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Ali Arsoy was born the third of six children in Kirkuk, Iraq, of parents from a diverse, multi-cultural heritage with roots in Armenia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Iraq.

In his youth many languages were spoken in Kirkuk, a region comprised of Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and Assyrians. Ali grew up speaking Turkmenian at home, but many other languages at school. As a result, he is proficient in singing and playing in many Middle Eastern languages and dialects.

Ali graduated from the Music Academy of Baghdad, where he studied classical Arabic music. At 17 years of age, he formed a group with his two brothers, Mahmoud and Murad, and they played at weddings, state occasions and festivals, culminating with the prestigious Babylon festival in 1993.

Ali left Iraq in 1995 due to political upheaval and joined his brother Mahmoud in Turkey, where once again they played music together. There, again, Ali encountered difficulties due to his multi-ethnicity and so he made a desperate bid for freedom in Europe, crossing the Furon River when he can't swim.

Ali now resides in Athens, Greece and performs at clubs and events throughout the Aegean and Europe. His performances are electric and his fans devoted.  His fame first spread in Athens as a result of his collaborations with Oriental Dance pioneer Rhea of Greece.  From the moment they met, the artistic sparks flew and all of Athens raved about their folkloric dance and music shows, leading to the creation of this rousing CD of traditional Middle Eastern and Turkish music. Ali sings & plays all instruments featured on "Ali Bi Ghanni Li Rhea" (Ali Sings for Rhea), with Rhea on zills.

Ali has followed up his first CD with the multi-faceted CD "Karma," which features music from around the Arabic-speaking world.  Melina is proud to perform with Ali whenever she visits Greece for her seminar tours.  Ali is a wonderful artist, musician and human being.  His voice is vibrant, his musicianship virtuosic, and his drum solos are articulate, energized and transporting.

Ali's CDs are great to use for teaching, performing or practicing Oriental Dance. Or you can just lay back on the couch and enjoy -- but don't blame us if you can't sit still.

Purchase his CDs from Daughters of Rhea Dance Studio in Boston for $20 each. 

Email melina at Daughters of Rhea Dance Studios for more info.



"Most of the songs had me doing hip drops in my chair, and since I'm at work, if I wasn't careful, I would catch myself starting to do shoulder shimmies.  ...if music on a CD can make you do that, it's good!"

--Janice Burdick