“If somebody is talented for playing jazz and world music it is Roberto Haliffi. Born in Tripoli (North Africa) he descends from a Sephardim (Jewish) family. At an early age he fell in love with music. Being influenced by many cultures throughout his life, he plays African, Arabic, Latin and jazz drums on a high level. Roberto loves to experiment, using traditional drums in a new setting. His own style is colorful and oriental, subtle but powerful. He represents global music in person.” (Burton Greene)
Roberto Haliffi started his music career in Tripoli, Libya, on the darbuka, an Arabic drum, and trap set in folk bands. His uncle Bicio introduced him in jazz bands. Together they played for the American military base and in nightclubs. He also had his pop band with his musician friends.
He and his family moved to Italy in the late 1960’s. Roberto came to Holland in 1977. Far from home he renewed his interest in his Sephardim roots. He formed Klezmokum with jazz pianist Burton Greene, clarinetist Marcel Salomon, (later replaced by the famous Perry Robinson), and tuba player Larry Fishkind. They perform Sephardim, Ashkenazi and Yiddish songs combined with jazz. With this successful band they play at many Jewish and jazz festivals in Holland and abroad (Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, New York) and recorded eight CD’s so far. Roberto has played with Curtis Clarke, Wilbur Little, Nedley Elstak, Woody Shaw, John Tchicai, Essiet Okun Esiet, Pia Beck, John Marshall, Rosa King, Hans Dulfer, Rinus Groeneveld, Anat Fort and more. He has also worked with singers like Denise Jannah, Angela Groothuizen, Soesja Citroen.