Lamajamal combines a wide variety of musical styles, instruments, rhythms and songs
into one universal expression. The goal of the group is to display musically how specific
traditions from around the world can harmonize with each other. Their current sound is
influenced by music from the Balkans, Turkey, North Africa, and the Middle East, as
well as a touch of 60's "Surf Sound." Whether playing a dabke dance from the Levantine
region or an odd meter Balkan folk tune, Lamajamal never fails to get the crowd on their
feet taking the listener on a musical journey from the Black Sea to the Nile.
The group formed in 2004 after meeting for late night jam sessions at a local bellydance
store in Chicago. With each member trained in different musical traditions, they chose to
forge these styles to find historical and musical commonalities. Their name is palindrome
for the Arabic word for beauty jamal. The play on words symbolize the use of universal
sounds and syllables found in languages of the world.
Lamajamal has established themselves as a renowned name in the world music market,
playing the 2006-2008 Chicago World Music Fest, the Museum of Contemporary Art,
the Oriental institue at U of C, Chicago Turkish Festival, the Chicago Arabesque Festival,
Chicago Cultural Center, CBS morning news, the Chicago Middle East Music
Ensemble's concert of Ottoman & Turkish Music, Greek Archdiocese Byzantine
Remembrance Ceremony, Xauen music's Chicago Arabesque, local music venues like the
Empty Bottle, the Hideout, Martyrs, and many more. This year the group has been
featured at several private Balkan dance parties, quickly gaining a reputation as one of
the most energetic live gypsy party bands in the city of Chicago.
Lamajamal is a band without borders." -Tony Sarabia Chicago Public Radio
"when they're on, they're on, arriving at a fuzzy, garagey take on Roma music thanks to
a knack for sexy, serpentine grooves and a mean, mean oud player."
- Monica Kendrick Chicago Reader
Lamajamal -- it must be said -- isn't a novelty act. Nor are they taking traditional Gypsy
music and simply updating it. They take folk music from all over the world and they put
their own spin on it. The response for what they have performed and released has been
very encouraging. - Pioneer Press
"So, here's my thumbs-up to Lamajamal for creating a fun and accessible musical
experience that offers the full range of expression from silly to sophisticated. Some of the
tight harmonies and culturally-mixed lines and phrases stopped me cold as I found myself
transported to who-knows-where. The skill and confidence it takes to be that relaxed
playing complex material can only be achieved through much hard effort. What ensemble
work! - Roxane Assaf - Public Relations Chicago Arabesque
Formed in Chicago 2004 by George Lawler-percussion, vocals; Ronnie Malley-oud, guitar, percussion, keyboard, vocals; Joey Spilberg-bass, percussion, vocals; Eve Monzingo-clarinet, alto sax, flute, dulcimer, percussions, vocals; Gary Kalar-guitar, jumbush, banjo, mandolin, percussions.
Eastern music, Egyptian, Tunisian, Moroccan, Algerian, Latin music (afro Cuban, afro Peruvian) Spanish. Miles Davis, Tool, Metallica, Radiohead, Sabath, Skynard, Soweto, Susana Baca, Sugarcubes, Funkadelic, Zepplin, Deep Chicago House, Drum N Bass, Acid, Babatunde Oblajintu. Electronic, classical, rock, jazz, salsa.