Ziryab Yusuf Ali
Cassiano de Sa (Ziryab), born in 1974 in Petrolina Pernambuco, North East of Brazil, began studying guitar at the age of 10. In 1989, he won at his second competitive performance at the FICO festival, Objetivo College, which lead him on to play at the National Festival Oconcur, Sao Paulo. By 1991, his path led him to study classical guitar at the Antenor Navarro conservatory in Joao Pessoa Paraiba. There he practised and played alongside the Federal University of Paraiba's choir and collectively performed with the Symphonic Orchestra of Paraiba in numerous festivals. He then made his transition to electric guitar, dedicating 6 hours a day to relentlessly explore and master all the nuances of the instrument. He featured in three MTV Brazil video clips with Das Bandas Da Paraiba and played with various prestigious artists such as Chico Cezar, Carlos Malta, Rita Ribeiro and Totonho e os Cabra. His work with Totonho took him to perform at festivals in France, Belgium, Portugal & the UK. In the UK, Cassiano performed at Peter Gabriel's Womad Festival and was interviewed by the BBC in London. During that time, he was living in Rio de Janeiro for a total of 7 years. There he worked with four bands and on productions at the Sk2 studio. At the infamous Rio carnival in February 2007, he realised that he was not fully content with his life. His friend invited him to visit Dubai, UAE, and there, in just two months, he found faith and spirituality in Islam. That same year, he came back to Brazil and came upon the story about Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens). He prayed that he would meet Yusuf Islam. Six months later, he came back to Dubai to work with an entertainment company. In less than one month, he met Yusuf Islam. Following this meeting, he worked with Jamal Records as the in-house composer and producer from May 2008 to March 2009. He is also an artist at the Beloved Musika division of Jamal Records. Currently, Cassiano is working on his debut album called "The Return Of Ziryab". In Dubai, he has worked closely with artists such as Zain Bhikha & Sami Yusuf. He has also recently recorded guitar on a George Harisson cover with Yusuf Islam, which is dedicated to the victims of the Gaza crisis.