Amro Hosny Helmy
(Arabic Vocals, Oud)
A native of Cairo, Amro is a master oud player, singer, and teacher. In Chicago, he teaches at the Islamic Foundation School in Villa Park and the American Islamic College in Chicago. Amro has played and sung at scores of interfaith programs in Chicago. "If there is something that can be changed in this world, it can only happen through music."
(Founder, Hebrew/Yiddish/Ladino Vocals, Guitar)
Lori founded the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band in 1983 and the Salaam-Shalom Music Project in 2000. With Maxwell Street, Lori has performed in Carnegie Hall, toured Europe, and recorded five CDs. In 1994, she founded The Klezmer Music Foundation and the Junior Klezmer Orchestra. Lori is also a cantorial soloist for synagogue services.
(Violin, Russian Vocals, Conductor)
Alex Koffman, violinist, has conducted and composed for Maxwell Street since 1990, shortly after his immigration to America from Belarus. A graduate of the Conservatory of Minsk, Alex was a featured soloist with Chicago Lyric Opera in 2015 in an original klezmer opera, and with Chicago Sinfonietta in 2014 in Levinson’s “Klezmer Rhapsody” in Symphony Center.
A pharmacist by profession, Dahlia has devoted herself to performing the classical Egyptian repertoire and preserving her heritage. Trained as a singer in university choirs, Dahlia’s lyrical voice has been featured in both classical and Arabic ensembles.
Yasmin comes from a background steeped in love for singing and songwriting. Raised in a Pakistani household where singing devotional poetry was a part of family life, she has sought to blend that tradition with a contemporary esthetic, writing and singing Sufi-inspired Urdu poetry. A band member since 2011, Yasmin is devoted to interfaith endeavors. As a graphic artist whose work can be seen at the Museum of Contemporary Art, she was featured the classical duet Bow and Hammer’s “Eleve” art and music collaboration at its Ovation Chicago residency in 2017.
Kim Sopata Fleuchaus
(Flute, Ney or Arabic Flute)
Kim holds a B.M. on classical flute from Northwestern University and an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from Bethel University, and has performed Arabic music at the Kennedy Center, the White House, the U.N. Building, NYC's Symphony Space, and before HRH Queen Rania of Jordan. Her nay-playing can also be heard on the documentary film “A Message from the East,” and she has toured throughout the US and Canada with Muslim playwright Rohina Malik in the one-woman show, “Unveiled.” She runs Jubal Music, a live music booking agency.
Max has played in Europe, South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia and earned awards from organizations including DownBeat Jazz Magazine and the U.S. Embassy. The first jazz musician ever to receive a grant from the Beebe Fund, Max spent 2016 in India researching the rigorous and systematic South Indian Classical system and applying this knowledge to the music of the African Diaspora. Max has performed with jazz icons such as Ingrid Jensen and Ambrose Akinmusire; as well as musicians from the pop and world music realms. Max currently holds degrees in Jazz Saxophone Performance and Law & Society from Oberlin College. He performs regularly with his working band Echoes, and began playing with the Salaam-Shalom Music Project in 2017.
Sam Hyson grew up playing classical violin and Klezmer, then moved on to Balkan music, Latin, Middle Eastern, and beyond. He is co-founder of Chicago Folklore Ensemble, which presents music and stories of master musicians who immigrated to Chicago from countries around the world. He also performs with Cielito Lindo Family Folk Music (Mexican), Shalizar Ensemble (Persian), Ochin Pakhi (Bengali), and Compass Rose World Violin Duo. He holds a degree in Environmental Studies from Warren Wilson College. Sam has been playing with the Salaam-Shalom Music Project since 2018.
Hannah Fidler is a bassist, singer, and composer originally from Bloomington, IN. In 2017, she was a Fellow for OneBeat, a program run through the U.S. State Department that brings together artists from around the world to tour the nation with original music and cross-cultural workshops. She currently lives in Chicago and can be found performing, recording, and touring with artists such as Al Scorch (folk), Ben Burden (hip-hop), Not Lovely (jazz/hip-hop), and her solo project, Lyn Rye. In her spare time, she is volunteers with Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants and serves as Programming Assistant for Masjid Al-Rabia, a women-led, LGBTQ+ affirming Islamic community in Chicago.
(Percussion, Arabic, French Vocals)
Lokman comes from Amman, Jordan from a family of Palestinian descent. He toured Egypt, Turkey, and India with the Hashemite University Orchestra. One of the missions of the NMC is to demonstrate “the power of music to promote understanding, peace and unity across cultural divides.” Lokman played with Jordan’s Baladna Orchestra, sang with the al-Hanuna Folklore Society, and accompanied composer Talal Abu al-Rageb. In 2015, he immigrated to the US, where he is the go-to percussionist for Chicago’s Arabic music ensembles.
Anas Odeh (Dancer, Dance-Leader) moved to Chicago in 2014 where he attended a community college in Business Administration. Anas has been a member of the Salaam-Shalom Music Project since 2016. Anas was the Folklore Dance Instructor at al-Hannona Group in Amman, Jordan. In Chicago, he has been a member of a popular “Zaffa” group, a troupe of traditional professional musicians and dancers that hire out for local Arabic weddings. A lover of traditional folk music, he also plays Middle Eastern instruments such as the doff and mazhar (hand drums).