Meet the Band

Wobbly World members are distinguished musicians from around the world who left their country for the American dream, became citizens, and fully embraced the spirit of freedom and American traditions.

We believe in the power of collaboration, unity, and equality and live and breathe it in our daily lives. We are musicians and singers from Cuba, Morocco, Peru, Palestine, Lebanon, Bolivia, Vietnam & the United States.

Freddy Clarke | United States

Guitar – Vocals

I was born in Fresno, California, and my parents separated a year later. When I was five, my mother, Pearl, decided that she wanted a different life for me, so we moved to San Francisco, where her mother and sister lived. When I was 8, she encouraged me to take piano lessons. Then I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, and that was It for me, I was determined to be a professional musician. Pearl was supportive of my dream and bought me a St. George hollow-body electric guitar in a pawn shop for $50. She even took my friends and me to concerts at the Fillmore and Winterland where we got to see stars like Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page. Wow!

More about Freddy

Freddy Clarke

Yenisel Valdes Fuentes | Havana, Cuba

Spanish Vocals

I was born in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, a country rich in music. As a child, I loved to sing. On my first day of school, all the kids stood to sing our national anthem. I closed my eyes and belted it out with all my heart, and when I opened my eyes, I saw my teacher, Oslidia, staring at me in disbelief. She promptly enrolled me in music school, and by the age of 4 I had performed at many provincial festivals. I wish Oslidia could know that because of her excitement and support, I have since received seven Grammy nominations (six Latin and one American) but she passed away when I was a teenager. If only I could thank her for teaching me how to dress, how to behave and get along with others, and most importantly, how to pursue my education to follow my dream.

I graduated from the (EPIA) Provincial School of Arts Instructors in 1990 with a focus on choral conducting, and after a successful audition, was invited to become part of the Sello LA orchestra and the PG Group, formed by the maestro Jose Luis Cortes, director of NG La Banda, which is the 2nd most popular band in Cuba. Attracted to all kinds of music, I fell in love with live performances. I soon figured out that if I went onto the dance floor and improvised while surrounded by fans, it really brought them to life! Together we’d create those moments of joy and ecstasy that only happen when you let yourself go and sing as loud as you can.

One day I got the call that would change my life: Master Juan Formell, director of Los Van Van, one of the most successful bands of all times and the pride of Cuba was calling ME! I assumed he was going to invite me to sing in the chorus, but he said, “I want you to be part of my band.” I was shocked, because there had never been a woman in that band! At first people didn’t approve, they didn’t believe a woman should have that privilege. But Maser Formell wrote special music for me, and they changed their minds. We had several hits, including “Mi Mimi”, “La Costurerea”, “Tu a lo Tuyo y yo a lo Mio”, “Este Amor que se muere”, “Despues de Todo”, “La Keratina”, “La Mujer que quiero ser” and many more.

By now I had a son named Deigo, and while I was on the road with Los Van Van, my family took care of him. Like me, he was a happy child who loved music, and now he plays with NG La Banda!

During a tour in the United States, I met up with Erick Barbaria, a percussionist I’d known in Cuba years ago, who came to a gig to hear me play. Soon, we fell in love. It was heartbreaking to leave Los Van Van, but I was excited to move to the States and begin my new life with Erick. He was a member of Wobbly World, and I was invited to join. I love experiencing all the diverse cultures of music: members of the band come from Vietnam, Lebanon, Morocco, and India. I sometimes smile when I think of that little girl belting out Cuba’s National Anthem. She had no idea her love of music would take her so far!

Colin Douglas | United States


I grew up in New York, and music was always a big part of my childhood, because my dad is a record producer. When I was a kid, he worked with John Lennon, Cheap Trick, Aerosmith and just about everyone I thought was cool. Our garage was filled with instruments of all kinds. Benefits of the business! My sister and I hung out there for hours, pretending to play, or we’d go to his in-home production studio, and pretend to be rock stars recording an album. My school had a good music program, and in the 5th grade, I began to play the drums, especially the snare: just loved the sound and feel of that. Like any music crazed kid, I was in several middle school and high school bands. I attended Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, and Manhattan School of Music, where I developed a love of Jazz. Then I discovered Cuban music and became obsessed!

