The derbekki is a hand drum that is played throughout the Middle East. Its name and use varies from region to region, each place contributing to the overall repertoire of traditional Middle Eastern percussion. The derbekki is utilized in classical, folk, and popular styles, and accompanies instrumental music, as well as singing and Arabic dance. Other regional names include doumbek, tabla and darbuka.
Faisal Zedan’s first introduction to the derbekki instrument was at a cousin’s wedding in Oum D’baib in southern Syria, at the age of 15. Intrigued, he asked a distant relative, who was the only one in his village that played the instrument, to teach him. Learning basics, he dedicated himself to the drumming. Upon arriving to the United States in 1991 he associated, himself to a variety of musicians Arab and non-Arab in the field of Arabic/Middle Eastern music. Zedan spent much time woodshedding recordings and videos that informed much of his learning. Over the years he learned from and played with many amazing drummers who are influential to his playing, including Haitham Ballat, Said El Artist, Adel Shaseldine and Nigm Babil.
As a master artist in ACTA's Apprenticeship Program in 2017, Faisal Zedan will mentor Sarah Resenkrantz in furthering her knowledge of the derbekki and Middle Eastern music. They focus on sharing three rhythm families: Wahda Kabira, Maqsoum, and Gurgna, by learning three central compositions: "Zikrayati," "El hilwa de amet te’gin," and "Ya nab'aterrayhan."