Mark Smulian

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Mark Smulian
Smulian in Switzerland, 2005.
Smulian in Switzerland, 2005.
Background information
Born (1957-08-08) 8 August 1957 (age 66)
GenresWorld, jazz, middle-eastern
Occupation(s)Record producer, bassist, lyricist
Instrument(s)Electric bass, Upright bass
Years active1970–present

Mark Smulian (born 8 August 1957)[citation needed] is an English musician, best known as a music producer and bass player.


Mark Smulian was born in London, England in 1957 to secular Jewish parents. He immigrated to Israel in 1975 and established himself as a highly accredited producer and bass player within the Israeli music scene.

Smulian has produced Platinum and Gold albums for a number of internationally successful Israeli artists. In addition to producing Smulian has had a huge involvement in the Middle-Eastern crossover music scene. He worked with a variety of musicians from both the Israeli and Palestinian regions with artists from a vast range of different cultural and political backgrounds.

He is the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Jamaà[1] a world music collective that represents artists and bands from the Middle East and the chairman of the advisory board, and musical director for Heartbeat Jerusalem that brings Palestinian and Israeli youth together through music.

In 2008 Smulian formerly introduced the Lydianstream system that works with the Codes of Behaviour, the mature emotional skills that is an intrinsic part of musical cooperation and transferable to non-musical situations. Smulian delivers lectures, workshops, and master classes for both music and non-musical audiences internationally.

In 2011 Smulian relocated back to the UK where he continues his musical and non-musical activities.

Composer and record producer[edit]

Smulian has produced albums for various Israeli artists that have had success within the world music industry.[2] In 2003, he produced, arranged, recorded, programmed, edited, mixed the album Derech[3] for Mosh Ben Ari – one of Israel's most successful international artists – the album went Gold.[4] He has also produced albums for other successful Israeli acts such as Sheva and in 2000 he co-produced and mixed their album Gan released by Lev HaOlim records. In 2004 he co-produced and mixed the album Searching For Dorot for the Israeli act Shotei Hanevua – the album went Platinum.[5] The song Kol Galgal (The Voice of the Wheel) on the album was a huge success in the Israeli charts. Other productions and collaborations include well respected Israeli singer Meir Banai[6] and one of Israels leading female vocalists Gani Tamir.

In 1999 Smulian built Digihipi recording studio in Israel where he focused on World Music productions. He worked with musicians of different cultural and political backgrounds and mentored them on western musical perspectives. These musicians were of Druze, Christian, Bedouin, Jewish and Muslim backgrounds. He worked with Toot Ard, a band of Arab Druzes from the Golan Heights Israel, and was the co-founder and band leader of Whiteflag Project an Israeli Palestinian band which was a unique phenomenon on the world music scene.[7] Smulian co-composed and wrote the English lyrics for the project on both their albums.[8] In 2008 Smulian was appointed as the Musical Director for the world music project Ras Hasatan (A Sanai Journey).[9] Ras Hasatan was a musical project that took place in the Sanai Desert in Israel with 50 musicians from all over the world. Complementing Smulian's world music catalogue was the world compilation album Thesmophoria[10] – (Women sing world music). He produced, co-composed and mixed the album which was later released in Europe and Israel and released by D&M productions.

Amongst Smulian's large body of compositional works are composed songs for Bedouin flute Player, Judy Kopelman. Kopelman's project told the story of a Palestinian/Israeli Arab who is trying to become recognised in the Israeli culture, and all the ethnic and racial issues that it encompasses. In 2007 he composed, recorded and mixed music for theatre Six Actors in Search of a Pilot. A production that involved Israeli Arabs and Jews that focused on the need for mutuality and not conflict. They performed throughout Israel in the Arab and Jewish communities and played on Broadway in Manhattan, NY.

Smulian has also scored for various documentaries and films. He composed music for the documentary Masada and in 1990 scored for the news video clip Sadude Hussein. The clip was picked by the international news carriers, broadcast all over the world and received first prize at the 1991 Brazilian Music competition. It also received airplay on Saturday Night Live and other programs around the world.

Smulian has composed over a hundred songs for various artist and incidental music for a wide variety of films, commercials and documentaries.

Smulian works with WhatFlag,[11] a band in Bristol, UK alongside playing bass with clarinet player Harold Rubin doing free and contemporary jazz. They perform around the Middle-East and Europe. In 2013 Smulian began working with Amadou Diagne, percussionist and singer/songwriter from Senegal as musical director and bass player. In 2014 he produced the first EP for Rasha Nahas, from Israel/Palestine and continues to produce and perform with Nahas internationally on a regular basis. On a daily basis Smulian continues to work as a producer for varied artists and session musician locally and internationally.

