NO blues is the crossroad where folk-blues and Arabic music meet. In 2004 Ad van Meurs (guitar/ lead vocals), Haytham Safia (U’d, Arabic lute/ lead vocals) and Anne-Maarten van Heuvelen (double bass/ lead vocals) got together to combine American folk blues and traditional Arabic music. Both folk blues and the Arabic taqsim (the improvised      interplay without a fixed rhythm) are exceptionally suited for storytelling; the former in a somewhat rawer way, the latter mostly lyrical and melodic.
In the same way as Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie documented their era in the early 20th century, the instrumentalist is the torchbearer of a centuries-old tradition in the virtually unwritten Arabic music culture. Traditional Arabic music differs from other music cultures in the way in which the music scale is subdivided. Thus the music can adopt forms that are nearly impossible in the western octave system.
The musicians soon succeeded in finding the crossroad where folk-blues and Arabic music meet. A fusion of Americana and Arabic music, which might best be portrayed as ‘Arabicana’. Heartfelt music with songs about ‘ordinary folks’, love and grief, played and sung in a tradition that is characteristic to both folk blues and Arabic music. Completing the line-up on stage, NO Blues is joined by Ankie Keultjes (vocals) and Osama Maleegi (percussion).