Naji Youssef

The Lebanese-American tenor Naji Youssef was born in the El-Shouf region of Lebanon and immigrated in 1988 to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where he is cantor for the Catholic Melkite Church of the Virgin Mary. The Melkite music tradition includes characteristics such as the ancient Psaltiqua mode of notation and Arab maqamat. Youssef is also a member of Simon Shaheen?s Near Eastern Music Ensemble. Known for his expressive vocal ornamentation, he is a featured singer at local haflat (parties). Youssef?s voice is reminiscent of the Lebanese jabali (mountain) style exemplified by such masters as Wadi? Assafi. He has mastered many repertoires besides the Melkite hymns, including old poetic singing styles such as mijana, ?ataba, shruqi and zajal.