The name Dünya Divani comes from the Turkish language - "dunya" meaning world, and "divani" being an old word which translates roughly to unification or celebration, so together we have "world unity" or "world celebration".
In keeping with the name we play music from throughout the near eastern world, including songs from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Greece, Iran, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Spain and Turkey.
It is our belief that the love of music is a common thread that unites all peoples of the world. We hope that by bringing this music to people of other cultures, we are doing our small part to help people of all cultures to co-exist together in harmony and understanding.
The band has two permanent members, Marc & Kylie, and varying other members depending on the location and event.
The permanent members of Dünya Divani are:
Kylie Faint - kanun and vocals
Marc Cornelius - baglama, oud, ney and vocals
Current Special Guests include:
Meagan Chandler (aka Leila) vocals
James Messerich - Percussion
Former members of Dünya Divani:
Bahadir Özus - darabukka
Rod Basler - violin, darabukka
Chrissy Jessee - darabukka, def, riqq
Jim Miller - darabukka, def, riqq
Despite growing up in a musical family, Kylie grew up focused on dance rather than music. She only discovered the joys of making music after completing university, when she taught herself to play bass guitar, and joined an alternative/punk band called "Space Bunny", in which she played bass and screeched like a banshee. After a year or so of this she diversified and joined a melodic folk trio with two other girls, and had a brief foray into the realm of electronic "techno" music.
After leaving her home country of Australia and moving to California to work as a computer applications consultant, Kylie joined Tribe Roman Morga - a music & dance group performing at Renaissance faires in Southern California, and discovered Middle Eastern music and dance. With the tribe she learned to play the doumbek, and became interested in learning more about Middle Eastern music.
In September 1998, Kylie bought a Persian Santur, and was fortunate in finding an excellant teacher at the International Music School in Santa Ana. Her teacher Mrs Soheila Nariman - studied santur from a young age, and graduated at the Conservatory of Music in Tehran.
In August 1999, she began playing kanun, at the Mendocino Middle Eastern Music and Dance camp, studying under Mimi Spencer.
Kylie continues to be interested in many forms of dance. From her childhood ballet classes she has gone on to enjoy learning Middle Eastern dance, Flamenco, Highland, and anything else she can pick up along the way.
When not making music or dancing, Kylie enjoys riding her motorcycle, travel, rock-climbing, flying trapeze and maintaining this website :-) She can be contacted via email at Kahlilah@mindspring.com.
Marc is one of those types of musician that has the irritating habit of playing just about every instrument he touches. At this time his proficiencies are trombone, guitar, flute, keyboards, drums, percussion, bass, whistles, recorder, baglama, cumbus saz, oud, ney, pan pipes, zurna and mijwiz.
At the age of around five, Marc began his musical career, accompanying his father with hand percussion. He eventually learned drums and then trombone, which he was playing in various jazz clubs by the age of fourteen. Over time he explored other styles of music, including Rock, New Age, Celtic and finally Middle Eastern music.
He comes from a very musical family. His father was a keyboard virtuoso. His brothers Chris and Johnny are both extremely accomplished musicians. Of course Marc, being the family rebel, chose cultural folk music as his direction, rather than the family's traditional jazz.
He is currently studying the Turkish Baglama and Oud under Ergun Tamer, who also teaches at the Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp in Mendocino.
His aspiration is to eventually record Middle Eastern and New Age fusion.
Aside from music, Marc enjoys climbing, hiking, role playing games, baseball, Sufism, movies, wood working, flying trapeze and martial arts.
Rod has had an eclectic musical background starting with the obligatory two years of piano as a child, continuing with violin & viola for eight years through elementary and high school. Taking up music again after a long hiatus for college, he began studying Scottish fiddle and the wire-strung Irish harp, winning the beginning harp competition at the Los Angeles Grand National Irish Faire in 1989. He has studied harp under Dinah LeHoven and Ann Heymann, Irish bodhran under Chris Caswell, ud briefly under John Bilezikjian, and darabukka and Indian tabla under Aaron Plunkett.
