top of page


Taraf Syriana, photo by Belu Barca.JPG
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Spotify
  • Apple Music

Taraf Syriana, as their name suggests, perform Syrian and Romani folk music - featuring a lineup that includes both legends of Romani folk music, Sergiu Popa (accordion) and Dan Armeanca (vocals/guitar), as well as graduates from some of the top music conservatories in Syria and Europe: Naeem Shanwar (qanun), Omar Abou Afach (viola) and Noémy Braun (cello).

“We were rehearsing when a mortar struck the music conservatory complex in Damascus in 2014,” remembers violist Omar Abou Afach, who performed both violin and viola with Syria’s National Orchestra from 1993-2015. The attack caused numerous casualties at the arts centre. “After the bombing stopped we were sure that no one would attend that evening’s concert at the Opera House, just 100 metres away, but that night the hall was full. Even during wartime, people came to every cultural event. I think it was the only place where people could get a breath of normal life.”


Omar Abou Afach has since immigrated to Montréal, and is part of an extraordinary ensemble called Taraf Syriana, an ensemble of conservatory trained virtuosi which also includes Naeem Shanwar (qanun, and former music professor at the Universoty of Homs), Noémy Braun (cello) and Sergiu Popa (accordionist from one of Europe’s great Romani musical dynasties).


The group is dedicated to the folk music of Syria and its neighbours. “In Aleppo, Damascus and other cities, you can hear this diversity in music, on the streets and on the radio,” recalls Abou Afach, “and that includes Arabic, Kurdish, Syriac, Armenian, Iraqi, Turkish and Romani music.”


Taraf Syriana Album cover.png

Taraf syriana


"Truly inspired... A Terrific debut" 

-John Clewley / The Bangkok Post

Mundofonias: One of the Best Albums of 2022 - Mundofonias

"One of the best albums of 2022" 

- Scott Stevens / Spin the Globe

"An excellent album" 

- Mario Batelic / Globaluna Radio

One of the best new releases of Fall 2022 

- CBC's Frequencies

Taraf Syriana's "Jovano Jovanke" named one of the best songs of 2022

- WTMD's Detour with Paul Hartman

Feature on PRI's "The World" 

(Carried nationally by NPR News in the USA and Canada)

"One of the best new world music CD releases" 

- Grit Friedrich / DeutschlandFunk Kultur

Interview with Sergiu Popa on Detour Radio

15-minute feature on Folk World with Tony Hillier

Featured on CBC's "Q"

Feature on Munodofonias Radio: "Música de la humanidad"

#15 on the Transglobal World Music Chart

bottom of page