The darbeki player in this clip is a very youthful looking Rony Barrak. Born in Lebanon, Rony Barrak made his first TV performance at the age of seven and by the time he was seventeen he’d won a Gold Medal in a tv competition for young musicians in the Middle East on the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC). He moved to London in 1990 to study at the Guildhall School of Music and later taught Middle Eastern percussion at the Trinity College of Music. He’s also played with the late Setrak Sarkissian.
Lebanese-Armenian drummer Setrak Sarkissian is a legend in Arabic music. Born in Beirut, Lebanon and still resident there, Setrak had to overcome family resistance to have a career in music. When he was young, his family even went so far as to break his drum!
Setrak has played tabla for many of the most famous singers and bellydancers in the Middle East including singers Warda, Sabah and Samira Tawfik and bellydancers Taheya Karioka, Nadia Gamal and Ranine plus so many others. This clip is a rarity as it showcases Setrak himself. Many Western dancers would know Setrak from his music cds and if you’re a bellydancer you’ve probably, knowingly or not, danced to Setrak’s music..
In 2009 Setrak was awarded the St. Mesrob Mashtots medal by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia.
In case you’re interested, the medal Setrak received is named after St. Mesrob Mashtots who’s credited with having invented the Armenian alphabet.