He has performed in the United States & in Iceland. He played Irish harp & percussion for an experimental puppet show in Los Angeles titled "Between the Worlds" based on Celtic mythology, and for nearly five years was one of the lead musicians with Tribe Roman Morga, a dance troupe that performs at faires & fundraisers throughout Southern California. He has been featured on two recordings to date, playing bones on "Ilmvatnajokll" by Paul ok Laura, an avant garde rock band in Reykjavik, and played the celeste (a baroque keyboard instrument) on "Love for Love" by Dinah LeHoven.
When not messing with unusual musical instruments Rod enjoys hiking, leather-working, silver-smithing, role-playing games, and painting historical miniatures. He is an occassional volunteer at wild animal sanctuaries, and is an active member in a World War I reenactment group.
Jim's interest in Middle Eastern music began in 1990 during his stay in Dallas, Texas when his wife, Anne, became active with the Middle Eastern dance ensemble, Isis and the Star Dancers. Jim began teaching himself the Arabic hand drum, or doumbek, using instructional books and tapes from Mary Ellen Donald, Hossam Ramzy, and any others he could find.
Since moving to California in 1996, Jim has performed as a lead drummer with Tribe Roman Morga Renaissance Gypsies, with Ahdab, a Middle Eastern music ensemble, and with Rogues of Eden, a band incorporating Middle Eastern and Spanish influences.
In 1998, Jim began taking lessons from master drummer Souhail Kaspar. He attributes any skill, style, and technique he might display to Souhail's patient teaching. Jim likes to tell people "I first picked up a doumbek in 1990, but I only really started learning how to play it in 1998."
When not making music, Jim works as a Senior Software Developer for Odetics and enjoys studying Celtic, Roman, and Middle Eastern history, and watching too much TV.
In August 1999, Jim and his wife Anne became the proud parents of Meghan Miller.
Chrissy is one of those natural born drummers whose latent talent did not surface until only a few years ago. She discovered her passion for the darabukka shortly after she started studying Middle Eastern dance, falling in love with the classic rhythms that provide the heartbeat of the dance. "Why can't I play those rhythms myself?" she asked anyone who would listen. Well, the rest is history. Basically self taught in the beginning, she eventually sought out the wisdom and knowledge of the masters - studying under the watchful eyes of Jonathan Kessler and Souhail Kaspar. Chrissy has performed as a lead drummer, dancer and master-of-ceremonies for Tribe Roman Morga Renaissance Gypsies and also performs with Mesmera's Troupe Mesmerasha.
Chrissy appears as a musician providing live accompaniment on Harry Saroyan's most recent video - "How to Play Finger Cymbols with Mesmera".
Rumour has it that Chrissy and her darbukka are long lost buddies.
Trained in classical ballet and modern jazz, Chrissy is taking advantage of her ability to count by expanding her percussive abilities to frame drum and riqq. Pounding on something has always bn one of her favorite pastimes.
When she is not enveloping the sound waves with her delectable drumming, Chrissy somehow finds the time to train and run the L.A. Marathon, bellydance, hang out with her Golden Retriever, ice skate, write, study world history and pretend to play timpani in all of Beethoven's nine symphonies.
A native of Turkey, Bahadir grew up immersed in the musical traditions of his country. He grew up in the city of Konya in central Anatolia and went to Istanbul for higher education. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. degree in Medical Physics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Bahadir comes from a family with musicians. His father played the guitar, while his sister plays piano and clarinet. Bahadir has played mandolin and the guitar. Later, he developed an interest in percussion instruments. With Dunya Divani, he got the chance to play darbukka.
Jazz and classical music are his favorites. He likes nature, extracurricular activities and reading poetry (especially Rumi). His current interest is fencing with Marc.
Bahadir is a proud customer of the Bank of America.