Breath of Innovation: Faris and the Nay’s Musical Odyssey


Faris, a celebrated Palestinian Nay master, recently performed his original piece “Nafas” at the Tabernacle in London as part of the Palvision x Bethlehem Cultural Festival 2024. “Nafas,” which means “Breath” in Arabic, beautifully captures the essence of Nay playing. According to Faris, mastering the Nay requires a deep understanding of natural breathing. He explains that to create a resonant sound, a player must embrace natural breathing and let go of mental control. Each breath becomes like an unexpected wave in the ocean, revealing its true beauty only when one flows with it. In this process, the breathing and the breather become one.

Faris is not only a master of the Nay but also a talented percussionist and composer. He is known for pushing the boundaries of the Nay flute by exploring new melodic, percussive, and harmonic sounds. His playing style is evocative and improvisational, blending Middle Eastern, jazz, and contemporary folk sounds. Faris often plays the Nay while accompanying himself with leg percussion, creating a unique fusion of different musical genres.

Born in 1993 in Bethlehem, Palestine, Faris taught himself to play the Nay. His self-guided exploration revealed the full potential of the Nay beyond its simple design. He plays it in various musical contexts, driven by curiosity and a love for traditional music. Faris has revitalized traditional Palestinian shepherd music while pioneering contemporary jazz.

Faris’s talent earned him a full scholarship to study Global Jazz Music at Berklee College of Music, where he received the “Matt Marvuglio Best Student Award” for his contributions to jazz music with the Nay. He has collaborated with renowned jazz artists like John Patitucci and Danilo Perez and has been featured on Grammy-nominated and BAFTA-nominated works. Faris has released three albums and performed at prestigious festivals and venues worldwide, including Kings Place in London, Panama, and the Monterey Jazz Festival.

In summary, Faris is an innovative and talented Nay master whose music transcends traditional boundaries. His performance of “Nafas” in London showcased his exceptional skill and deep connection with the Nay, leaving the audience mesmerized. Faris continues to redefine the possibilities of the Nay, blending tradition with contemporary influences to create something truly unique and beautiful.



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