Saif Al-Khayyat was born in Baghdad. There he studied classical Arabic lute at the conservatory.His masters included Rawhi Al-Khammash, Salem Abdul Karem, Majed Abdul Razzak and Sami Nasim. During his studies he performed as a soloist with the orchestra”Amasi Al Sharq” andcomposed songs for the church choir.
In 1999 he left Iraq and found a new home in Germany. Saif Al-Khayyat founded the oriental jazz ensemble “Ho-Jazz” in Leipzig and began to combine Iraqimaqam, jazz and occidental classical music. Since 2001 he works with the exceptional percussionist Nora Thiele. In 2014 they released their first duo album “Ahlam Babiliyya” (Babylonian Dreams). In 2015, this ensemble won the Creole World Music Award in Berlin.
Saif Al-Khayyat wants to make Iraqi music accessible, gives workshops and lectures on Arabic lute and Arabic music theory. Since 2015 he has also been a guest at interreligious music theater projectswith laymen, professionals and migrants. He was part of the Trier jazz opera “Blue Sheets” directed by Stefan Bastian with music by Nils Thoma, such as in the opera “Crusades” by Ludger Vollmer at the Theater Freiburg. In 2016 he composed his first incidental music for the project “Odyssee”. Saif Al-Khayyat gave numerous concerts in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Luxemburg and Turkey. In 2016, he completed his training as a music therapist at the IEK Institute Berlin and works as a musician, composer and music therapist.