I decided to move to California, hoping to become a better drummer and see if I could support myself with gigs. Turned out to be the best decision I ever made: I got to play with so many incredible artists like Donna Summer, and Aerosmith, and while I was in the Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet, we were nominated for two Grammys! What a thrill it was, to be sitting in the room with so many of my musical ideals, and hear our name announced!

I have been with Wobbly World for more than 10 years, and what I love most is how everyone comes from a different culture and yet when we come together, we speak one language. I learned early on that the drummer holds it all together, and my contribution to Wobbly World is to keep the music solid. These musicians have come from all over the world, and they all have their own idea on how things should work. And as soon as the music begins, everything falls into place. Like magic!

In the World of Wobbly, no one cares about religion, race, or political preference. We are proof that people can come together in harmony from all different cultures, and create beautiful music and energy. I think that is more important today than ever before. And now that I’m married and have children, I really want to set that example for them… in music and in life!

Georges Lammam | Beirut, Lebanon

Arabic Vocal / Violin

I was born in Beirut Lebanon and grew up with an artistic family: my father was a movie producer in the 1950s in Egypt, my mother (of Greek decent) was a singer, and all of my siblings are musicians or singers. I was just a child when I heard a violin for the first time, and it became embedded in my heart. When I was 16, I started learning how to play, and for two years I was in the national orchestra in Dubai, where I continued to study, and I also played 7 nights a week in nightclubs. After 12 years, I knew it was time for a change. I wanted to expand my knowledge of music and culture, so I came to the US. I have been here for 30 years now, and I love it! The mountains and hills sometimes remind me of my own country.

When I met Freddy at a Wobbly World concert, we instantly became friends, and I was so honored when he invited me to be in the band. I enjoy learning new things, and for me to be able to bring my Arab style of instrumental improvisation and expand it by performing with musicians from other cultures deepens my connection to music.

One of the most interesting times with Wobbly World was when we visited a refugee camp to support refugee families and humanitarians in the refugee camp in Chalkida, Greece in 2016, supporting thousands of people from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan through an organization called Joined Hands, which is organized by Phantom of the Opera star Marcus Lovett. Europe was closing it borders, and people were stuck and had no idea how or where they were going. This tugged on my heart because I grew up in Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, and I wanted desperately to help. It was a thrill to visit and be able to speak to them in my language…their language. We were honored to be able to bring a few hours of happiness to them each day playing our music. Seeing adults and children singing, dancing, and laughing made me truly realize the power of my musical gift, and I feel grateful to be able to share it, and the message of Wobbly World: that people from all around the world can work together. Freddy had a big challenge: to create this level of music by blending all the different cultures. But we made it happen, because we respect one another, and we love having the opportunity to collaborate. When we play, I feel I am serving a bigger purpose in life.

I am also a recording artist, composer, and artistic director for the Georges Lammam Ensemble, and I am a featured artist in other musical groups – Ancient Future, Shabazz, and Pena Pachamama Artists’ Ensemble. I love to travel, and have toured in Bolivia with renowned artists Eddie and Gabriel Navia. My music has enhanced videos from several arts and philanthropic non-profits in support of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and for the past eight years I have featured Arab master artists in my ensembles to support the work of Bright Stars of Bethlehem, a US non-profit that supports Dar al Kalima University for Arts and Culture in Bethlehem, Palestine.

My compositions and performance excerpts are included in scores for two award-winning documentaries: Occupation 101 and Tea on the Axis of Evil, and I recorded a well-known folkloric debke in Aaron Davidman’s 2016 film, Wrestling Jerusalem. My music, including my latest CD, Opus Omnia (2017) is available at iTunes, CDbaby and Amazon. I am also on the faculty at the Mendocino Music and Dance Camp in California.

Bouchaib Abdelhadi | Cassablanca,Morocco

Percussion / Oud / French and Arabic Vocals

I was born in Casablanca, Morocco, the 6th of 9 children. My oldest brother loved Egyptian music and learn to play Oud, a pear-shaped, short-necked fretless instrument. My dad could only afford lessons for one, so when I was 12, my brother started going to the conservatory. Each day he would come home and teach me what he had learned so we could play together – him on the Oud and me on percussion. Occasionally our dad would play with us, which we loved. There was a local band called Nass el Ghiwan, and they were famous, to us they were like the Beatles, and they played MoROCKin music! I decided to start my own band with some friends, secretly because our parents wanted us to focus on school not music. But when we started getting more and more gigs, we became popular and everyone’s parents found out!

