Jim Grippo has been performing Middle Eastern Music on the kanun and oud for 21 years and is a featured soloist in the UCSB Middle East Ensemble. Jim is also a highly sought-after performer in Music ensembles of diverse traditions, such as Roma, Balkan, and pop. He has extensive recording experience featured in film, television, and studio albums, such as Gorillaz “The Fall,” 3 seasons on FX’s “Tyrant,” IMAX “Arabia 3D,” and Fishtank Ensemble “Edge of the World.”
His graduate work in ethnomusicology at UCSB culminated in two consecutive Fulbright grants in Cairo, Egypt, resulting in dense immersion in Music, cultural heritage, and Arabic language. In Egypt, Jim focused on Egyptian sha’bī, the music culture of the popular class (music of the streets), and performed with sha’bī wedding bands all over Cairo. He has several publications based on this research.
Jim is also a gifted improviser, storyteller, and Musical medium in varied contexts, both ceremonial and secular. More recently, he has become a lead singer of Lakota ceremonial Music in Santa Barbara. Recognizing that all Music is a gift from Spirit, and Stories a map of our symbolic universe, Jim’s musical tales are pure enchantment.