Residing in both India and Israel, Shye Ben Tzur is an Israeli singer and musician who composes qawwalis in Hebrew, Urdu, and Hindi, combining Sufi devotional music with Western elements.
Born in New York City, Ben Tzur became interested in Indian music after seeing Indian classical musicians Hariprasad Chaurasia and Zakir Hussain perform in Jerusalem. He traveled to India and began studying Indian classical music, and eventually began to compose qawwali music in his native language, Hebrew. He regularly collaborates with Rajasthan folk musicians, and has worked with famous musicians such as Indian singer Shubha Mudgal, Spanish guitarist Fernando Perez, Israeli percussionist Zohar Fresco, and others. A devoted film enthusiast, he has produced and directed music videos and short films, and composed music for visual media. Also a poet, Ben Tzur's first collection of poetry, Souls Expressions, was published in Israel in 1999. His debut album, Heeyam, was recorded in India, Israel, and the United States of America, and was released in 2003. Ben Tzur performed at Jahan-e-Khusrau, an annual Sufi music festival that takes place in New Delhi, in 2004. His second album, Shoshan, was released in 2010. More stylistically diverse than his debut, the album received acclaim from several Indian and world music publications. In 2015, Ben Tzur recorded music at the Mehrangarh Fort in the state of Rajasthan, India, along with British guitarist/composer Jonny Greenwood (of Radiohead), producer Nigel Godrich, and a group of Indian musicians dubbed the Rajasthan Express. The recording session was filmed by director Paul Thomas Anderson and released as a film titled Junun, and an album of the same name was released by Nonesuch. ~ Paul Simpson, Rovi