I went to university to study music, and learned how to play violin. One of my greatest moments was when my band played for the Princess’s wedding. After graduation I got a job in a textile company, and continued playing at weddings and private parties and other events all throughout Morocco.

In 1989 I decided to visit the U.S., so I came to San Francisco – just in time for the big earthquake! I loved the scene, and in the 1990s I went back, this time to stay. I was happy to discover how many bands wanted my skills as a multi-instrumentalist (dombek, oud, violin) and vocalist of Middle Eastern and North African traditions (I sing in both French and Arabic), and invited me to tour with them. Some of my career highlights include a 2002 collaboration with Pharoah Sanders on music for Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet Company, recording for Omar Sosa’s CD (SENTIR), and performing with Stephen Kent and Trance Mission on critically acclaimed performances at the 1998 San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. In 2003, I composed and performed “Heart Song” for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, and played with Carlos Santana at Stern Grove in San Francisco. I have worked with artists from such diverse music traditions as Klezmer, Hindustani, jazz, and rock.

I met Freddy Clarke in 2004, and he asked me to join Wobbly World. Our first gig was at Pacha Mama in North Beach, and I loved it! I am proud to say I am one of the original members of the band. With musicians representing cultures from all over the world, the band constantly challenges me to blend in and balance my music with so many other cultures. Freddy, who is amazing on flamenco guitar, is a great conductor who knows how to calm our egos while bringing out the best in each and every one of us. We have such a collaborative approach to music that when a new member joins us, they are surprised and maybe even a little intimidated by the complexity. I tell them: Open your heart and let go!

Ernesto Mazar Kindelán | Havana,Cuba
Bass / Vocals

I am from Santiago de Cuba. When I was young, my grandmother noticed my passion for music, and signed me up for music school. She had no idea how her actions that day would shape and benefit my life, and whenever I complained how hard it was, she would say “Hard work pays off,” to keep me going.

In 2006 I began performing with Grammy-nominated Charanga Habanera while studying at the prestigious Instituto Nacional de Arte in Havana. When I graduated with a degree in Classical Double Bass and Performance and Teaching, our band played a legendary concert at my senior recital, to the envy of my classmates! From there it was like a dream come true… and a lot more “hard work”, touring internationally, contributing arrangements, and recording albums with Charanga Habanera for 8 years. I was gaining recognition as one of the best young bassists in Cuba and thought “hard work” was paying off. But then love for a woman brought me to the U.S. We married and now have 2 sons who are the light of my life.

Since I had toured so much in the US, I was known, and offered gigs. I was honored to perform with fellow bass great Kai Eckhardt, Bobi Céspedes, Jesus Diaz y su QBA, Pedrito Martinez, La India, David Sanchez, Karl Perazzo, Rebeca Mauleón, Chucho Valdés, Omar Sosa, Meklit Hadero , and Cubanismo and to be  a disciple of Feliciano Arango, Juan Formell, John Patitucci, and Dave Holland.

I began thinking of my legacy, my gift of music, and my contribution to mankind and dedicated to teach. I began teaching at Bullis Charter School in Los Altos, then at Mount Diablo Unified School District. I reflect on my childhood and hope to be a good influence in their lives. In addition to teaching music, I share with students the lesson that if you dream of success, you must have a plan, and that plan will involve “hard work!”  My grandmother was right!

Erick Barberia | Havana, Cuba

Spanish and Yoruba Vocals / Congas

I grew up in Havana, Cuba, in a life filled with music and dance. My father, Luis Barberia, taught music at Escuela Nacional de Artes, and for many years he has been a singer in Jorrin Creators of Rhythm Cha Cha Cha, a popular orchestra. He was and is one of my biggest inspirations.

I graduated from the Escuela Nacional de Artes (ENA) in Havana, and performed professionally in the Artistic Community Company, Korimakao, as a dancer, drummer, and actor. Working with other musicians in Cuba taught me a lot about expressive dancing, melodious vocals, and improvisational skills, and I love the contagious energy of traditional carnivals, festivals, and rumba in the streets of Cuba. Like my father, I taught dancing, singing and Afro-Cuban percussion in both the ENA and the Escuela Internacional de las Artes (CENCEA) in Havana, Cuba.

