Having been created in this age of globalization, the music of Arifa naturally reflects this cross-fertilization. But it also transcends it, resulting in a coherent and dazzling musical amalgam. Reed player Alex Simu hails from Bucharest in Romania. Like pianist Franz von Chossy, who was born in Munich, percussionist Sjahin During, founder and informal leader of the pack, honed his craft the old fashioned way, by studying with masters in Cuba, Turkey, India, Spain and Africa and Michalis Cholevas (tahru) is from Greece. After two critically acclaimed instrumental albums Arifa wanted to explore new musical territory. Following the Silk Road, from the Balkans and the Middle East all the way to China, they looked for musicians from different musical traditions along that ancient route who had at least one thing in common: a bowed string instrument. The quest resulted in finding three outstanding female musicians - Vanya Valkova from Bulgaria, Niusha Barimani from Iran and Meng Xiao Xu from China.The greatest contribution of these women to the success of the project was their willingness and ability to step outside the comfort zone of their own tradition and to open their ears and minds to the music, however strange it sounded to them at first.