Saber Bamatraf is a Yemeni pianist and music composer. He has been awarded an IIE-Artist Protection Fund (APF) Fellowship 2020-21 and is in residence at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities within the University of Edinburgh.
Saber has participated in both solo and group musical performances and projects. He is a self-taught pianist who does not read music, but has played music by ear since childhood. Saber graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology with Honours from the University of Utara Malaysia (2013) in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital. He then worked for the humanitarian sector in security and operations management for seven years, while maintaining his voluntary community engagement in artistic, cultural and musical events. Saber began focusing more on composition in 2014, with the release of his debut album Turning Point. He also began working to renew Yemeni folk poetic music through ‘Yamaniat’, a playlist he recently launched. Saber works to reconceptualise the Yemeni work spread throughout Arabia by focusing solely on instrumentals. This way, he attempts to represent the Yemeni musical legacy and heritage in a style that can be enjoyed worldwide. Saber has a shared art practice with his wife Shatha Altowai, the visual artist. Their marriage in 2014 was their artistic turning point. They have discussed their experiences as a married couple living in a very conservative society in a number of initiatives, including their TED Talk at TEDxLIUSana’a, ‘Synaesthesia’, and the documentary film Voice of the Rainbow.
Saber’s latest album release, Embrace from Edinburgh, is available now on all digital platforms. It contains seven New Age tracks that Saber has composed since arriving in Edinburgh. In this album, he expresses the inspiration he has drawn from living in peaceful environment, and the senses of courage and hope he has felt while immersed in the natural and historic Edinburgh landscape, after six traumatic years of uncertainty in a war-torn country.