The Kennedy Center



2009 was a decisive year for Abaji: A return to Lebanon after an exile of 33 years for his first concert, the release of his fifth album Origine Orients, and preparations for a show with Nawal Raad.

Abaji was born to an Arméno-Greek Smyrna father and an Arméno-Syrian mother in Istanbul.  Both of his parents had been exiled from Lebanon. He arrived in France in 1976 shortly after the start of the war and developed a passion for Chinese medicine: Tai Chi Chuan, do-in, and dynamic releases.  As a therapist, he conducted Tai Chi in a psychiatric community for seven years.

His music is a family tradition. Abaji began playing the guitar at the age of 11, and soon picked up other instruments as well: the clarinet, the oud, the bouzouki, and flute. Later, the synthesis of these instruments combined with a variety of musical passions: Eastern, Indian music, and the Blues. A meeting with the famous composer Gabriel Yared was a decisive moment in Abaji's development. In 1996, he produced his first album "Paris-Beirut," singing in Arabic, French and English. Other releases followed: "Bedouin Blues," which includes the "Gibran" song; "Oriental Journey," which received the Classica outstanding reference record label; and "Nomad Spirit," which features three contemporary masters: Djivan Gasparyan Armenian, Ramesh Shotham, and Majid Bekkas. Abaji has also composed and recorded music for film and television. Most recently, he produced music for the documentary feature film by Jean Deniau, "The Hostage Time," broadcast in France in April, 2009.