Ali Keeler was born in London in 1973 and started learning the violin at the age of seven. During his youth, he played in several orchestras. In 1991, he went on to study classical violin at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where he gained experience playing in a string quartet. He moved to Damascus in Syria in 1998. During his time in Syria, he learnt to sing within the tradition of the maqam in the zawiyas of Damascus and Aleppo, receiving instruction in singing from the well-known munshid Ustadh Mustapha Karim. Applying his musical experience within the Arabic tradition to the violin, he has developed a varied repertoire of Celtic, Arabic, Andalusi and Turkish pieces. In 2006, he moved to Granada and in 2007 helped form the group Al Kauthar. He contributed within the group as the lead singer, violinist, arranger and composer, performing in concerts and festivals in Europe, Turkey and Morocco.

In 2012 he founded the group Al Firdaus Ensemble, with whom he has performed in numerous concerts and festivals in Europe, the US, Morocco and Tunisia.

His recordings include:

Violin solos in two of the albums of the British band Archive, Londinium (1996), and Take my Head (1999), both released with Island Records.

The CD, Ruh, with the group Al Kauthar, released in 2008, in which he contributed as violinist, leading vocalist, composer and arranger, also released in Turkey.

The CD, Safa, with Al Firdaus Ensemble, released in 2014, in which he contributed as violinist, vocalist composer, arranger and co-producer.

ALI KEELERSolo voice and violin
YUSUF MEZGHILDIQanun, lute and voice choir.
OMAR BENLAMLIHPercussion (bendir and darbuka) and lead vocal.


Al Firdaus Ensemble based in Granada was founded in 2012 by the English violinist and singer Ali Keeler and includes musicians from England, Spain and Morocco.

The group takes its inspiration from the word Firdaus, which is the Arabic name, of Persian origin, for the most elevated abode in Paradise.  The intercultural nature of this name reflects the character of the group in which musicians from different countries and cultural backgrounds are brought together with one purpose.

Just as the musicians tune their instruments, so they need to tune their hearts to receive the inspiration of the moment and transmit that to the audience. The traditional Arabic term for this kind of music is sama` which could be translated as “the art of listening”


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