Basya Schechter formed Pharaoh's Daughter after returning from Morocco in the Spring of 1995. It was her last trip to the Middle East and Africa which included Israel, Egypt, Central Africa, Turkey, Kurdistan and Greece. Inspired by these new cultures, she began playing her guitar to sound like a cross between an Arabic oud and a Turkish saz, with harmonic minor melodies, and odd rhythms. In doing so, she created a brand of music that combines her religious Jewish spiritual music background, world beat, and the intense lyrical detail of a Pop singer/songwriter.
Over the last five years Pharaoh's Daughter has built their following in New York City, performing in the Knitting Factory, the Living Room and Makor. Basya has also traveled on a month long tour through Germany, Netherlands and Czech Republic, in May of 2000, with world percussionist, Jarrod Cagwin in coffee houses, jazz clubs, theatres, and Creperies. In July 2000 the full band was invited to Queen Elizabeth Hall in London as part of a weeklong UK Mini Tour in the Tenth London Biannual Jewish Music Festival. In June in New York, they played at Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center in front of 6,000 people in the 25th Annual Yiddish Music Festival, as well as headlining at Symphony Space in a benefit concert for low income housing.
They are going to be part of documentary on ABC called Sacred Voices in December, and have been featured on WFUV, and on WBAI on a special program devoted to the discussion of Middle Eastern conflicts. Pharaoh's Daughter released their first CD, "Daddy's Pockets" in February 1999. They received critical acclaim from the Jewish Week, Downtown Music Gallery, and New Voices. The first track on that album, "Niggun," served as the opening song of Pearl Gluck's documentary film, "The Couch." Their second CD, "Out of the Reeds," was released on the JAM (Jewish Alternative Music) branch of Knitting Factory Records in April 2000.
The band features Kemal Arsan (percussion), a graduate of Berklee College of Music who has extensively studied different types of drums and drumming, Daphna Mor, (recorder) valedictorian of her graduating class at the Boston Conservatory, Benoir (electric guitar, vocals), a jazz music graduate immersed in Brazilian and African styles. Drummer/percussionist, Tomer Tzur has recently joined the band, infusing the music with his groovy Middle Eastern musical expression. Each of these musicians brings an instrumental mastery as well as a sincere and individual, personal expression.