Music Matbakh Cooks Up an Amazing Show

الأربعاء 25 تموز 2007

musicmatbakh

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

  • Hello Roba… I have had the pleassure of reading your blog, & everyone in Music Matbakh has the link to your blog since it was circulated via email.

    I believe in playing music publically one has to get across different comments by people… hence I wonder how come I have been commended for my stage presence by famed musicians, producers, and members of the audience in UK, Morrocco, Amman, Damascus, and London (and before that in Algeria & Berlin) – whereas I find a criticism here about it?

    One person I know told me that she didn’t like the fact that I put my hands in my pockets sometimes during one of the pieces – it was misinterpreted as lack of confidence, but of course it is the fact that the concert was so alive and beautiful that there was no need for pretence or acting. One of the major recipes for capturing an audience is simply singing and performing the way you feel without being self conscious, and that’s how it was.

    The Jordanian audience is a sensetive one, that’s why the Jordan gig was described by some of the musicians taking part as a “warm” one. The nature of the Jordanian audience is down to earth, and appreciative of what is original and unconventional. This is the plight of alternative Arab musicians who refuse to immitate popular, or crappy commercial, trends.

    In my career, I stand tall and stick to everything I do as a form of free self expression. I am against self censorship, and I try my best to escape blind social conditioning that tells you you have to look, act, sing, perform, or live a certain way – a way that appeals to others. We have been born free to express ourselves freely, and the more in tune we are with who we are the more influence we have over people around us, because there is nothing more powerful in life than authenticity, integrity and honesty. For about such views you can visit http://www.freemuse.org/sw17419.asp

    I am glad you had a good time at Music Matbakh concert. As musicians, we had a blast. It was one of the most enjoyable and electrifying gigs we ever gave.

    Cheers,
    Ruba

  • Hello Roba… I have had the pleassure of reading your blog, & everyone in Music Matbakh has the link to your blog since it was circulated via email.

    I believe in playing music publically one has to get across different comments by people… hence I wonder how come I have been commended for my stage presence by famed musicians, producers, and members of the audience in UK, Morrocco, Amman, Damascus, and London (and before that in Algeria & Berlin) – whereas I find a criticism here about it?

    One person I know told me that she didn’t like the fact that I put my hands in my pockets sometimes during one of the pieces – it was misinterpreted as lack of confidence, but of course it is the fact that the concert was so alive and beautiful that there was no need for pretence or acting. One of the major recipes for capturing an audience is simply singing and performing the way you feel without being self conscious, and that’s how it was.

    The Jordanian audience is a sensetive one, that’s why the Jordan gig was described by some of the musicians taking part as a “warm” one. The nature of the Jordanian audience is down to earth, and appreciative of what is original and unconventional. This is the plight of alternative Arab musicians who refuse to immitate popular, or crappy commercial, trends.

    In my career, I stand tall and stick to everything I do as a form of free self expression. I am against self censorship, and I try my best to escape blind social conditioning that tells you you have to look, act, sing, perform, or live a certain way – a way that appeals to others. We have been born free to express ourselves freely, and the more in tune we are with who we are the more influence we have over people around us, because there is nothing more powerful in life than authenticity, integrity and honesty. For about such views you can visit http://www.freemuse.org/sw17419.asp

    I am glad you had a good time at Music Matbakh concert. As musicians, we had a blast. It was one of the most enjoyable and electrifying gigs we ever gave.

    Cheers,
    Ruba

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  • Hi, 

    Thanks guys for giving information about Music Matbakh Cooks Up an Amazing Show.

  • Hi, 

    Thanks guys for giving information about Music Matbakh Cooks Up an Amazing Show.