When I came to the U.S. I did not speak any English, and only played with Cuban musicians. But when I attended concerts and shows, I found myself attracted to other forms of music, too, so I made it a goal to meet and play with American musicians. Then I met Freddy Clarke, and my life changed. He invited me to play with Wobbly World, giving me the opportunity not only to meet musicians from all over the world — Lebanon, Palestine, Morocco, Vietnam, Netherlands, Bulgaria, and Iran – but to play with them, too. It’s really hard to express how incredible it feels to be on stage with such diverse cultures and musical viewpoints. It gave me a much deeper understanding of the world and of world music through my band mates, and we have a very close bond and have a lot of fun on stage!

I am blessed to have had the pleasure of playing and recording music with many musical greats, including El gran Sonero Fito Reinoso y su Ritmo y Harmonia (CD: Comunicacion), Master guitarist Freddy Clarke and his Wobbly World (CD: Wobbly World), Bass Player Victor Little (CD: Inner Portrait), Master Percussionist John Santos (CD: La Guerra No and La Esperanza), Latin Jazz Master Art Jackson (CD: Under Ground Master Piece), P23, Former percussionist of the group Afrocuban de Matanzas Sandy Perez (CD: De aqui A Matanzas), Master flautist John Calloway (CD: Asere Ko), Lazaro Pedroso (Ogun Tola) scholar of the song and elder of the Yoruba-Lukumí tradition in Havana Cuba (CD: Obegdi and Egun). In 2006, my brother Dreiser Durruthy and I went back to Cuba and had the honor to record with the great Chucho Valdes, creator of Irakere, and his sister, Mayra Caridad Valdes (CD: Obatala produced by Colibri Records).

I am a very spiritual person, and was crowned Omo Eleggua, Awo Orunmila, and Olubata. I come from the Afro-Cuban Yoruba family of the highly respected and wise Babalawo Papo Angarica Oshelogbe (Awo Ifanire), son of the late Chief Nicolas Valentín Angarica (Oba Tola). I am Omo Ala Aña, (Son of the Drums secrets) consecrated in the tambor Bata Fundamento (Aña Bi) on one of the oldest sets of Tambores Bata (Bata drums) that exists today in Cuba.
I am married to the love of my life, Yeni Valdez Fuentes, who spent 16 years with Los Van Van in Cuba before becoming a member of Wobbly World. We love playing, recording, and composing music together. I have two daughters. Watching them grow and learn brings us such joy. Our hope is that they one day have the desire to embrace the music and dance of Cuba and the rich culture it offers.

Several years ago, I traveled with Wobbly World to play for the people of Greece and the refugees in the camps in Chalkidas. I was greatly inspired by that trip, and deeply moved by the bravery of the refugees. Some had lost their children or were forced to leave them behind. It made me realize how lucky I am to live in the United States with the safety and freedom we have here. The moment I got home, I hugged my daughter and cried with gratitude.

Besides performing, I teach Afro-Cuban Salsa class in local dance studios, give private classes, and lead workshops in middle schools, high schools, and universities. What I love most is taking my dancers on a journey exploring Cuban dance from its diverse roots of Son, Rumba, and its heavy African influences, all the way to its present-day incarnation of Timba. By exposing them to the diverse movements of Cuban popular rhythms, I help push them to the next level of expression.

Nhut Bui | Saigon, Vietnam

Dan Bau (Traditional One-Stringed Instrument)

When I was growing up in Saigon, my father was a musician who passed his love of music down to me, but unfortunately, he could not follow this path because he had a family to support, so he worked as a postmaster after graduating from the poly technical school in France. One night he brought a mandolin home for my sister, but I grabbed it and wouldn’t stop playing. My mother, a law school professor, decided I should learn guitar and dan bau, a traditional Vietnamese instrument whose single string is stretched over a long box and attaches to a tuning peg at one end, and a flexible rod (which holds a resonating gourd) at the other. The sound of a dan bau, it is said, “finds its way into the secret places of the soul.” Soon I started a band of my own.

In 1975 our lives were turned upside down when the communists took over. My dad was sent to a concentration camp, and at age 8 I came to the United States as a refugee. I was fortunate to be able to travel by plane because many of those who went by boat did not make it.

