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Born to Palestinian parents in Germany in 1979, Abdallah grew up in Denmark, where she continues to live. Abdallah specializes in Arabic percussion, especially darbuka, long considered a “masculine” instrument and overwhelmingly played by men in the Middle East.
One of the few women to play the darbuka professionally, Abdallah was self-taught and has been playing since she was fifteen. Abdallah states that she has faced many challenges in her profession due to her gender and her instrument of choice. In fact, youtube users sometimes post recordings of her playing on YouTube with telling titles like “female on darbuka” and “female playing darbuka.”
Abdallah works as a soloist as well as with the Middle East Peace Orchestra and with Missing Voices, a consortium of Muslim women musicians across Europe. She also support various dance acts with her percussion, including belly dancers and hip-hop dancers.
Abdallah plays traditional Middle Eastern style as well as Western styles such as rock, house and pop on the darbuka and is currently looking to record an album that fuses Middle Eastern beats with Western musical styles. Her music and artistic collaborations reflect this interest in musical fusion and understanding.
Rich Mix / Arts and Culture / Music / Muslim Women Music Makers
Simona Abdallah, MySpace Page
“Simona Abdallah,” Missing Voices: Tour Artists