I met Joseph Tawadros at Ben Starr’s launch of Marconi Radio Rover and I wanted to find out more about this interesting man so we agreed to have a coffee at Kazbah in Potts Point. After ordering refreshments we sat at a table on the footpath, chatting about life, music and watching some the interesting characters of the area go by.
At just 31 years of age, Joseph has established himself as one of the world’s leading oud performers and composers.
I am going to be completely up-front here and confess I had never even heard of an ‘oud’ prior to meeting Joseph; it was when he sent me one of his compositions to listen to called “heal” after he learnt of the recent passing of my mum, that I discovered the pure emotion in this beautiful instrument. The music brought me to buckets of tears, and yes, it made me feel sad yet at the same time there was something truly healing in the sounds, and after all a good cry is part of the grieving process. I have included the clip below so you can listen yourself and maybe understand why I felt something so deeply emotional.
An intriguing character, Joseph Tawadros has a style that makes him stand out from a crowd with his waxed moustache and bowler hat. I was surprised to find out that he had lost a staggering 55kg in 14 months after taking up boxing! When it comes to creativity, Joseph oozes plenty of it, and it’s not just his music, he is one unique character and I’m grateful to have had the pleasure of meeting him.
“One of the most impressive musicians to emerge in Australia…with a dazzling technique dispensing hair raising tempos... His writing displays a real depth of emotion…reveling in a zest for life and celebration.”
- The Australian
At just 31 years of age, Joseph has established himself as one of the world’s leading oud performers and composers. A virtuoso of amazing diversity and sensitivity, Joseph continues to appear in concert halls worldwide dazzling audiences with his brilliant technique, his passionate musicianship and his joyous style of performance. Always willing to push the boundaries and challenge traditional musical forms and rhythms, his efforts have led him to many unique collaborations, and he has recorded 11 albums to date: Storyteller, Rouhani, Visions, Epiphany, Angel, The Prophet: Music Inspired by the Poetry of Kahlil Gibran, The Hour of Separation, Band of Brothers, Concerto of The Greater Sea, Chameleons of the White Shadow and his latest offering Permission to Evaporate. Winning a rare hat-trick for his last three albums for Best World Music Album Award at the Australian Recording Industry Awards (ARIA) in 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively.
A resident of Australia since 1986, Joseph has been responsible for expanding the Oud’s notoriety in mainstream western culture and has also been recognized in the Arab world being invited to appear on the judging panel of the Damascus International Oud competition in 2009 and took part in Istanbul’s first Oud festival in 2010.
Joseph has toured extensively headlining in Europe, America, Asia and the Middle East and has collaborated with artists such as tabla master Zakir Hussain, sarangi master Sultan Khan, Banjo maestro Bela Fleck, John Abercrombie, John Patitucci, Jack DeJohnette, Christian McBride, Mike Stern, Richard Bona, Roy Ayers, Joey DeFrancesco, Howard Johnson, Jean Louis Matinier, Ivry Gitlis, Camerata Salzburg, Christian Lindberg, Neil Finn, Katie Noonan, Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra amongst many others. He has also had guest appearances with the Sydney, Adelaide and Perth Symphony Orchestras. Other highlights include being in the top 20 of Sydneys most influential as well as being a finalist for young Australian of the year in 2013.