Rami M. El-Aasser

Photo of Rami M. El-Aasser

Cook and Co-Director of the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble

Driscoll Dining Hall


B.S. Northwestern University (1997)
M.A. New York University (2010)

Rami El-Aasser is co-director of the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble at Williams. He plays traditional percussion (darbuka, riq, deff) and sings worldwide with groups including Alsarah & the Nubatones, and Zikrayat. Currently based in North Adams, MA with musical roots in Brooklyn and Egypt, his repertoire includes classical and folk traditions from the Arab World, Greece, Balkans, Turkey, East and North Africa.

Rami’s grooves also can be found on many recordings, soundtracks, and live theatre productions, including playing on The Band’s Visit on Broadway. Rami composes and records the traditional percussion sections in tracks, playing tabla aka darbuka, riq, deff, clay tiblas, djembe, toumbak, and sagat.  He was a regular at NYC’s taraab and dance parties with traditional musicians from across the Middle East, and also performs for theater and studio.
 He has recenty started playing Oud, and can also be found in the kitchen.

The Nubatones, co-founded with singer Alsarah in Brooklyn the late 2000’s, has toured the world to over 40 countries playing East African Retro Pop at festivals and cultural venues including Glastonbury, Roskilde, Womadelaide, SxSW, Oslo World Music, Ozora, Transmusicales.  Alsarah & the Nubatones have released two albums with a third in the pipeline.

Rami has a BSSP from Northwestern University (1997) and a MA from New York University Gallatin School (2010)