Enchanted Egypt

The Musicians
Professor Maged SerourProfessor Maged Serour (Qanun)
Well known in the Middle East and Internationally as one of the top players of his instrument he is in constant demand, recording with the best artists from the region and leading the most acclaimed ensembles and orchestras as well as recording his first solo album 'Qanun el Tarab'.

The qanun (ka-noon) is a plucked box zither or psaltery of the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Asia. In its final design and form the instrument was invented in the Abbasy period in the history of the middle east by the legendary musician and instrument maker Al Faraby (950 AD) the instrument has its roots extending back to the Pharaohs’ times when it was called Sabkh, also Assyrian roots where it was called the Nozha. A similar instrument was widely used during the time of the Greek Empire and was called the monochord. The modern qanun is equipped with small brass levers on each string allowing 1/4 tone intervals to be played.

Shebl AbdallaShebl Abdalla (Magrouna/Mizmar)
Shebl leads the well known Gypsies of the Nile group. Their debut album Rahhal has been well received all over the world. They are in much demand throughout Egypt playing at weddings, festivals and religious celebrations.

The magrouna is a twin piped reed instrument of ancient origin. The two tubes are of equal length tied in parallel, so that the corresponding holes can be closed simultaneously allowing both pipes to play in unison creating a rich ‘chorus’ like tone. The Magrouna is played exclusively by men who use a circular breathing technique to produce an uninterrupted sound. The mizmar is a double reed woodwind instrument similar in shape to the traditional conical Oboe. Another instrument of ancient origin, which is also known as the Zurna in Iran, Turkey and amongst the Kurdish people. Often used at weddings and for traditional Belly dance throughout the Middle East.

Mohamed NaiemMohamed Naiem (Nay/Kawala)
Mohamed has a rare talent in playing both types of flute with such soul-captivating spirituality. Since moving to Cairo from his hometown Port-Said he has gained an enviable reputation amongst his fellow musicians and audiences alike. His debut album Master of the Arabian Flute has just been released worldwide.

The most common type of Arabic reed flute, the nay produces a mellow breathy sound. It can be anywhere between 35cm to 80cm long but always with the distinctive feature of the reed having 9 joints. The sound is produced by blowing across the open end at an angle. A nay player will normally play to a scale called ‘rast’ which has quarter tones on the third and seventh notes. The kawala is another type of Arabic flute with a more rounded sound, produced in part by having a wider bore. This instrument has a most haunting sound usually associated with religious music. The kawala is generally considered to be harder to play than the nay with its different fingering and sound. For this reason it is quite rare for a player to become a master of both instruments.

Reda Sobhy (Rebaba)
Reda is another member of the highly acclaimed Gypsies of the Nile touring group.

The rebaba is a very early form of Violin still in use today. It has 2 strings and is played in the upright position with a bow.

Said Kamal (Violin)
One of Cairo’s top session players, Said is also much in demand as an arranger and since meeting Hossam in 2001 has featured on all his recordings.

Osama El Hendy (Accordion)
One of Hossam’s dearest friends and musical collaborators Osama is fast becoming one of Cairo’s top record producers with his name constantly appearing in the Egyptian charts.

The egyptian accordion is a standard accordion (usually Italian or German) that has been modified by filing down some of the reeds to create the quartertone scales used in
Egyptian music.

Hazem ShaheenHazem Shaheen (Aud)
Hazem was born in Alexandria where he studied at the Arab Institute of Music graduating with the highest honours. He is currently the leading teacher in Cairo’s highly respected ‘House of Aud’ music school and has been voted best Aud player in the Middle East several years running. His playing is well known throughout the region through his live and recorded performances.

The aud (oud, ud ) is the direct ancestor of the lute, the main difference being a lack of frets. It has 11 strings arranged as 5 pairs with a single bass
string. In ancient Egypt it was known as the Nefer and is regarded to this day as the Sultan or ‘King’ of musical instruments.

Grant YoungGrant Young (Fretless bass)
Grant has been adding his distinctive style to Phil’s music since they first met in the early 1980’s as well as performing live with many bands playing everything from soul to punk rock including the Teenbeats (Number 1 in Canadian charts)

Ethnic Instruments 
Click here for more details of
ethnic instruments used on my recordings

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