Musicians

Christian Fotsch Bild AHE

Christian Fotsch

Oud, Bouzouki, Flamencoguitar, vocals

Christian (1962) lives as a professional musician in Mellingen, Switzerland. He’s specialized in string instruments such as bouzoukie, oud, flamencoguitar, tambura, cifteli, cümbüs, double bass and more. He composes songs, arranges tunes and produces CDs. His rhythmical technics on the Bouzouki are influenced by many yeas of Flamenco guitar studies in Sevilla, where he learned the art of accompanying the complex flamenco dancing. His impulsiv and humourous expression and his multi linguistical talents (German, French, English, Spanish, Turkish, Greek and some Italian) are the base for a nice contact with his audiences.

Based on his pedagogical experience, Christian Fotsch has successfully developed his concept for the design of intercultural school shows and project weeks. Based on three Schnabelwetzer CD productions, which have been awarded the German media prize “Good Music for Children”, he created a program with 7 songs in 7 languages to participate in, with which Ssassa is intensively on tour from St.Gallen to Geneva. For the CD “Ssassa Germanofolies” he composed German songs, which are performed in schools of The Romandie. Click here for a direct entry of the list of his CDs: www.fonoteca.ch

Christian Fotsch is the driving force of the artist group Ssassa. He composes songs and melodies, initiates new CD and video productions and manages the group. In 2001, he also launched the Oriental & Flamenco Gypsy Festival”, which has been on extensive tours for thirteen times since then, with well over 30,000 enthusiastic spectators and guest performers in renowned venues such as the KKL Luzern, the Kongress House Zurich or the Beausobre Theatre in Morges. Since 2013 he has also been leading the intercultural children’s music project “Beyond Cultures”, which has been running since 2019 with the new name “Musaik”. On top, Christian Fotsch plays in these formations: Ceól, Ssassa-Ektaal and Rosetta Lopardo Combo.

Christian Fotsch on Wikipedia

Denis Zekirov

Trumpet, Vocals, Percussion

Denis Zekirov is a most gifted trumpet player from a Romanes-speaking district of Delchevo in North-Macedonia. His wonderful, intensive solos are driven by an extraorinary creativity. But he also wins the hearts of his listeners as a singer. For the Ssassa CD “Romano Kazani” he composed several songs and melodies. As a 13-year-old he was discovered by Esma Redzepova, the great Macedonian Gypsy legend. He received daily lessons at their music academy in Skopje. At the age of 13, he was invited to play the trupet at the inauguration ceremonies when Bill Clinton was freshly elected. After completing his music training, Denis went on an extended world tour in 1996 for five years, which took him from Japan to Mexico and from South Africa to Russia. He arrived in Switzerland in 2007. Since May 2013, he has been a regular member of the Ssassa Group. Denis Zekirov also leads a children’s orchestra as part of “Beyond Cultures”, or “Musaik”. Children between the ages of 8 and 16 can register with him and take instrumental and singing lessons free of charge in Mellingen (AG).

Franziska Heusser

Saxophon, gajda, zurna

Franziska Heusser, after a classical training for flute, has dedicated herself to the demanding Roma music techniques on the saxophone and even amazes her audience from the Balkans in such a way that they name her Madame Ferus” after the legendary Roma saxophonist Ferus Mustafov. For many years she has also been immersed in the play of the Gajda (bagpipes), one of the old, traditional instruments in the Balkans. Beside virtuoso playing on Sax, Gajda and Zurna she completed her education at WIAM, the JazzRockPop Academy Winterthur, where she has earned a BA in music education. In addition to Ssassa, Franziska Heusser also performs with Orhan Ajvazovic in the duo. Click here to go to the website of Franziska and Orhan.

Franziska Heusser teaches flute and saxophone at a music school and is a mother of four children.

Meryem Anachkova

Meryem Anachkova

Vocals

Meryem Anachkova is an outstanding, charismatic Roma singer from Bulgaria. She has been performing with Ssassa since the “Oriental & Flamenco Gypsy Festival” 2019. Already as a young child, she delighted her audience. She performed almost daily at concerts mainly in Bulgaria and Turkey. Her repertoire includes songs in Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian, Turkish and Romanes. She lives in Mellingen since 2019 and regularly performs with Ssassa.

Kadir Erdogan

Kadir Erdogan

Percussion, vocals

Kadir Erdogan grew up in Mersin, Turkey, inmidst of a rich tradition of Turkish Roma culture. From his father, who was muezzin in a mosque, he learned the multifaceted ornamentation of Turkish art singing. At the age of 13, he performed drums in pubs and at weddings. With his virtuoso Darabuka and Davul playing, Kadir Erdogan accompanies the Group Ssassa at many school concerts, where he conquers the hearts of the audience with his humor and empathy. Since 2013 he has also played regularly at evening concerts. In addition to his playing as a percussionist, he also has a large Turkish song repertoire.