We moved to San Francisco, and life in a new country was not easy at first – everything was so different. Then I saw an ad for a band that was looking for traditional Vietnamese musicians, and I auditioned. They hired me, and suddenly I was in demand because I was the only person in the Bay Area who played the dan bau. I recorded with an American group in 1993 and the CD sold worldwide. Hearing it on the radio was always exciting!

I met Freddy Clarke at a party in 2001. At that time, I was playing with Matthew Montfort’s group, Ancient Future. Freddy was just starting to create a band that would feature musicians from all over the world, and invited me to join. I am so honored to say that I was one of the first members of Wobbly World! The experience has opened my mind and given me the opportunity to play so many different types of music, which helps me explore, experiment, and grow.

In 2016 I traveled to Greece with Wobbly World to play for the Syrian and Afghanistan refugees, and it was such a powerful experience for me: as a kid, I’d been a refugee too. So, I knew how much it meant to them to feel like someone cared for them and wanted to make them happy, even if for only a little while. Music, as we all know, is the universal language that touches your heart. The mission of Wobbly World is to bring music to the world, particularly to people who need it most, and to show that music never discriminates: the members of Wobbly World we are from all over, and we all get along. It’s important that people see that and understand that it’s possible.

Almost every day I think of my dad and that day he brought home that mandolin, and I am so grateful that I became the musician he always wanted to be.

Cole McLean | San Diego, USA

Rapper / Percussion

Cole McLean is an up-and-coming rapper/poet from San Francisco, California, who has written and developed his talent for seven years and grown exponentially as an artist throughout this time. Cole’s transition from rapping over traditional hip-hop rhythms to the world music scene has broken new ground and made his music more interesting and exciting. His growth demonstrates his focus on making music above people’s expectations and challenging what they are accustomed to.

Cole is inspired to broaden his horizons and discover new ways to rap over any kind of music. His goal is to connect modern poetry (rap) with the music, issues, and soul of hip-hop to fuse them into the different cultures of the world in hopes of changing people’s perspectives on rap.

Eddy Navia | Potosi, Bolivia


I was born in Potosí, Bolivia where the charango, the main instrument that I play, was also born. When I was in high school, I formed the first rock band in Potosí at a time when people there had never seen or heard an electric guitar. I also played lead guitar and later keyboard with another band called X-5, in Sucre, the capital of Bolivia.

The oldest of 7 children, I come from a long line of lawyers, beginning with my great great great grandfather, who was Chief Justice of Bolivia. There is a bronze statue inside the Supreme Court and his face is on the 20$ Boliviano currency. So, my parents planned on me being a lawyer, too. I studied law in Bolivia, but then universities there were closed for two years due to students protests, so I went to Argentina to try to continue my studies. Instead, I found myself pursuing my bohemian life as a musician. I began performing in Argentina with a friend, on charango and guitar, first Bolivian folk, then I introduced the classical music of Mozart, Bach and other great composers on the charango.

I returned to Bolivia and once again started a “first” – no one there had ever heard classical music on the charango. Soon we were offered a recording contract from one of Bolivia’s prominent labels, and our album, Eddy Navia / Gerardo Arias, became a best seller throughout the country.

I formed my first professional folkloric ensemble, Savia Andina, and we recorded 35 albums that featured many of my own compositions. We were considered the No.1 band of Bolivia, with three of our recordings going gold on the South American charts. How honored we were to be named the ambassadors of Bolivian folklore, and we toured the world: Paris, Japan, Russia, Tahiti, North and South America, and Australia.

I met my wife Quentin, an ethnomusicologist, when she saw our group perform live in Sucre in 1976. She tells the story better than me:

I had been travelling through the Andes for 15 months, then returned to Montreal, where I had formed my own band, SUKAY. I moved the group to San Francisco in the late seventies, and we toured for 14 years. In 1989 I was excited to be seeing Savia Andina at the Herbst Theater. Eddy was my hero, and his band was the best in Bolivia. A newscaster at the event who knew SUKAY saw me in the audience and invited me backstage. I said “Hi” to everyone in his group except Eddy, who was surrounded by beautiful women, including Miss Bolivia. I thought, this guy doesn’t need another “Hi,” he has more attention than he needs! But later I saw him coming down from the dressing room, charango in hand. I said “Hi” and he married me.

