutch-Lebanese- Iraqi band 'Orient Express'. This band tried to create meeting grounds between the Arab musical heritage and Jazz. The band released one album 'Orient Express' in 2002, of which this live recording documents their musical experimentations.

In 2006, Rima Khsheish released her debut solo album, entitled 'Yalalalli' which features a number of old songs and Muwashahat, that she performs in a personalized, contemporary manner, alongside new compositions.

A showcase of Rima's limpid voice, 'Yalalalli' not only reveals a deeply emotional and original musical expression, it also stands as a note of rebellion against the dictates of the commercial music market.

* Muwashahat: plural for Muwashshah, a vocal form in Arabic music.
A strophic song with refrain. The form originated at Cabra, near Cordoba, in the 9th century; it enjoyed a vogue in Muslim Spain in the 11th century, and spread subsequently throughout the Arab world, where it survives in oral tradition.
One of seven post-Classical poetic forms, It is performed on both secular and religious occasions and combines classical metres with new ones arranged in strophes. Each poem is divided into an indefinite number of units (abyat, sing. bayt), each containing a varied number of poetic lines. Musically, a muwashshah is performed by a solo singer alternating with responsorial, antiphonal or collective singing in unison, depending on the performing group. The performance of this difficult art, composed by specialists, demands a mastery of both maqams (modes) and usuls, the complicated rythmic patterns of Arabic music.
from the Center for Arabic Culture (CAC)

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