Traditional Egyptian music meets Tunisian sounds blending folk, rock, and electronic sounds in an exciting cross-boundary musical conversation

This event features Emel Mathlouthi (Tunisia) and Mazaher (Egypt)

Emel Mathlouthi (Tunisia)

Emel Mathlouthi is a songwriter, composer, guitarist, and singer who brings a powerful brand new sound to Tunisian music. Endowed with an outstanding voice, her early career drew comparisons to Joan Baez, Sister Marie Keyrouz, and the Lebanese diva Fairouz – propelled by her global anthem “Kelmti Horra (My Word is Free),” while her more recent projects have been compared to Bjork and Kate Bush. In her environmentally-themed project Everywhere We Looked Was Burning, which she’ll perform accompanied by electronics and a string quartet, Mathlouthi has shifted and complicated her sound, incorporating a dark atmosphere, expansive electronics, and digital glitches, without losing her spirit. As anyone who has seen or heard her perform knows, all of her work is powered forward by her otherworldly operatic voice, a voice that is comfortable in the streets, in a club or theater, or at the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. The trio joining Emel’s performance includes Klaudia Olborska-Szymańska on violin, Rebecca Saxby on viola, and Giulia Gallazzi on cello.

Mazaher (Egypt)

Mazaher is one of the rare ensembles in which women play a leading role and are connected to a most ancient tradition which is distinctive from other Egyptian music traditions. The musicians of Mazaher: Um Sameh, Um Hassan, and Nour El Sabah are among the last remaining practitioners of their music, which is inspired by three different styles: the Egyptian or Upper Egyptian, Abul Gheit, and the African Tamboura. Their performance is rooted in a community healing ritual of singing, polyrhythmic drumming, and dancing whose main participants are women (men have the second roles).

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