WARU are
Erik Knäschke (Germany)
Eberhard Jirmann (Germany)
Damenza Nvioki (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Ari Babakhanov Uzbekistan)

WARU is a Didgeridoo & world music band from Leipzig which is in it's 13th year since the foundation.

If you think Didgeridoo music is only monotone you will be very surprised with WARUs sounds. The fascination of their concerts is the mix of different musical styles from many continents. Each of the musicians brings his cultural background into the songs. So WARUs programme is not boring at all. Best example are their successful concerts in almost all states of Germany. Only one is still missing Baden-Würtemberg.

Since 2010 it is also possible to book us together with our guest musicions as WARU & friends'.

Our friends are:
Burkhard Werner(Germany)
Stefanie Koch (Germany)

Dolus Mutombo (Democratic Republic of Congo/South Africa)


Erik - Didgeridoo, Fujara & Percussion:

Erik is a big Australia fan. He started to play Didgeridoo many years ago. Because of his four trips to Down under and his big interest for the culture of the Australian Aborigines he discovered the Didgeridoo. He also went to several workshops i.e. with Ganga Giri, Gary Thomas und Mark Atkins. The circular breathing took a while to learn. But with intensive practice playing the instrument he managed it. Erik also plays an a few percussion instruments too.

Erik also started to play the Slovakian shepherd's flute Fujara. In the future he would like to play also other overtone flutes.

Since the year 2000 Erik is managing WARU very sucessfully.

Erik is also a member of the band tubulatores, which is combining brass instrument  Didgeridoo with the woodwind instrument soprano saxophone.  


Eberhard - Didgeridoo, Jews harp, tuba & overtone singing:

Eberhard is beside Erik one of the foundation members of WARU. They met each other through another hobby horse, the scuba diving. In the early years of the Band they were supported by the musicion Andreas Schneider.

Eberhard came to the Didgeridoo through the German Pop-Rock star  Peter Maffay. In a TV show he saw the performance with Peter Maffay and Yothu Yindi, a famous Aboriginal band. The music stayed in his head. So he bought a Didgeridoo a video and thought himself to play on the instrument. Within only 4 weeks he managed the circular breathing. Through a workshop he started up with overtone singing.

Beside the Didgeridoo Eberhard loves to play the Jewish harp too. In one song he is playing the tuba as a Didgeridoo. 

Eberhard is also a member of the band Wild Camel which is starting up again just recently.


Damien - Percussion & vocals:

Damenza, called Damien, joined WARU in 2001. Erik and Eberhard were searching for a good pecussionist for a long time. Purely by chance they got to know Damien. His comecountry is the Democratic Republic of Congo and studied in Germany many years ago. One is for sure there is rhythm in his blood. Damien is drumming since he is 8 years old. Damenza is a great singer too and he used to be a member of an African gospel choir. He also founded the African band Ndungu Kina, (drumming, singing and dance).

Damien gave us the impulse in which direction WARU would go in the future. It was World music cause he introduced us to some songs from the Congo which we started to perform together. Since he joined our band often he was confronted to sevaral exotical musical instruments. He was the only one who could play these instruments and he always took that challenge. So he is playing at WARU beside African Djembe, Kapalongo and the Udu-Drum now the water-drum, the Steel drum and many more musical instruments. With his burning rhythms he is encouraging the audience to dance.


Ari - Rubab & percussion:

Our oldest member of the band, Ari Babakhanov is already 79 years old. Ari is originally from Uzbekistan. He is from a very famous music family and their roots are followed back to the Osmanian time. They all were singers. Ari can't sing and breaking with that tradition. But he plays the traditional Uzbek string instrument the Rubab. And one is for sure he is a big master on the Rubab. Damien met Ari purely by chance again at the society of international understanding. In March 2003 he already joined WARU. Damien spontaneously asked him to work together with us. For Ari it was lucky coincidence cause he already didn't play his Rubab since 12 month.

And for WARU it was like winning a lotto jackpot cause you are not often so privileged to work together with such a exceptionally gifted musicion.

With his Uzbekian ensemble he is also still performing for example in the Netherlands, France and at the TFF, the dance and folk festival, in Rudolstadt/Thuringa.

In 2010 the very important book with the complete Shasmaqam, the court music of Bukhara, was published by Ari. It took him 15 years to commit all the notes and the old persian lyrics to paper. This edition is the most complete version of the Shashmaqam. There is also a sound recording on CD with one whole Maqam cycle. If you are interested in that book you can order it for example at  Amazon.


The friends from WARU are:

Burkhard  - Hurdy-gurdy, Percussion & vocals:

Burkhard was always very interested in the Middle Ages and so it was only natural for him to learn to play the hurdy-gurdy. During a 3 weeks workshop in Bavaria he even bulit his first instrument. His actual hurdy gurdy was based on an musical instrument from France from the 18th century. It was built after old sketches from Kurt Reichmann in Frankfurt/Main.

Eberhard met Burkhard on the monthly folk sessions in Leipzig. Since 2004 he already performed with WARU on several concerts. He supported us on the albums 'Wardapi', 'Ten Years' and now on 'Julaymba'.

Burkhard was part of the 10th anniversary concert in 2010 and since that time he is often part of concerts with 'WARU & friends'.


Stefanie - Clarinet, Bass clarinet, Percussion & vocals:

WARU met Stefanie at the great 'Weltmusikstammstisch'. She orginized this monthly event at the former cultural pup 'Waldfrieden' which was in the southern part of Leipzig in Connewitz. From 2007 on Erik went there very frequently in the search of interesting musicions and new inspiration. In 2010 we asked her to be part of our big anniversary concert.

Since that big event we keep on working with her. She is inspiring us to compose new songs. Since 2011 she is often part of concerts of 'WARU and friends'.

Stefanie learned to play the clarinet autodidactically. In different ensembles she conquered cafes, pubs and later the stages. After that Stefanie was dealing with musical theory and composition. Music was always a common theme in her whole life. The vitality, the depth and the yearning of the klezmer and Eastern European music is touching her a lot. But Stefanie likes to walk on different paths with her clarinet. She is happy to try out new musical genres.

Stefanies main band is also based in Leipzig and called Rada Synergica. In 2012 they already celebrated their 10th anniversary. 


Photo by Pat Anderson
Dolus  - guitar, Percussion & vocals:

We met Dolus through Damiens African band Ndungu Kina. Like Damien Dolus is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2002 he moved to South Africa and lived in Capetown. He met many different musicians there. He worked together with them in different projects. But he also had his own band and played solo aswell.

Since August 2010 Dolus is living in Leipzig. In the following year he already started to perform with WARU on several concerts. Dolus is playing guitar in some songs and this is a great addition to Aris rubab. In other songs he is supporting us with extra percussion. But Dolus is also inspiring us to compose new songs. For sure it is a very fertile coorperation working together with him.

We are very thankful that Dolus supported us on our brand new album 'Julaymba'.

Dolus is also an solo musician or playing together with two fellow musicians. Very highly recommended are the Dolus-Jam-Session, which he is organizing. They take place monthly at the A&O Hostel (in the rear building). Further information you will find on his homepage:
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