Bringing the Sitar to New Audiences

Mohamed Assani is a sitarist and composer, known for his genre-defying approach to music making. Trained in Indian/Pakistani classical music, Western classical music and jazz, his music-making seamlessly draws from different genres and cultures with depth and authenticity. Mohamed was twice nominated (in 2021 and 2022) as ‘Instrumental Artist of the Year’ for the Western Canadian Music Awards.

Mohamed has brought his sitar to new audiences across the globe through innovative collaborations that have stretched the boundaries of his instrument. Career highlights include co-writing a sitar concerto that was performed by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, performing for his Royal Highness the Aga Khan, being invited to teach at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Music, and performing for celebrity couple Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas.

According to the Noho Arts District, “Mohamed Assani is a musician for the ages. Pushing his passion into the future, with a glance to his past and the history of this amazing instrument, but never shying away from what is new and exciting. He is at the frontier of cultural hybridisation, leading us deeper into the lush landscape of worldwide music.”

In April 2020, Mohamed launched his newest album, Wayfinder. Using a refreshing, contemporary sound palette, Wayfinder incorporates a range of stylistic influences, including Indian/Pakistani Classical, Middle Eastern, jazz, funk, Western Classical, ambient & electronic music. It was produced by Juno and Emmy nominated producer Adham Shaikh.

According to Vinyl Chapters, “The way Mohamed Assani has manipulated, caressed and amalgamated so many different styles under the watchful rule of his sitar playing is nothing short of mesmeric.”

Mohamed is a lifelong learner – his musical journey began at Dartington College of Arts in England, where he did a degree in Western Classical music. He then went on to learn sitar in the traditional way as a senior disciple of Ustad Ashraf Sharif Khan of the Poonch Gharana. He also did a second music degree at Leeds College of Music in jazz and world music. His latest foray has been training in composing music for film and TV at Berklee College of Music.

Mohamed is a highly experienced educator who has taught extensively, including at prestigious institutions such as the Royal Academy of Music and Brit School of Performing Arts in London, England. He also pioneered a degree-level course at Huddersfield University in South Asian ensemble technique. He continues to be a passionate educator, and currently teaches music at Capilano University and the VSO School of Music.

Mohamed is a leader in his field – forging new paths for his music to develop and grow, while remaining committed to the rich roots from which his tradition has emerged.

“The sitar is my friend and also my teacher.
It has taught me discipline and patience,
how to think and approach things differently,
how to develop a relationship with the sitar
but also with myself.”


Bringing South Asian
Innovations to Vancouver

The Georgia Straight

“Assani is both a musician who’s deeply rooted in the artistic traditions of South Asia and a one-of-a-kind innovator who’s bent on ensuring that those age old forms will survive, and grow, in the modern era.  Vancouver’s world music scene – already one of the best anywhere – might be about to get a whole lot more interesting.”

Copyright Mohamed Assani 2022