Tim Rayborn is a notable American-born musician and singer who has accomplished himself in the music of the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia, Turkey, Iran, and the Balkans. His musical interests began with medieval music, and he studied harpsichord at the Dominican College of San Rafael. He began studying music at the age of seven, when he first learned to play the guitar. From there it was on to heavy metal and then (logically enough) early music, which has been one of his main loves since the mid-80s.
He began studying music at the age of seven, when he first learned to play the guitar. From there it was on to heavy metal and then (logically enough) early music, which has been one of his main loves since the mid-80s. He studied harpsichord at Dominican College of San Rafael, California, and developed an interest in music written prior to the year 1400. He later cultivated a passion for traditional music from North Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, and India.
He has devoted much of his musical activities over the past eleven years to the study and performance of these styles, both in America and Europe. He has studied medieval music and improvisation with Shira Kammen, and Arabic percussion with Peter Maund. Tim himself has taught a number of early music workshops in Europe for harp and medieval/Arabic percussion, and they even paid him for it!
As well as singing, he plays numerous Occidental and Oriental
musical instruments, including:
* Various plucked strings (medieval harp, medieval psaltery, Arabic qanun, Iranian santur, Egyptian simsimiyya, Anglo-Saxon lyre, Hebrew kinnor, Ethiopian krar, Finnish Kantele, Welsh crwth, West African donso ngoni)
* Several types of lute (Arabic 'ud, Turkish saz and lauta, Syrian buzuq, Moroccan Berber gimbri and lotar, Iranian seht?r and tar, Uzbek dutar, Central Asian donbula, Ukranian kobza, Afghan rob?b, Indian sitar)
* Bowed strings (Egyptian and Syrian rababa, Serbian gusle, Afghan ghichak)
* Flutes (Bulgarian dvoyanka, troyanka, and frula, Balkan diple and kaval, Indian bansuri, Egyptian ney, Turkish sipsi, medieval recorder, bamboo flute, Indonesian suling).
He also plays a number of unusually-named Middle Eastern percussion instruments including (deep breath!): tar, riqq, deff, muzhar, doumbek, bendir, zarb, daf, doira, naqqarat, pandeiro, tamboura, and davul.
These instruments are detailed on the Instruments page, along with
various others that he's been caught playing from time to time.
Though raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Tim lived in England between 1992 and 1999, pursuing academic research and working in the fields of early and traditional music. He also got rained on a lot.
He has toured and performed throughout Europe at several major early music festivals, including Beverley and York, as well as with traditional musicians in Marrakech, Morocco and Istanbul, Turkey. He has been invited to collaborate with classical Persian musicians in Iran.
His performances and recordings have been featured regularly on BBC radio in the UK and in Jersey. He has appeared on Belgian Radio 3 in a live concert broadcast, as well as in Majorca, where he didn't get rained on.
Tim has recorded for the prestigious ASV/Gaudeamus label in London with his group, Ensemble Florata, who produced two CDs, including the best-selling Far Away Lands - The Medieval Sephardic Heritage. His third ASV CD was in collaboration with Shira Kammen, The Cloister and the Sparrowhawk - Songs of the Monk of Montaudon, which received widespread critical acclaim.
In addition, he has recorded with Tintagel, an acclaimed London-based medieval group, with whom he also toured Europe and the Pacific Northwest. He has performed with Stevie Wishart and Vivien Ellis of Sinfonye.
He has worked with vocalist Alisa Fineman on a recording with acclaimed Grammy-nominated acoustic guitarist Alex De Grassi.
He is also working with musician and composer Jeremiah Soto, creator of Solace,
new Middle Eastern dance music, in a group performing the music of Solace live. The group recently toured the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. and Canada. Plans are in the works for tours of Australia and New Zealand, as well as Europe, next year.
Tim performs with Shuvani, a music and dance group dedicated to performing the authentic music and dance of the Roma (erroneously referred to as "gypsies"), in a program devoted to Romani music from Rajasthan, Turkey, Russia, and Spain.
He has recently performed with axcclaimed Celtic harpist Patrick Ball, and
Shira Kammen, in a program of story and music retelling the famed medieval legend of Tristan and Isolde. Furture performances of this program are planned.
Tim holds an M.A. in Medieval Studies and a highly-useful Ph.D. on the subject of Christian/Islamic relations during the period of the early crusades, both from the University of Leeds, England.
He has written academic articles on crusade songs and religious chant (the latter for Gregorian Chant: Songs of the Spirit, the best-selling KQED book to accompany the PBS television program in 1996), and his doctoral thesis is due to be published at some point, if he can muster the courage to revise it.
He is currently working on a number of solo projects and CDs, in addition to collaborations with others.