Soon I became SUKAY’s Artistic Director, and co-founded SUKAY’s label. We recorded 27 albums, and SUKAY has appeared on hundreds of the greatest stages; New York’s Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater, San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre and The Masonic Auditorium, Washington DC’s Lisner Auditorium, Smithsonian’s Baird Auditorium, Bushnell Performing Arts Center, Hartford, Banff Center Theatre, Alberta,Canada, Spivey Hall, GA, Detroit Institute for the Arts, Arizona’s Roy Disney Center for Performing Arts and Centennial Hall, Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary, Wilder Hall Oberlin College, OH, Live Oak Theatre, Austin, Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley CA, Scottsdale Center for the Arts, AZ, Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater, NY, Obert C.Tanner Amphitheater, Zion National Park, UT and Colisée in Quebec City (opening for Peter Gabriel and Genesis). The group also appeared at major festivals in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, at Pete Seeger’s Clearwater Festival and countless other venues.

Our son Gabriel toured with us in SUKAY when he was 10, and continued performing with us for over a decade. He attended San Francisco School of the Arts, and plays Latin, Cuban, Jazz, Middle Eastern and Flamenco guitar with several professional groups. Our daughter became a doctor in Bolivia, and now lives in the Bay Area with her husband.

I was honored with many awards as a composer and musician, a Lifetime Achievement Award in Bolivia, and I two Latin Grammy nominations — the only Bolivian ever nominated for a Grammy!

In the late 1990s Quentin and we opened our own intimate performance space, Peña Pachamama, to showcase great world musicians, dancers, artists and creative people in North Beach, San Francisco.

Erick Peralta | Lima, Peru

My mom was a nanny in Peru and my dad was studying to be a doctor, but they dropped everything to move, while she was pregnant, so that I could be born in the U.S. Growing up in San Francisco, my three sisters and I were exposed to Afro Cuban, Latin ballads, American Pop music, as well as our native Afro Peruvian music through my dad, who was taught by his uncle. When I was little, I would sit on his lap while he played piano, bass, and guitar, watching his hands and learning what he did. Since he never had a formal musical education, he was determined that I would, and enrolled me in a music class. I loved it, and was a quick learner, and on the first day the teacher told my dad that I was already ready for formal piano lessons. My three sisters are all musical too, and to this day, all family get togethers end with us all playing.

My dad had a Latin band in the Bay Area called Orquesta Bahia, and invited me to join when I was only 14. By 15, I was gigging around town with him. Soon, other groups were calling him to ask permission for me to play with them. I went to USF thinking maybe I would become a doctor, but soon I decided that wasn’t what I wanted to do. So, I applied for a received a scholarship to the Berkeley School of Music in Boston.  What an incredible experience! After graduation I set my sights on New York. I felt if you could make it there you could go anywhere! Sure enough, I met the right people and had the opportunity to play out. My highlight New York moment was playing piano for Pedrito Martinez, a brilliant Latin percussionist who really pushed me and kicked my ass: he was strict and very specific as to what he needed from me.  You had to get it or get out, and I got it!!!

I’ve also had the honor of working with multi-Grammy winners Alejandro Sanz, Luis Enrique, and Susana Baca, as well as Pedrito Martinez, John Santos, Calixto Oviedo, Karl Perazzo, Juan Medrano “Cotito”, Tito Nieves, La India, Bayonics, Grupo 5, and many more. I’ve performed in many festivals and venues, including the Latin Grammy Awards, The Fillmore, the Blue Note Napa, the Independent, San Jose Jazz Festival, The Regency Ball Room, Boston Convention Center, and the Beantown Jazz Festival.

My piano teacher told me when I was 13 that if you want to excel and be successful as a musician, you must be diverse and versatile, and I am so grateful for all my experience, because it got me ready for Wobbly World. Exploding with diversity and versatility, my band mates challenge me to bring it all — pop, jazz, reggae, rock, and classical. One day I hope to find my teacher and thank him for that insight, and I’d like to invite him to experience Wobbly World. It would blow his mind!

In 2020, New York was hit hard. My dad requested I come home and be with family until Covid passed so I did. I returned to my position with Community Center of SF teaching music, in addition to giving private lessons. I learned about balancing work and life during Covid: gigging so many nights a week is exhausting and addictive. The break was good for me to regroup and rethink my life and my music. Now I live my day to day doing what I love!

