ENZO RAO was born in Palermo on January 13 1957. He works as a composer, and plays Violin, Oud, sadz, Jewish Harp, bass and other instruments. His heterogeneous musical background, allows him to play Rock, Jazz, Blues and a variety of Ethnic music styles. His true passion is Sicilian and Mediterranean ethnical music; it inspired him, between 1977 and 1984, during which time his personal research and creative activity was orientated towards the popular music of the region. His focus was on the musical instruments, compositional styles and techniques of sound production. During those years he performed with Rakali ( an Internationally popular group ) and Claudio Lo Cascio a Folk-Jazz quintet in Italy and Europe .

In 1988 he founded the musical project SHAMAL, creating a form of music which blends languages that belong to the traditions of Sicily, North Africa, the Balcans, Middle East as well as using other contemporary languages. In 1990 the Rome based label "Il Pontesonoro" released Shamal first CD, on which the sax player Gianni Gebbia collaborated. Enzo Rao took out first prize in Radio RAI's National Composer Contest "Nuove musiche per O.R.I.O.N.E." with his song "In viaggio!".

In the same year he started a collaboration with the American percussionist Glen Velez, performing in several nation wide concerts. The second CD, "Acqua di Mare " was released in 1992 also by the "Il Pontesonoro" label.

Enzo Rao has taken part in many international festivals, musical concerts, has played in both Clubs and Outdoor settings, with Shamal and in other collaborations. He has been an invited guest in numerous musical projects.

Since 1984 he has composed music for Theatre, Multimedia performances, Radio and Television broadcasts. In 1993 the German label CMP Records released the Glen Velez CD "Pan Eros" in Europe and the U.S.A., it was reviewed in the magazine "Jazz & Tzaz" in Greece and received the acclamation of "CD of the year 1993". Enzo Rao is featured as the composer of four tracks and as the Violin player. In 1993 the American label,"Music of the World" (Nomad) rereleased "Acqua di Mare" in the U.S.A. renaming it "Ettna!".

Rao, collaborated with the New York band "Giullari di Piazza", the band was led by the percussionist Alessandra Belloni, who was also the vocalist and ritual dancer. The band included Glen Velez, Steve Gorn and John La Barbera . In 1997 Enzo Rao took part in the "Jerusalem Festival" with Shamal in the cities of Jerusalem and Ramallah. In the same year he performed, as the Sicilian representative, on "Officina Mediterraneo" (hypertextual show), along side Steve Lacy, and some of the most important musicians from the Mediterranean.

In 1998 the label "Il Pontesonoro" released the live CD "A banna ca sona".
He's member of Ishk Bashad project with Beppe Grifeo, Peppe Consolmagno e Mouna Amari. In 2002 he composed the original sondtrack of "Il Buma", a Giovanni Massa movie.


as leader:

1990 ENZO RAO: "SHAMAL" Il Pontesonoro-Roma
1992 ENZO RAO-SHAMAL: "ACQUA DI MARE" Il Pontesonoro-Roma
1993 ENZO RAO-SHAMAL: "ETTNA" Music of the world (U.S.A.)
1998 ENZO RAO-SHAMAL: "A BANNA CA SONA" (Live) Il Pontesonoro Roma

as guest:

1990 Tuckiena: "Tuckiena" Classico dischi-BMG-Roma
1993 Glen Velez: "Pan Eros" CMP Records (Germany)
1994 Rara Avis (featuring ENZO RAO): "Live" Le Parc-Bergamo

1999 'Nni lusinghi:
2002: Ut Comma: "Il punto massimo del silenzio" Suoni Mediterranei
2004 Beatipaoli: "Beatipaoli"
2005 Ishk Bashad: "Live al Womad 2000"


1992 "Worldwide 92" (U.K.)
1993 "Sicilian Jazz collection" vol.2 Splasc(h)
1995 "An explosion of world music" Il Pontesonoro-Roma
1995 :"Planet Soup" Ellipsis Arts...-N.Y.( U.S.A.)
1995 :"Canti SUDati" Il Manifesto e Compagnia Nuove Indye
1996 "Giufà-Juhˆ-Giochà-Nasreddin Hoxa"-Sudnord Roma
1997 "Anime mediterranee" Il Pontesonoro Roma
2000 "Ninnanni" EDT

2004 "Tiankoura"  
2006 "Tribù italiche" EDT

Enzo Rao moreover took part at following international festivals: Onde Sonore Mediterranee (Roma'88, Catania '90, Caltanissetta '91, Roma '91) * Tra Oriente e Occidente Catania '89 * Gibellina Etno-jazz '90 * Siena '90 * Faenza Folk Festival '91 * S.Arcangelo dei Teatri '91 * Roma World Music Festival '91 * Berlino BID '92 * Castel S.Pietro "Cassero Jazz" 93 *Oltremare (RAI terza rete radio) '94 * Napoli Cittˆ dei popoli '95 * Venezia Universitˆ '96 * Pesaro Festival dei Popoli '96 * Jerusalem Festival '97: Al-Quds University Jerusalem e Ramallah * Palermo di scena '95, '96, '97, '99 * New York "Cattedrale St. John the Divine" e "Caramoor Museum" '96 * Palermo" Officina Mediterraneo" '97 * I suoni del novecento '95 (Ente Autonomo Teatro Massimo - Palermo) * Roma World Music Festival (Villa Ada)'96 e '97 *Genova settimana della musica '98 Expo * Womad Palermo '98 * Civitavecchia "Civita etnica" '99 * Scapoli "Festival della zampogna" '99* Roma "Etno 2000" * Palermo "Womad 2000" * Roma "Solaris" 2000 *