Yousef Shamoun was born in Aleppo, Syria. Aleppo is home to a strong tradition of composing and singing the Muwashshahat and the Qudud Halabiyya. It is also known for its Tarab, a musical style which means “enchantment.” Yousef belongs to the school of great Aleppian singers such as Sabah Fakhri, Mohamad Khairy and Omar Al-Batsh. He is known for both his mastery of the mawwal (non-metric vocal improvisation) and for his powerful rendition of the Arabic Maqam. Yousef is passionate about both preserving the classical tradition of Muwashshahat while also experimenting and innovating with their style and structures. As an active member of the Syrian-American community, Yousef has performed in several events and countries throughout the US, as well as Canada, Europe and the Middle East.
The Tarab Ensemble is a project that Yousef & Saphe Shamoun started to celebrate Tarab and to celebrate Muwashshahat and Qudud Halabiyya. The ensemble mainly performs Arabic Maqam and specializes in the Aleppian repertoire, in addition to contemporary compositions and Arabic dance music. The Ensemble has performed a series of Tarab nights at several venues including Columbia University, Princeton University, Harvard University, Rubin Museum of Art, (le) Poisson Rouge in New York, as well as at the Turaath Night organized by the Arab-Anti-Discrimination Committee Gala in Washington D.C., among others.