Khader Keile | Irbid, Jordan

Middle Eastern Keyboard

I was born in Palestine, the youngest of 5, and raised in Jordan. My father saw how much I loved music, and when I was 13, he went to Russia to have eye surgery. He came home with a surprise for me: a violin! He said he wanted to see me play before he lost his vision. I practiced whenever I could, and even after he could no longer see, he’d sit and listen. After he passed away, I decided I would rather play the keyboard, so I threw myself into learning; I wanted to honor him by being the best I could be. To my delight, I was able to get more and more jobs playing, and made money.

When my sister got married, she moved to the U.S. and filed paperwork for the rest of the family so that we could move too. Everyone’s papers were approved except mine – apparently, mine were filed in conjunction with my father’s, and once he passed away my file was invalid. I had to wait 7 years before I could join them, and in that time I was miserable and lonely. Music is the only thing that kept me going, and I worked harder than ever.

When I was finally allowed to go to the US, I had to sell everything to buy my ticket… including my keyboard. I didn’t know how I would be able to buy another one but was excited to be back with my family. I took on various construction jobs, working 15 hours a day for months, and finally had enough money to buy a keyboard. So, I went to Guitar Center, and met a man there, and guess what? He was looking for a keyboard player who knew Arabic music! What a life changing moment! Through him I met so many people in the business, and suddenly I was playing gigs every night. I met Georges Lammam and he invited me to join his Georges Lammam Ensemble in the Bay Area for Arab cultural events like the Berkeley World Music Festival, Mendocino Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp, the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, and Cassandra Shore’s Jawaahir dance theatre productions in Minneapolis. I had the honor of accompanying lots of Arab celebrities when they performed in the U.S., like Hakim of Egypt, Noor Mahanna of Syria, Fadel Shaker and Assi Hellani of Lebanon.

Through George I met Freddy Clarke, and I was so excited when he invited me to play with Wobbly World. All this time I’d only been playing Arabic music, and suddenly, there I was, playing side by side with Cuban, American, Asian, Bulgarian, and Peruvian musicians. Not one on one, but all at the same time! My musical capabilities exploded! I love the comradery, the friendships, the diversity, the challenge, and that each band member gives their all. It’s what makes being in Wobbly World so much fun while we create one-of-a-kind true world music.

Sometimes I get the feeling that my dad looks down, sees what I am doing, and is glad he bought me that violin!

Charles Mosell | New Jersey, USA

Wind Instruments / Beat Box Vocal

I have been playing music since I was five years old. I play piano, saxophone, flute, clarinet, Indian Flute (bansurai), Japanese Flute (shakuhachi), shenai, percussion, and sing in a number of styles including beat-boxing, Tibetan singing, Mongolian singing, jazz scat, and rock.

I attended California Institute of the Arts to major in instrumental performance (South Indian flute and saxophone) and composition. After graduation, I worked as a Music Therapist in mental health facilities hospitals, prisons, and juvenile halls, with ongoing therapy for outpatients and ex-cons after they returned to their communities in Oakland, Richmond, and San Francisco. It has been an honor to help so many at-risk people get in touch with their creativity by showing them that music has the power to still our thoughts and lead us to an awareness of the deeply-profound, mystical presence that is our true nature. When the “rational mind” has been tamed, inspiration and guidance arise, and people can realize their uniquely-inspired visions, particularly in the area of song writing, beatboxing, music composition, and theatrical presentations.

This knowledge came to me as a result of studying and opening up to world music cultures, and that’s why being part of Wobbly World has been so gratifying and exciting. One of my favorite memories is the time we traveled to Greece to play for the refugees in the Serian camps. I was so moved by this work that I returned to Greece within a year to continue my philanthropic endeavor. I really enjoy playing with Wobbly World. It blows my mind how creative and diverse these band members are and how well we are able to work together and get along.

I have also had the opportunity to compose for numerous dance companies, TV commercials, films, many Jazz, rock, Funk, Hip Hop, and World Music albums, theater, etc., and perform for hundreds of audiences and such dignitaries as Presidents Clinton, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, the Supreme Court, and Obama. I have performed with popular artists such as Sly and the Family Stone, Robin Williams, Stan Getz, Bobby McFerrin, Devo, Stanley Clark, and hundreds of other great musicians and entertainers.

Arun Saigal

Arun Saigal | Bombay, India

Beatboxing / Mridangam