Friday, February 12, 2016
Combine a Syrian heart with Midwestern soul to find Bassel Almadani commanding the microphone with passion so intense that it will send shivers down your spine. No stranger to adversity himself, Bassel's ties to his family abroad remain stronger than ever as they endure an ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria. The soulful music of Bassel & The Supernaturals draws a deep connection between the ongoing chaos in his parents' homeland and his personal experiences growing up in the US. Despite a series of challenges in Bassel's personal life since 2010 - including a massive house fire, the theft of his automobile, and a handful of bone fractures - his focus on global awareness and charity has never been greater. In addition to performing in clubs and festivals across the nation, Bassel has partnered with universities and charity organizations nationwide to host seminars, workshops, and benefit concerts drawing attention to the crisis in Syria along with issues related to Arab/Muslim-American hostility in the US.
Born and raised in the college town of Kent, Ohio, Bassel naturally gravitated towards music and social engagement during his childhood. He began playing the violin at the age of 10, and shifted his focus to drumming a few years later. Fueled by his enthusiasm for songwriting, he picked up a guitar and began writing and performing his own music in 2003. Less than a year later he developed a unique method of playing guitar in an open tuning (with no A-string) which has defined his performance style on stage for over a decade.
Bassel's Buckeye roots were cemented in 2006 when he relocated to Columbus, Ohio to study business at The Ohio State University. His first studio effort as a songwriter was independently released as a self-titled EP (2008) and features the production talents of Ahmed Gallab - aka Sinkane - who has performed in Yeasayer, Caribou, Of Montreal, and Born Ruffians. Bassel's second studio production, "Submerged" (2010), was independently released as an LP and showcased his skills on several different instruments in tandem with local artists across Ohio. After graduating with degrees in both Logistics Management and International Business, he embarked on a 3-week solo tour to promote his new record. Upon its completion and during his relocation to Chicago to begin a new corporate job, Bassel was invited to perform in the Pelotonia opening ceremony with The Counting Crows & Augustana in the ride against cancer.
Shuffling back and forth between Chicago and Ohio after long work days and weekends quickly led to the official formation of Bassel & The Supernaturals. With a rapidly growing presence in Chicago and across the Midwest, the band released their latest "Dreamer" EP (2013) at the Empty Bottle in Chicago. The vinyl release funded a 3-week tour across the US along with humanitarian donations to victims in Syria.
They have since performed with national acts on stages of all shapes and sizes across the US, including Brother Ali, Aesop Rock, Kimya Dawson, Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas, and many others. Most recently Bassel was featured in the Abreaction 2 exhibition in Brooklyn, New York alongside international artists who have a family history in refugee, revolution, civil war, or genocide in the Middle East.
Nothing has been able to stop Bassel & The Supernaturals from going against the odds to pursue their passion for music, and they don't plan on stopping any time soon. They are instrumental to the neo-soul movement, and they are putting the Midwest and the Middle East back on the map.