The Rohana Overwater Ensemble is the fruit of the musical friendship between the Palestinian ud player Nizar Rohana and Dutch bassist Tony Overwater. Together they selected three prominent musicians from the Arab world and the Netherlands: clarinet player Maarten Ornstein; Tunisian violinist and viola d’amore player Jasser Haj Youssef and the Jordanian percussionist Nasser Salameh. Led by Tony and Nizar, each member of the ensemble contributes some of his own compositions, while jointly they strive for the creation of new music with an authentic sound.
Rohana and Overwater share a genuine curiosity for each other’s musical worlds – classical Arabic music and the world of improvisation and Western early music – and this led to a detailed examination of the nuances and rhetoric of each other’s styles. Genuine interest, curiosity and research into the smallest detail of each other’s musical language helps create something new – something that enhances the qualities of both worlds instead of getting bogged down in platitudes and stereotypes.