Jan. 1, 2014
Dear  Friends,

Happy 2014!  Another beautiful year upon us.  We wish you all goodness throughout this year and all to come!!  

We ring in the new year with some unfortunate news about musical freedom.  

Our longtime friend and Al Andalus Ensemble member (since our beginnings in 1986) virtuoso flute player Boujemaa Razgui had his flutes taken from him and destroyed by TSA officials in New York.   

Here is a link to our press release  here and the story in the Boston Globe and others.  
In addition to his work with the Al Andalus Ensemble, Boujemaa has performed and recorded with Beyonce, Shakira, Cirque du Soleil and is a regular with the Boston Camarata.  
You can hear Boujemaa Razgui's ney playing on the album Illumination on the track “Nabil.”   

If you have any suggestions or can help in any way.  Please let us know.   
In music and in peace!

The Al Andalus Ensemble
Boujemaa Razgui of the Al Andalus Ensemble in Sevilla, Spain

Boujemaa Razgui of the Al Andalus Ensemble in Sevilla, Spain

Link to more images here

Dec. 19, 2013
Dear Friends of Al Andalus,
We are writing to you today with very sad news: we have lost a member of the Al Andalus Ensemble family. Our beloved friend and cellist, Lori Presthus, passed away on November 20, 2013. Over the years, Lori has graced us with her radiant personality, beautiful music and art. We find ourselves at a loss for words: to say that Lori was a gifted musician, talented artist and dedicated friend does not communicate the gravity of the loss of our dear friend. She infused our lives with light!! She saw beauty in all things, and she helped the rest of us see it, too.
We have lost a dear friend and valued colleague. Our grief and confusion at this time are little compared to what Lori’s family must be feeling. Our hearts go out to them. Each of us not only grieves at the passing of a tremendous individual but also for the loss her family suffers.
Lori's spirit will live on in her music and art, which will serve to remind us that life is joyous and filled with love. We will miss her so very, very much, and we will listen for her sweet cello on every stage.
We will all miss a great human being.
With love and great sadness,
Tarik, Julia, Emily, Laura, Gavin, Cristina, Charlie, Zahra
Al Andalus Ensemble
Link to Lori's obituary in The Oregonian

Lori Presthus beloved cellist of Al Andalus Ensemble

Lori Presthus


Al Andalus Ensemble on Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Producer Catherine Stimac, Videographer & Editor - Greg Bond, Audio - Randy Layton & William Ward with additional crew Michael Bendixen & Tom Shrider created this episode about the Al Andalus Ensemble for the Artbeat program.

Watch Al Andalus Ensemble on Artbeat.
Al Andalus Ensemble on Oregon's Artbeat

Independent Music Awards Logo

Independent Music Awards Winner

Independent Music Awards Logo

Al-Andalus Ensemble's 21 Strings album "21 Strings" won the Vox Pop Award for  "Best Contemporary Classical Album of 2010" in the 9th annual Independent Music Awards program. Thank you!

"For the past 9 years independent artists and labels from around the world have found new fans and prominence through The Independent Music Awards. Earning an award for the Independent Music Awards is more than just a badge of distinction, it is an honor and a privledge..." Thank you IMA!!!

El ultimo álbum de Al-Andalus Ensemble "21 Strings" ha ganado el Vox Pop Award por la "Mejor Álbum de Musica Clásica Contemporánea de 2010" en el 9 º programa anual de Premios de Musica Independiente. Mil Gracias!

Le nouvel album de Al-Andalus Ensemble "21 Strings" gane le "Vox Pop Award pour "Best Contemporary Classical Album of 2010" dans la 9e édition du programme "Independent Music Awards". Merci!

Peoples Grammy Logo

Al-Andalus Ensemble wins JPFolks "Peoples Grammy Award" for "Best World Music Song 2009"

The 2009 Just Plain Folks Music Awards or "Peoples Grammy Awards" are officially over. Tarik Banzi, oudist, composer and founder of the Al-Andalus Ensemble together with his wife, flamenco guitarist Julia Banzi, took home the JPFolks Music Award for the "Best World Music Song of 2009." The winning song, title track from their album "Alchemy." The song "Alchemy" features simply oud and guitar and was selected from over 560,000 songs entered from 163 countries around the world in what is the world's largest Independent Music Awards.   Founder Brian Austin Whitney felt the music made by the "other 98%" of the music world often ignored by the mainstream televised music awards shows deserved its own recognition so he created the Just Plain Folks Music award, also known as the "Peoples Grammy" or  "Grass Root Grammy."    The Just Plain Folks Music Awards were started in 1999 as a simple way to recognize the worlds best music.  Just Plain Folks is a community of over 51,500 Songwriters, Recording Artists and Music Industry Professionals — and host to the world's largest independent music awards. The organization was created to provide a network of cooporation and inclusion for musicians.

The judging criteria is based around the basic concept: Does the music move you? This one encompassing criteria has since been adopted across much of the mainstream music industry to measure the very best quality of the best music being made today and to recognize it with admiration, fairness and dignity.   The awards ceremony was held in Nashville, Tennensee. The Banzis reportedly very moved by the news of this award stating "we will cherish this Award and distinction, remembering today with gratitude.   We are more committed than ever to you!-- the community that has brought us so much joy,   and meaning to our lives!  Thank you!"

Learn more about the music of Tarik and Julia Banzi and their ensemble at or listen to "Alchemy" here.


Los premios JPFolks Music Awards de 2009 "Peoples Grammy Awards" están oficialmente anunciados. Tarik Banzi, Laúdista, compositor y fundador de Al-Andalus Ensemble junto con su esposa, guitarrista Julia Banzi, se llevó el premio a la Mejor Canción "Música del mundo de 2009."La canción ganadora, tema que da título de su álbum "Alquimia" presenta laúd y guitarra y fue seleccionado entre más de 560.000 canciones presentadas de 163 países en lo que es el premio de música independiente más grande del mundo. El fundador Brian Austin Whitney sentía que la música hecha por el "otro 98%" del mundo de la música a menudo ignorada por los principales premios musicales televisados merecía su propio reconocimiento por lo que creó el Just Plain Folks "Peoples Grammy Awards" La organización se inicio en 1999 como una manera de reconocer la mejor música del mundo. Just Plain Folks es una comunidad de más de 51.500 Cantautores, artistas   de grabación y profesionales de la industria musical - y de acogida al premio más grande del mundo de música independiente. La organización fue creada para proporcionar una red de cooperacion y la inclusión de los músicos.

El criterio de selección se basa en el concepto básico: ¿La música te mueve? Desde entonces, este criterio abarcador ha sido adoptado en gran parte por la industria musical, principalmente para medir la calidad de  de la mejor música que se produce actualmente y para reconocerla con admiración, equidad y dignidad. La ceremonia de premiación se llevó a cabo en Nashville, Tennensee. Tarik Banzi, muy conmovido por la noticia de este premio  ha afirmado que "vamos a valorar este premio y esta distinción, recordandolo con gratitud. Estamos más comprometidos que nunca a ustedes! - La comunidad que nos ha traído tanta alegría y sentido a nuestras vidas! ¡Gracias!"

Aprenda más sobre la música de Tarik y Julia Banzi y su conjunto Al-Andalus o escuche "Alchemy" (la canción premiada).

Three Faiths One God

Three Faiths One God, Christianity, Islam, Judiasm

Al-Andalus Ensemble was filmed for the groundbreaking documentary "Three Faiths, One God: Judaism, Christianity, Islam." It is now airing on National Public Television nationwide.

To return to the main Al-Andalus Ensemble site, click here.