Music Matbakh Cooks Up an Amazing Show

الأربعاء 25 تموز 2007


Written by Roba Assi

Recently, I attended one of the best musical performances I have ever been to in my life; Music Matbakh (which means music kitchen in Arabic), a performance featuring musicians from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and the UK. The lineup combined traditional and cutting-edge, bringing together ancient Arabic traditions with hip-hop and electronica. They were playing the oud and the nai, mawaweel and singing in Bedouin accents, with drummers and electronica masters, rappers and MCs.

I haven’t enjoyed myself so much in so long.

The musicale ensemble included:

Mohamed Medhat on the violin from Egypt: he probably performed my favorite bits. I really love the violin, it is the only instrument that affects my senses, and he is an absolutely wonderful player.

Ousso on the guitar, also from Egypt: the first thing I heard today was an excited Y saying that Ousso was the best guitarist she has ever heard live in her life. I agree.

Yacoub Abu Ghosh on the bass guitar from Jordan: as I was watching Yacoub play, I was remembering the first time I saw Sign of Thyme play live. I fell in love with their Ammanite-flavored music then, and over the past 3 years, I have tried to attend as many of their concerts as possible.

Ruba Saqr, vocals, from Jordan: I have never listened to anything by Ruba Saqr before, and I was quite impressed by her singing. She really does have a beautiful voice, though she needs to work on her stage presence. Ruba performed in some of my favorite pieces, and her Sadaqa piece was absolutely gorgeous.

Asma, vocals, from Lebanon

RGB, vocals, from Lebanon: Arabic rap is at its peak these years. In the past several months, I have been to many Arabic rap performances, and I daresay that RGB was the best one out of the lot of Arabic rappers, even better than DAM.

Essam Rafea on the oud, from Syria

Moslem Rahhal on the nay, from Syria

Hicham Bajjou, vocals, from Morocco: Hicham was my favorite performer in Music Matbakh; his energy, his eclecticism, and his charisma on stage were absolutely brilliant.

Skander Besbes on electronics, from Tunisia.

Lotfi Soua on percussion, from Tunisia.

Andrew McCormack on keyboards, from the UK.

Leo Taylor on drums, from the UK.

My favorite pieces were Tahmil, featuring brilliant solos by some of the musicians, Sadaqa, and Highway.

I’d definitely recommend that you go check the Music Matbakh out if you can, here’s their schedule for the next few weeks:

Jul 24 2007 8:00P
Azem Palace, Damascus, Syria, Damascus
Aug 10 2007 8:00P
SOS Music Festival, Marina, North Coast, Egypt, Alexandria
Aug 16 2007 8:00P
Tabarka World Music Festival, Basilica, Tunisia, Tunis

Does anyone know if there will be a CD available? That’s definitely a CD I want to own.

Pictures by Lina and video by Khobbeizeh

More links:
– Pictures and commentary by Lina Ejeilat
– Pictures by Mazen
– Pictures and more opinions by Khobbeizeh

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