ARTISTS' BIOGRAPHIES

MARYAM YUSEFZADEH
Yusefzadeh received her early training in Iran, at the Tehran School of Music, from such Music Masters as Mohamad Esmaili, and Esmail Tehrani. Upon immigrating to the United States as a student, she received a BFA from the University of Minnesota in Art, Music and Dance Performance. She furthered her musical studies in jazz with Roberta Davis. She has also continued her vocal technique training with Nancy Grauff since 1979.

Yusefzadeh is actively involved with Persian music as a vocalist and educator at several area institutions. In her native Iran she performed with the Tehran Zarb Orchestra. Recently co-created the music for the cultural play "Sohrab and Rustam" one of 2002's top 10 theatrical performance and recipient of Jerome Foundation Grant in 2001 with playwright Zarawar Mistry and percussionist Tim O'Keefe. Yusefzadeh is one of the co-founders of Minnesota Global Arts, Inc. aimed to link and promote MN performing artists focused on Near East music and dance forms. She also has several jazz performances to her credit including stints as soloist with Cedar Walton Trio, founder of the vocal jazz quintet Solfege, and soloist with the Love Ensemble under the direction of Roberta Davis

TIM O'KEEFE
O'Keefe is widely renown as one of the top percussionist in the Twin Cities ethnic music community with over 25 years of experience. He has an extensive background in hand drum and music styles and techniques including Persian, Brazilian, and Arabic among others. In addition to being a founding member of "Robayat" O'Keefe has appeared with several international performing artists, including: Sussan, Simon Shaheen, Sivan Perwar, Zeinab Shaath, Bob Dylan, Astrid Gilberto, Eddie Brickell & the New Bohemians Milton Cardona, and Mazinho. Currently O'Keefe performs Iranian, Kurdish, Turkish, Moroccan, Arabic, Greek and Latin music. O'Keefe recently created the music for the local theater production of "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" and co-created music for the play "Sohrab and Rustam", recipient of Jerome Foundation Grant in 2001.

DAVID STENSHOEL
For the past 25 years, Stenshoel has been playing violin, saxophone and mandolin in various Twin Cities ensembles ranging from the eclectic folk-angst of Boiled in Lead, to Western Swing with the Radio Rangers, to traditional Eastern European with the Ethnic Dance Theatre to the experimental jazz improvisations of Imp Ork. Stenshoel has performed extensively throughout the Midwest at venues from Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis to the Winnipeg Folk Festival, and was recipient of the Minnesota Music Awards "Best Ethnic Violin Performer" award in 1988.

DAVID BURK
Well-known in the Twin Cities as a performer of many ethnic styles, Burk frequently performs on Middle Eastern instruments such as oud and saz, as well as guitar and bass. He first began studying Middle Eastern stringed instruments in 1993 with master oud performer and luthier Benny Antoum in the Persian Gulf country of Qatar. Joining Robayat in early 1998, he has previously performed and/or recorded with various ensembles throughout North America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe, including Shalita, The Georges Lamman Arabic Orchestra, Voices of Sepharad, Sattar, Shangoya, Out of Africa, and Amandla. In 2001, he was awarded a Jerome Travel and Study grant to attend the Arabic Music Retreat at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts, where he studied with Simon Shaheen.