Ross Daly Biography

Ross Daly's journey in the music of the world is inseparable from the course of his life. Of Irish descent, born in England, he travelled as a child with his family around the world and soon his deep interest in music emerged. His first instrument was the cello, which he studied in his childhood years in America. He later began studying the classical guitar in Japan at the age of eleven. The late sixties found him in San Francisco, where having experienced both the classical discipline and the air of freedom and experimentation of the time, he first encountered Eastern musical traditions which completely changed his life. Of particular interest to him was Indian Classical music which was destined to be the first non-western tradition that he actively studied. The ensuing years found him travelling extensively studying a variety of instruments and traditions. At that time his main emphasis was on Indian and Afghani music.
In 1975 he travelled to Crete which he had previously visited for a short time in 1970 and 1972 where he had been greatly impressed by the lyra (a small pear-shaped upright fiddle which is the primary folk instrument of the island). After a six month period of wandering from village to village encountering local musicians, He settled in the town of Hania on the west of the island and began studying the Cretan Lyra with its great master Kostas Mountakis. This apprenticeship was to last for many years. During this same time he frequently visited Turkey where he studied Ottoman classical music as well as Turkish folk music. After many years of intensive training in a variety of musical traditions, Ross Daly turned his attention largely to composition drawing heavily on the various sources that he had studied. Today he has released more than twenty five albums of his own compositions as well as of his own versions of traditional melodies that he collected during his travels. The island of Crete in Greece still provides a base for his personal and musical research as he travels around the world performing his music.
A master multi-instrumentalist himself, Ross Daly has repeatedly teamed with master musicians from all over the world working within the musical discipline of the Eastern traditions while at the same time freely exploring new forms and creative improvisation. A virtuoso of Eastern musical instruments, he plays the Cretan lyra, Afghan rabab, tarhu, laouto, kemence, oud, saz and tanbur. A unique composer, Ross Daly, builds his compositions around the subtle but powerful interaction between the sound textures of the various traditions which he has studied. His close personal relationship with the musicians he works with is of paramount importance to Ross Daly himself as he believes that it is this inner connection which brings music alive. The unique sound of his music reflects his personal philosophy, influenced by the Sufi tradition which stresses the sacred nature of music itself, the enormous power contained within it, and the necessity for those who concern themselves with it to unreservedly and selflessly give themselves to it. This process results in an experience of music of a transcendental and spiritual nature, equally shared by musicians and audience alike, which has nothing to do with the fashions of "World Music" or "Ethnic". Ross Daly's music provides something that is increasingly difficult to find in modern times: a sense of continuity and unity. Sharing in the essence of a music that really has no physical boundaries is a magical experience that stands outside of time and space, connecting the natural flow of ancient traditions with the most complex needs of today's audiences

He has collaborated with some of the most important musicians from all over the world such as: Habil Aliev, Djamchid Chemirani, Omer Erdogdular, Munir Bashir, Kostas Mountakis, Nikos Xylouris, Huun Huur Tu, Stelios Foustalierakis, Dhruba Ghosh, Rakesh Chaurasia, Shubankar Bannerjee, Vassilis Soukas, Ballake Sissoko, Mehmet Erenler, Talip Ozkan, Matthew Barley, Hossein Omoumi, Mohammad Rahim Khushnawaz, Khaled & Hossein Arman, Necati Celik, Goksel Baktagir, Derya Turkan, Georgi Petrov, Naseer Shamma and many more.
Apart from his intense concert activity in festivals all over the world with his group Labyrinth, which he established in 1982, Daly is particularly known for the creation and artistic direction of large multi-ethnic music groups with the participation of musicians coming from many different traditions and for his rich and impressive compositions and orchestrations that emerge from the collaborations of all these musicians. Some of the most well known projects of this nature are IRIS (Greece, India, Iran) and The White Dragon (Tuva, Iran, Greece).
In Summer 2004 he was the artistic director of the cultural program of the Olympic Games for the Olympic city of Heraklion on the island of Crete, titled “Crete, Music Crossroads”. He organized and artistically supervised 15 concerts with the participation of 300 musicians from all over the world. Amongst others there were musicians of international fame as : Jordi Savall, Eduardo Niebla, Huun Huur Tu, Habil Aliev, Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan, Mohammad Rahim Khushnawaz, Trio Chemirani, Adel Selameh and many others.
Since 2003 he is the artistic director of the Musical Workshop Labyrinth in the village of Houdetsi in the Heraklion province of Crete in Greece, where concerts, seminars and master classes are organized every summer. Each year hundreds of students from all continents arrive in Houdetsi in order to study with some of the most renowned teachers of traditional music. Also Ross Daly’s impressive collection of more than 200 instruments which he has collected over the years during his travelling is permanently on exhibition in the building of Labyrinth.
Ross Daly has performed in many important venues and festivals such as: Migration Festival, Taipei, Taiwan (2006), International Lute Festival, Tetouan, Morocco (2006), Madrid Summer Festival, Sabatini Gardens, Spain (2006), International Festival, Warsaw, Poland (2006), Manresa Festival , Barcelona,Spain (2006), Athens Concert Hall (1993, 2006), National Concert Hall, Dublin, Ireland(2005), Konzerthaus Mozart Saal, Vienna, Austria (2005), San Francisco World Music Festival, U.S.A (2005), State Theatre Company, Adelaide, Australia,(2005), Theatre de la Ville, Paris, France (1992-93, 2002,2003,2005), Festival de Saint Chartier, France(2003), Urkult Festival, Sweden(2003), Passionskirche, Berlin, Germany (1994,95,96),Rudolstadt Festival, Germany (2002), Aarhus, Denmark(1997), Huset theatre, Ahlborg, Denmark (1995-97),Copanhagen, Denmark (1995-97, 2003), Les Nuits Atypiques Festival, Langon, France (1995), Archaeological Museum, Madrid, Spain (1998-99, 2001), Festival of Murcia, Spain (1999), Cemal Resit Rey Conser Salonu, Istanbul, Τurkey (1997, 2005, 2006), Lycabbetus theatre, Athens (1987,91,93,98). Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, U.K (1998-2000-2), WDR, Munich, Germany (1999), WDR Wuppertal, Germany(1992), Belgium (2001),Luxemburg (1992, 1994), Nuremberg, Germany (1992, 2006), Frankfurt, Germany (1992), Epidaurus Theatre, Greece, Herodion Theatre, Greece and many others.
Today, Ross Daly continues travelling and performing in Greece and abroad whilst simultaneously directing the Musical Workshop "Labyrinth" in the village of Houdetsi on Crete.


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