Orhan Ajvazovic

Vocals, Keyboards

Orhan Ajvazovic occasionally performs with Ssassa as a guest musician. He is originally from Serbia and has lived in Switzerland since childhood. Already at the age of 13 years he performed at huge Serbian weddings as a virtuoso keyboard player and extremely talented singer. In addition to songs in Serbian, his large repertoire includes songs in Romanes and other languages. For the Ssassa CD he composed the song “Ruzo Bela” in 9/8 rhythm and thus outed himself as a composer. We are looking forward to further compositions by Orhan. In addition to Ssassa, Orhan Ajvazovic also performs with Franziska Heusser in the duo. Click here Franziska & Orhan.

Miguel Sotelo Gallego

Miguel Soterlo Gallego

Flamencoguitar, vocals

Miguel Sotelo, a worldwide known guitarist with roots in Huelva and Seville, has been performing regularly with Ssassa since 2014. With his sensitive and virtuoso playing he has enriched the Ssassa CD “Romano Kazani”. Miguel was invited to the “Oriental & Flamenco Gypsy Festival” for the first time in 2007. Since then, he has been a core member of this intercultural festival of encounters. He accompanies flamenco singers (recital evenings) as well as dancers and also he’s a virtuoso solist. From the duo to the big theatre production, every show is characterized by its very personal expression. He has has a good name as a studio musician and flamenco guitar teacher throughout Europ. Miguel Sotelo played in the ensembles of Ana Maria Amahi, Maria Serrano, La Cali, Amparo de Triana, Ana Cali, Carmen de Torres, La Renata, Carmen Lopez, Leonor Moro, Carmen Ledesma, Rafael Cortes, Juaquin Ruiz, Miguelete, Jorge San Telmo, Juan Mateo, Juan Povillo, El Rubio, Jose Parrondo, Augustin de la Fuente, Ricardo Espinosa, Jose Manual, Tudela, El Fyty, Ismael Fernandez, Kisko de Alcala and in the band of Domingo Patricio and Carles Benavent (Paco de Lucia), El Torombo, Nene Vasquez (Venezuela), Finn Martin, Tony Braxton (USA), ), Jasmin Allard (Caribbean), David Granados (Modern Talking), 2Reflex (“Uh la la la”, No. 1 Hit in Spain and Latin America), Katarina Witt, Circus Roncalli in Berlin, Cirque du Soleil and “Sonido” (Hannover).

Amrat Hussain.jpg
Lila Amrat Hussain

Amrat Hussain

Tabla, vocals

Amrat Hussain, one of India’s most virtuoso tabla players, comes from a family of musicians who have been playing at the Maharaja court for 7 generations. At the age of 13, the young talent Amrat Hussain made his appearance on Indian television. His father Ustad Rafeek Mohamad and his grandfather Ustad Rasool Khan have taught him tabla and singing since the age of 5. In 2000 he started his international career, initially with extensive tours in Italy where he also learned the language. His first high-light was in 2004 at the Athens Festival, where he performed with his brother Rahis with Dhoad. Other great performances followed such as LIVE AIDS 8, 2005 with the Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio, with Conte, Avion Travel, Jovanotti, Lucciodala… In addition to his countless concerts with traditional Rajasthan music, he‘s part of several fusions with well-known musicians from Cuba, Argentina, Spain, Hungary, Tunisia, Cameroon such as Manu Dibongo. He is also active in several experimental bands in France, where he resides halfway through the period, including jazz and even electro. In 2008 Amrat Hussain has played with world stars like Carlos Santana, at the Pori Jazz Festival en Finlande. Even Mick Jagger and Sylvain Luc had short fusions with Dhoad at one concert each. Amrat Hussain experienced further highlights in SZIGET, at PALEO, a WORLD FESTIVAL in CHICAGO, at the NUITS ATYPIQUES of Langon with several formations, especially with Dhoad. Amrat Hussain has been performing regularly with Ssassa since 2003 as part of projets such as the Gypsy Festival, school concert tours and with Ssassa-Ektaal.

Heidi Daddou

Heidi Daddou

Arabic vocals

Heidi Daddou is an outstanding singer who lives in Cairo. For special occasions she is invited by Ssassa for a specific tour. She made her live debut with Ssassa on 3 October 2019 at a vernissage at the FIFA Museum in Zurich. Already for the Schnabelwetzer 3 CD she worked together with Ssassa, in which she sang the beautiful Arabic song for us.

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