▪ Grænseløs ▪
Project Periode: 2013 – 2015
Collaborative Partner: Jazz Danmark
Funded by: Danish Arts Foundation
The orchestra Grænseløs (Borderless) was formed in 2013, where Swinging Europe and Jazz Denmark scouted for 10 talented musicians based in 5 different countries: Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Denmark. Musician and composer Bilal Irshed was the mentor of the band.
Music consists of a unique language, in and of itself, and the band Grænseløs as a project was a good example of how music can create connections between different people and varying cultures.
“Grænseløs has been a very interesting project and has offered a great learning process for both the musicians and for me personally. The project gave the musicians the opportunity to expand their network as well as perform at a number of music venues in Denmark.”
In 2015, Swinging Europe and Jazz Denmark, in consultation with Bilal Irshed, selected 3 members of Grænseløs to participate in a personal mentoring course that would strengthen their continued musical development as well as their way into the music industry. The 3 musicians were Jamile Alfer, Maher Mahmoud and Chaher Ali Murtada.
At the end of August 2015, the orchestra recorded tracks in The Village in Copenhagen, being the culmination of the 2-year project.
Listen to Grænseløs’ music on:
Bilal was leader of the band and mentor for the project Grænseløs. He was born and raised in the village of Daboyya in northern Galilee, Palestine. He later moved to Jerusalem to study music at the Academy for Music and Dance. In 2006, he moved to Zanzibar, where he worked as a music teacher and artistic director at Dhow Countries Music Academy. He has always been interested in writing and composing music, besides being a teacher and performer. Bilal today lives in Copenhagen, where he is involved in various music projects. In addition to his own bands, Bilal’s Trio and The Fiveth String, he is also a member of the Middle Eastern Peace Orchestra.
Adam was born and raised in Holstebro in western Denmark. He has played the flute since he was 11 years old. As a young musician, Adam won the gold medal in a classical music competition arranged by the Berlingske Tidende newspaper. Adam has attended OrkesterEfterskolen in Holstebro and been an intern at Aalborg Symphony Orchestra. Today, Adam Woer is involved in several different music projects in Denmark.
Chaher Ali Murtada
Chaher was born in Damascus, Syria, in 1971. He started playing both the guitar and piano at a very early age. Later he fell in love with the bass and dedicated all his time to practicing. Besides his interest in jazz music, he is strongly influenced by well-known musicians like Alain Caron, Anthony Jackson, Victor Wooten, Michael Manring and Richard Bona.
Emil plays Middle Eastern folk music, free improvised music, jazz and other forms of world music (Scandinavian, African, Reggae, etc.). He’s studied guitar at the Rytmiske Musikkonservatorium, where he also plays oud, mandolin and the Turkish baglama (saz).
“To me music is a way to describe those feelings which are impossible to be put into words. Especially through improvisation, I feel like I’m able to reach a higher level of expression.”
Emil is active in many different bands and projects based in Copenhagen, where he plays and composes for Boujeloud, Cirklen, Prophet Adam, etc.
Jamile Jamal Alfer
Jamilie was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1987. Today she lives in Asaa, North Jutland.
“I’ve always been a musician. When I was a child, my father used to sing Arabic songs to me while I tried to accompany him on the keyboard with my untrained fingers. In my teenage years, I discovered my singing voice and I have experienced a fantastic and exciting adventure in the music world since then. ”
Jamile graduated as a midwife, before she finally decided to pursue a musical path at the Royal Danish Music Conservatory. Her inspiration for her songs is derived from the world around her, everyday struggles and people she surrounds herself with. Her biggest source of inspiration is Billie Holiday and Feyrouz.
Maher was born in 1986 in Syria and today lives in Randers . Maher studied at the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus, where he played oud and studied both classical Western and Eastern music. He has performed many solo concerts and in connection with other different bands, who play Arabic, classical and jazz in different countries in the Middle East and Europe. He released his first album “Mirage” in 2010 in Syria.
In addition to playing oud, he has composed music to Grænseløs.
Mette Marie Jensen Ørnstrup
Mette Marie was born in 1984 in Denmark. She lives in Aarhus and has lived in Istanbul for 1 1/2 years, where she studied classical Ottoman singing and makam theory. Earlier she stayed in Ghana, and she still performs with the Ghanaian group, African Footprints.
“To me, intercultural music meetings are about inspiration and communication.” What are we able to create together? Can we interact in a way where everybody feels like they’ve gained a positive experience from the meeting? I have been exploring this question for some years. “
Saer is Danish-Palestinian and was born in 1980 in Raas al Khayma. He lives in Tåstrup outside of Copenhagen, but he was raised in Odense. He is an artist and former member of the Middle East Peace Orchestra and Klezmer Zahav.
“I find musical inspiration in the modern Middle Eastern Darfur tradition, primarily Tony Anka, Ahmet Misirh and Mohammed Zaki.”
Dogan was born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1965 and has a BA in Mechanical Engineering from Istanbul Technical University. He came to Denmark in 1992 and lives in Copenhagen.
Dogan has attended courses in music and baglama at Turkish music organisations in Germany. Later he took private courses in Kemane, Istanbul.
The music which inspires Dogan is by Turkish baglama virtuoso Arif Sag and Turkish folk music.