Chas Whitaker

This year, the 'Middle Eastern Dance and Drumming' workshops will collaborate daily using a different theme each day. Both the Drumming & Dancing workshops will be accompanied by live music provided by MAZAJ - Russell Harris ( Oud, Rebab & Percussion ) Maren Lueg ( Arabic & Turkish Saxophone and Ney ) Bland Mahdi ( Kamancha, Duduk & Percussion )

All workshops will be “Open To All “ levels so no previous experience necessary and experienced students will be catered for. Students are welcome to attend both workshops to see the connection between the rhythms and dance and there will be opportunities for students to play or dance in the other’s workshop.

All traditional drums and percussion are provided if students do not have their own and there will many high quality instruments and teaching materials available to buy. MAZAJ will be performing on Thursday night ( 9pm ) a perfect opportunity to get acquainted with the team who will be presenting many of the rhythms, music and dances which will be taught in the workshops.

FRIDAY - INTRODUCTION TO ARABIC RHYTHMS - A general introduction to the Drums & Percussion found across the Arab world. We will learn several “even” metered rhythms to accompany songs from Kurdistan, Egypt, Turkey and Iraq.

SATURDAY - UNUSUAL / ODD METERED RHYTHMS - This workshop will look at a range of more unusual and odd metered rhythms. We will learn several “odd” metered rhythms to accompany songs from Turkey, Arab Andalusia and Iraq.

SUNDAY - DRUM SOLO - This workshop will look at a traditional Egyptian style “Drum Solo” based around the popular “Saadi” rhythm and will introduce the traditional structure of playing as a drum orchestra, developing rhythmic variations and the intricate and complex techniques played on the “darabuka” drum.


Chas has been learning, performing and teaching Arabic percussion for around 25 years. The term 'Arabic’ is used in a generic sense to cover a wide area where similar styles, rhythms, technique and drums are found. i.e North Africa, the Middle East, the Arabian Gulf and some Mediterranean countries.

Visits to Morocco, Turkey, Egypt and Israel have been inspirational in learning more about the drums and the cultural background of the music. With his partner Maren Lueg, they have run cultural holidays to Egypt and Turkey introducing students to many musical genres found in these countries. Back in the UK they have shared their knowledge and experiences at their “MidEastFest", a festival celebrating and exploring the traditional music and dance from across the Middle East and North Africa, co-ordinated with Michelle Pender and the members of the MAZAJ band.

Chas is known for his clear, informative and relaxed approach to sharing his knowledge and has played and performed at numerous events across the UK and abroad.

Chas will introduce the correct playing techniques and introduce the commonly found rhythms of the Middle East, across a variety of Arabic percussion instruments, including frame drums, the goblet shaped Darabuka and other various percussion such as Zills ( Finger Cymbals ).

Students are welcome to request special one-to-one tuition if they have specific and / or advanced techniques they wish to cover, and this can be arranged so as to fall outside the regular workshop slots where available.


Year Contributions
2019 Arabic Percussion Workshops & Performance
2018 Arabic Percussion Workshops

Find out more

Follow Chas at