Arabic-inspired band the Aliya Cycon Project was formed in the summer of 2014 at Berklee College of Music by oud player, pianist, and singer Aliya Cycon. A lifelong musician, Cycon discovered the beauty and allure of the oud when she travelled for a summer to the West Bank, Palestine. Since that life-changing trip four years ago, she has held the goal of presenting the lilting charm of Arabic music, blended with her own style, to all music lovers. By elaborating on a melodic idea, which is the basic unit of Arabic music, the Aliya Cycon Project aims to salute that rich tradition and step just outside of its colorful borders. The band released their debut album, We Will Be Light, in March of 2015, and they have had the opportunity to play alongside major international artists like Vieux Farka Touré, Amir ElSaffar, and Tony Vacca. Cycon has performed her music in Palestine, Lebanon, and Senegal, and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Says DownBeat magazine of her music, it's "...an alluring, shimmering dance between world pop and traditional Arabic music. Her Arabic [oud] sometimes projects a palpable effervescence, other times an incisive ambiguity."
Naty Hernandez is a singer-songwriter, guitarist, and acoustic and electric bassist from Medellín, Colombia who currently attends Berklee College of Music. Previously, she studied jazz guitar at Universidad EAFIT in Medellín. Her music is a sonic journey merging the rhythms from the Andean mountains in Colombia with jazz and sonorities from world music. Hernandez has played in Colombia, Mexico, and the Boston area. In the last year she has shared the stage with great artists such as Marta Gómez and María Isabel Saavedra. She is currently one of the youngest members of the Andean Colombian music songwriters corporation, Cantandina, with whom she has collaborated for workshops and concerts. Her song "Chico de Nubes" is highlighted in The New Songbook of Andean Colombian Music, and her Andean Colombian jazz album, Canciones Esenciales, came out in 2013. "Manos de Agua," from her album Canciones para Amar y Despedir, was part of the top 20 of Radio Nacional de Colombia. She wants to renew and support traditional music from Latin America so that new generations can be part of it.