Bass player[edit]

Smulian plays upright and electric bass, fretted and fretless.

In his earlier years Smulian played with various acts in the US. He became heavily involved in the local scene and performed all across the southern United States with King's X and recorded an album with him for Atlantic records.

Smulian is the bass player and co-founder of the band Zaviot, an experimental jazz band that successfully toured Europe during the 80s.[12] He composed, produced and edited on three of their albums that were later released in Europe. He recorded with renown saxophone player Dave Liebman on one of the albums.[13] Smulian has recorded on hundreds of tracks as a bass player on many projects as a session musician. In 1988 he was awarded bass player of the year in Israel.

Smulian has toured extensively performing at events such as The Olympic Games,[14] Montreux Jazz Festival, Red Sea Jazz Festival, Glastonbury festival, Nuremberg Jazz festival, KKL Switzerland and more.

Music educator[edit]

Smulian was an influential figure in the Israeli and Palestinian youth music scene. He contributed greatly to the artistic development of a vast range of musicians from within the region. He mentored young Middle-Eastern Reggae sensation Toot-Ard, Hip-Hop Palestinian act Anger Boys, Israeli rock guitarist Arli Liberman, Palestinian rapper Samekh Saz and pop sultry singer Adi Dagan to name a few. He used an alternative approach to awakening awareness through music.

In the world music scene he arranged the production for events and festivals for youngsters touring Israel from the US and organised bi-annual music performance events for national convention of Masada-Jewish youth organisation, North America of 2000 people. Following in 2007 Smulian was offered a post at the Rosh HaAyin music conservatory where mentored on band development and coordinated various bands. He educated people's point of view of their instruments and helped the students develop a hands on approach to understanding and incorporating harmony and improvisation on their instruments.

In 2007, Smulian was invited to sit on the board of Heartbeat,[15] Jerusalem as an advisor and facilitator. Heartbeat is an organisation the creates opportunities and spaces for young Israeli and Palestinian musicians to work together and amplify their voices to influence the world around them. He presently works opposite a local NGO called Salaam Shalom[16] that is running a program called Proud 2B in the Bristol school system.

Before returning to England, Smulian was a prominent music educator in Israeli ministry of Education.[17] He coordinated and conducted music programs to the first school in Israel to learn on eastern as opposed to western instruments. Upon his teaching endeavours he contributed his extensive range of music theory to the Yamaha music school, teaching guitar, bass, theory and harmony. At Yamaha he worked with string players in guitar, bass, baglama, oud, violin, and rhythm players such as vocalists and combinations of the above. And as the Arts Music Coordinator for a youth organisation called Masada[18] he coordinated workshops for major conventions that involved using music as a tool for community involvement.

Smulian runs his music education series through his online school: the Lydianstream music academy. The Lydianstream music academy deals with musicians discovering their own unique voice and is based on the mature emotional skills musicians must take on board in order to create consistently great and rewarding music. Smulian has been taking the lecture to the US universities and around Europe since 2008.


  1. ^ "Jamaa". Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  2. ^ "HAPA – The Backing Band | East Africa United". Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  3. ^ "דרך – מוש בן ארי". Archived from the original on 13 May 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  4. ^ "The People's Musician ♫ Interviews at". 20 March 2012. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  5. ^ "The Fools of Prophecy – Discover music, videos, concerts, stats, & pictures at". 4 July 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  6. ^ "MOOMA – המוסיקה של ישראל – שי נובלמן_Shy Nobleman". 24 November 2005. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  7. ^ "La 'bandera blanca' Palestina-Israelí". 21 May 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  8. ^ "WhiteFlag Project". Archived from the original on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  9. ^ "Ras Sinai Music - Ras Sinai Project". Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  10. ^ "D&M :: Thesmophoria :: Music for Artists". Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  11. ^ "iTunes – Music – Whatflag – EP by Gani Tamir, Mark Smulian, Gianni Cossu, Jools Scott & Mike Vince". 15 March 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  12. ^ Shalev, Ben (28 February 2008). "'It's important to be a Neanderthal' Israel News – Haaretz Israeli News source". Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  13. ^ "Jazzis Records". Archived from the original on 29 November 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  14. ^ "East Africa United". Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  15. ^ "Heartbeat | Amplifying Youth Voices". Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  16. ^ "The Team | Salaam Shalom Media". 22 February 1999. Archived from the original on 3 July 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  17. ^ "Nitzan Israel English". Retrieved 19 July 2012.[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Create Drama, Create Involvement! Youth Education Through Creative Drama" (PDF). Retrieved 8 May 2020.