SONEM is a group of musicians with a passion for playing music of the Near and Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans. Inspired by the creative interaction with dancers they often play with Belly Dancers in the Charlotte, NC area. In the autumn you will find members of the band at the Carolina Renaissance Festival where they are featured with The Roses of The Realm belly dance troupe.

Our Band

Kirk Lohry

Lodro Dawa

The ensemble is under the artistic direction of Kirk Lohry aka Lodro Dawa (BA Music, Naropa University) who has been a student of world music since 1980. Lodro Dawa plays ney, kwala and bansuri flutes, zurna (mizmar) and is also proficient on dumbek, riq, and deft.


Check out some of his other work at:

Joe Cathcart

Abu Zous

Joe Cathcart aka Abu Zous – Has studied Egyptian tabla (dumbek) with master drummers Souhail Kasper and Issam Houshan as well as many others and is also proficient on riq and deft. His knowledge of the Arabic Orchestra arrangements and the sophisticated rhythmic changes brings a unique dynamic to the group.


Adam Bono


Adam Bono aka Nacif – Plays the oud and is proficient on trumpet and guitar. He is our Tour Chef specializing in fresh baked bread and Korean cuisine.

Ashely Tisdale

Ashley is a trained percussionist and is proficient in voice, guitar, and piano. When she is not playing dhola with Sonem or at the Carolina Renaissance Festival with The Roses of the Realm belly dance troupe, Ashley is teaching lessons and providing music therapy session at Piedmont Music Therapy in Charlotte. You can find more information about her music therapy work at

Bethany Biddle


Bethany Biddle, aka BB - Plays various trame drums including Persian Daf