Genres You Will Love
Folk: Traditional Folk World: Balkan Moods: A Cappella

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United States - United States United States - Massachusetts

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Christiane Karam


Born and raised in war-torn Beirut, Lebanon, Christiane’s unique vocal style stems from her love for different musical traditions. She is the leader and founder of the award-winning ZilZALA Ensemble, which blends classical, traditional, and folk music from different regions of the Middle East and the Balkans with contemporary jazz. She is also the leader of the acclaimed Pletenitsa Balkan Choir. She has had the privilege of sharing the stage with the likes of Yanka Rupkina, Hüsnü Senlendirici, Javier Limon, the NY Gypsy All-Stars, Ran Blake, Jamey Haddad, the Assad Brothers, Binka Dobreva, Javier Limon and Bobby McFerrin. She has performed at venues & festivals such as Carnegie Hall, Summerstage, Celebrate Brooklyn!, Symphony Space, the Koprivshtitsa Festival, Casa Arabe & the Moscow International House of Music among others. She appeared in the 2009 PBS documentary film "The Music Instinct: Science and Song", featuring Bobby McFerrin, Daniel Levitin, Oliver Sacks, Daniel Barenboim, and Yo-Yo Ma, and has also been featured on VH1.
In addition to performing, Christiane is an award-winning songwriter (the USA Songwriting Competition, SESAC, The John Lennon Songwriting contest, and more recently several nominations by the Independent Music Awards) and film composer. Christiane's latest release, 'Eastern Tapestries', celebrates the different vocal traditions of the Middle East, the Balkans and Central Asia, and ranges from traditional renditions to in the moment contemporary improvisations.

Christiane is also a staunch activist for cultural understanding, tolerance, and non-violent conflict resolution. She was honored by Berklee in 2001 for her “outstanding contribution to international goodwill and understanding” for a multi-national peace concert she produced in the aftermath of 9/11. Currently on the faculty of Berklee College of Music, as an Associate Professor in Voice, Ensemble and Songwriting, she is the founder and leader of the Berklee Annual Middle Eastern Festival, and actively continues her work of bringing awareness and Positive Social Change through music and the arts. Christiane also performs and teaches around the world and is on the faculty of the Omega Institute, as a co-leader of the Circlesongs workshop, alongside Bobby McFerrin and members of Voicestra.


'I'm Alive'- 1st Prize Winner, 2001 USA Songwriting Competition
Recognition Award for Contribution to Goodwill and Understanding, Berklee College of Music, 2001
'Look Up to the Sky- Finalist, 2002 USA Songwriting Competition
'Breathe'- Honorable Mention, 2002 USA Songwriting Competition
SESAC Award, Berklee College of Music, 2003
'Place in the Sun' Finalist, 2003 John Lennon Songwriting Contest
'Look Up to the Sky' Runner Up, 2003 John Lennon Songwriting Contest
'Tell Me a Story', Finalist, 2006 USA Songwriting Competition
ZilZALA, Runner Up, Best world music act, Phoenix Readers Poll
ZilZALA nominated Best world music act, Phoenix Readers Poll, 2007
'Songs of the People', Best traditional album Nominee, 10th Annual Independent Music Awards
'Balkan Dance' (Eastern Tapestries), Best World Beat song Nominee, 14th Annual Independent Music Awards
'Wahda/We Are All One' (Eastern Tapestries), Finalist, International Songwriting Competition


'When Christiane begins to sing, an overwhelming silence takes over the room; it is as though the public is compelled to dedicate their five senses to basking in the voice of this exceptional artist.' -Nuria Medina, Casa Arabe

'Since meeting Christiane Karam, a new musical world has opened for me. She is one of the most important voices in Mediterranean music today. Not only is she a great vocalist and composer but
she also has a very special artistic vision. Her unique approach to combining the many influences
she incorporates in her music and projects will one day be a reference for young artists who strive
to bridge different musical cultures in a meaningful way' - Javier Límon (8 time Latin Grammy Winner)

" Christiane Karam crafts her vocal interpretations with marvelous fluidity. Her performance with the ZilZALA Ensemble is creatively conceived and beautifully executed.”- (about 'Songs of the People'- A. J. Racy, Ph.D, Classical Arabic Music Scholar & master performer)

"East and West collide in the music of the ZiLZALA Middle Eastern Ensemble...This international cast of musicians provide a distinctive flavor and an irresistible rhythm." Luke O'Neil, the Boston Globe

“Christiane has demonstrated to a whole generation in the Boston area, the charm, sophistication and elaborate technique involved in classical Arabic music, and then went on to incorporate it into her own writing. Her projects don’t only make musical sense, but they demonstrate a supreme example of harmony in our mixed global community. She will be remembered for her musical contributions.” Jamey Haddad (master drummer/percussionist-Paul Simon, Simon Shaheen, Dave Liebman) 'Since meeting Christiane Karam, a new musical world has opened forme. She is one of the most important voices in mediterranean musictoday. Not only is she a great vocalist and composer but she also hasa very special artistic vision. Her unique combination of influences that she incorporates in her music and projects is always under the umbrella of beauty and musical excellence. Her Middle Eastern Festival is one of the leading initiatives at Berklee College of Music and her Balkan choir is incredible. Her latest album, 'Eastern Tapestries' will one day be a reference for young artists who strive to connect different musical cultures in a meaningful way'- Javier Limon (7 time Latin Grammy Winner)