Dhafer Youssef is without a doubt the face of the avant-garde sound of the ud. His playing is true spectacle, keeping the audience on the edges of their seats from the first minute. During the first edition of the Ud Festival in 2016, Youssef made an overwhelming impression on the audience at the Concertgebouw, as he and his quartet transformed the hall into a swinging whole.
Dhafer Youssef has impressed with his compositions for decades, with the ud forming a central departure point for connecting with the instruments around him. The combination of his razor-sharp high voice, his knowledge of Arabic poetry, and the mix with jazzy influences, make him mysterious, inimitable and loved by the general public. On the basis of the success of the previous edition, the Ud Festival gave out a ‘wild card’ for a reprise, and the choice fell directly on Dhafer Youssef. The Dutch newspaper Het Parool selected his concert as ‘Best Jazz Concert of 2016’.