Dhafer Youssef

Dhafer Youssef  is the Tunisian Oud master, vocalist and composer born on November 19th, 1967, in the Tunisian fishing village Teboulba. He grew up in a modest family, coming from a long line of muezzins. Mastering vocal potentials stands as a heritage and a family tradition.

At an early age, his grandfather initiates him to Quranic recitals in which he discovers his vocal potential. Dhafer Youssef starts singing the songs played on his mother’s radio set. His mother’s kitchen becomes his first experimental laboratory. At the age of 6, he discovers the resonance of his voice in his village’s Hammam. This fascinating discovery nourishes his ardent juvenile curiosity: Young Dhafer discovers his favorite toy.

Moved by the child’s beautiful voice, the local muezzin encourages him to carry out the call to prayer in the Mosque. Dhafer starts this task with a very cheap plastic microphone. His voice flows from the top of the minaret. There, he experiences his first encounter with an audience, a moment still engraved in his memory.

A few years later, Dhafer Youssef joins the local liturgical song troupe as a vocalist. Far from places of worship, Dhafer discovers a new toy at the youth center of Teboulba: The Oud. This is also where he discovers Electric Bass and more generally the so-called “groove”. After that, Young Dhafer is selected to join the Tunisian National Troupe by Mesbah Souli.

Aspiring to explore new horizons, Dhafer Youssef leaves his home village for Tunis. There he joins the musical conservatory at Nahj Zarkoun. Dissatisfied with the quality of teaching, he decides to leave for Vienna (Austria) to complete his musical training.