Saber Bamatraf

IIE-Artist Protection Fund Fellow
Saber Bamatraf

Saber Bamatraf is a Yemeni pianist and music composer who has participated in many solo and group music performances and projects in Yemen. He is a self-taught pianist who does not read music, but has played music by ear since childhood, as he lived in a country that has no music schools.

Saber graduated with a Bachelor in Information Technology with Honors from the University of Utara Malaysia (UUM) (2013), which was a collaboration program with the University of Science and Technology in Sana'a, the capital of Yemen. He then worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as the Head of Radio Operators for 7 years, besides his community engagement in artistic and musical events with some cultural foundations in Yemen.

Saber started focusing on music compositions since 2014 for his debut album Turning Point. He also works to renew Yemeni folk poetic music, which is widely spread throughout Arabia, by adding variations to be fully instrumental, in an attempt to represent the Yemeni musical legacy – and heritage as a whole – in a new style that can be enjoyed worldwide.

Saber has a shared art practice with his wife Shatha Altowai, the visual artist. Their marriage in 2014 was the turning point for both of them. Saber usually tends to find inspiration for his music from Shatha’s paintings, and vice-versa. They have demonstrated their art-life experience – as a married couple whose living in a very conservative and tribal society – through a number of youth and international initiatives, including their TED Talk “TEDxLIUSanaa: the Synaesthesia” and the documentary film Voice of the Rainbow.

Saber has been awarded an IIE-Artist Protection Fund (APF) Fellowship 2020-21 and in residence at IASH together with his wife Shatha, who is also an APF Fellow.

Saber shares his music compositions and activities through the following social media platforms:






Artist Protection Fund (link)

Twitter: @APF_IIE

Instagram: @artistprotectionfund