Tamer Abu Ghazaleh’s third album Thulth out worldwide on Friday 26 August

Tony Elieh 2Mostakell announces the release of Cairo-based Palestinian artist Tamer Abu Ghazaleh’s album Thulth (Arabic for third) worldwide on Friday 26 August 2016. A much anticipated comeback since the release of his sophomore album Mir’ah (Mirror) in 2008, Thulth melds virtuosity with fierce experimentation in composition, songwriting and performance.

Even though the essence of their words isn’t grasped by non-Arabic speakers, Ghazaleh’s delivery underlines their dark, stark and confrontational qualities, shot out with a passionate involvement. His sometime accompaniment on the trebly buzuq cuts through the band’s wall of sound, lending the air of a disruptive troubadour.The Wire

The album’s nine tracks sum up to take the listener on a journey that shifts in moods; from frenzied to melodic and upbeat to subdued. On the shifts in style and form found in his long-awaited third album, Abu Ghazaleh explains “if Thulth were a calendar, I can safely say it’s a decade’s compilation of my 20s”.

In the track Hob (love), featuring a text by seventh century bedouin poet Qays ibn al-Mulawwah, Abu Ghazaleh takes the love lament and imbues it with the fury and restlessness rarely found in Arabic music. El Balla’at (manholes), with abstract lyrics by Abu Ghazaleh expressing mockery and disenchantment, concludes the album as a fast paced, Mahraganat inspired track with folky Palestinian influences and a minimalist oud outro.

LISTEN TO “HOB” & El BALLA’AT

A cross-genre composer, producer and a prolific collaborator born in Cairo to a Palestinian family, in 2012 Abu Ghazaleh co-founded the critically acclaimed alternative band Alif with Maurice Louca and Khyam Allami. In 2007, he founded the pioneering independent music organisation eka3 as an incubator for Arabic music businesses. With his sold out shows in the region in the past decade and industry achievements on services that hardly existed in the region beforehand, today Abu Ghazaleh stands out as a key figure in a bustling alternative music scene across the Arab region.

The region’s musical movement provided a lot of room for challenges and learning, without which I could not have moved forward; especially that the region lacks structure for alternative music genres, which makes this movement a rare source of optimism for anyone working outside of mainstream pop.Tamer Abu Ghazaleh

Whether penned by him with his trademark sharp satire and sociopolitical commentary, or borrowed from a distinct choice of contemporary poets, Abu Ghazaleh is drawn to texts for their linguistic charm and the rhythmical challenge of setting them into song, which he brings to life with vocal prowess, lush harmonies and gutsy modal twisting.

With Abu Ghazaleh on oud and vocals, Khyam Allami on drums, Shadi El-Hosseiny on piano and Mahmoud Waly on bass, Thulth takes the live show instrumentation to more lush and complex grounds with the addition of percussions (Khaled Yassine), melodica, Rhodes, buzuq, harmonium, synth keys, backing vocals and electronics.

Thulth was composed, arranged & produced by Tamer Abu Ghazaleh. Sound production, recording and mixing by Khyam Allami at One Hertz Studios in April 2016 (Beirut, Lebanon). Mastered by John Dent at Loud Mastering Studios (Bristol, UK). Cover artwork, featuring an altered portrait of Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, was produced with art direction by Omar Mostafa and Maryam Saleh, and photography, illustration and design by Omar Mostafa.

For more information contact Sarah El Miniawy sarah@simsara.me / +46 700518160.

Notes to Editors

Tamer Abu Ghazaleh biography

From Cairo’s streets, cabs & buses, mosque loudspeakers and its street cafes, I was involuntarily soaked in classical Arabic music and maqam since childhood. Experiencing the second Intifada in Palestine during high school had a counter-effect, where everything that made sense broke into pieces, and reality was real enough despite universal logic. I feel my musical curiosities followed the same route.Abu Ghazaleh

A prolific collaborator, in 2012 Tamer Abu Ghazaleh co-founded the critically acclaimed alternative band Alif with Maurice Louca and Khyam Allami; produced Maryam Saleh’s debut album Mesh Baghanny in 2012; collaborated with Yacoub Abu Ghosh on his album As Blue as the Rivers of Amman in 2011; started the cross-genre group Kazamada in 2010 with Zeid Hamdan, Mahmoud Radaideh and Donia Massoud; released Thawret Ala’ (Revolution of Anxiety), a collaborative piece of musical theatre performed by Al-Tamye Theatre Group in 2008; worked with Palestinian and Egyptian artists on Jehar with Huda Asfour; collaborated in Duo Buzuq with Rabea Jubran and in Kalam Mazzika with Salam Yousry and performed on Khaled Jubran’s Psalms in 2005.

Abu Ghazaleh produced his second album Mir’ah (Mirror) in 2006 when he was 20 years old, eventually releasing it in 2008. The record’s seven turbulent, and sometimes frenzied songs were written during the unrest of the second Intifada. Composed during curfews, they were informed by the unreal experience of living in Palestine during that period. His first album, Janayen El Ghona (gardens of song) was released in 2001 encompassing songs he produced between the ages of five and 15. In 1991, Abu Ghazaleh released his first single, Ma Fi Khof (no fear) that went on to be widely chanted in protests during the first intifada.

In 2007, he founded the pioneering independent music organisation eka3 as an incubator for Arabic music businesses, currently housing a record label (Mostakell), a booking agency (Almoharek), a music reviews magazine (Ma3azef.com), a music licensing agency (Awyav) and a music PR and communications agency (Simsara) – services that hardly existed in the region before the advent of eka3. Consequently, Abu Ghazaleh has had to take a step back from producing his own albums for eight years, only to re-emerge in 2016 with the much anticipated Thulth, released via Mostakell on 29 May 2016 in the Arab world and due to be release worldwide on Friday 26 August 2016.

Abu Ghazaleh was born in Cairo in 1986 to a Palestinian family. He started singing and performing at the age of two, and composing at the age of nine. In 1998 he started his music education at the National Conservatory of Music in Ramallah (now Edward Said Conservatory). There he studied oud, buzuq, music theory, history, analysis, composition, arrangement and performance, under the supervision of renowned Palestinian musician Khaled Jubran.

Album track credits

  1. Fajrolbeed – Poem (Ramez Farag) / Oud, Buzuq, vocals, backing vocals (Tamer Abu Ghazaleh) / Piano, Rhodes (Shadi El Hosseiny) / Bass (Mahmoud Waly) / Drums (Khyam Allami) / Percussions (Khaled Yassine).
  2. Namla – Poem (Tamim Al-Barghouti) / Oud, buzuq, harmonium, vocals, backing vocals (Tamer Abu Ghazaleh) / Piano (Shadi El Hosseiny) / Bass (Mahmoud Waly) / Drums (Khyam Allami) / Percussions (Khaled Yassine).
  3. El Ghareeb – Poem (Ramez Farag) / Oud, buzuq, harmonium, vocals, backing vocals (Tamer Abu Ghazaleh) / Piano (Shadi El Hosseiny) / Bass (Mahmoud Waly / Drums (Khyam Allami) / Percussions (Khaled Yassine).
  4. Hob – Poem (Qais Ibnul Mulawah) / Oud, vocals, backing vocals (Tamer Abu Ghazaleh) / Piano, melodica (Shadi El Hosseiny) / Bass (Mahmoud Waly) / Drums (Khyam Allami).
  5. Alameh – Poem (Ramez Farag) / Oud, vocals, backing vocals (Tamer Abu Ghazaleh) / Piano, rhodes, melodica (Shadi El Hosseiny) / Bass (Mahmoud Waly) / Drums (Khyam Allami).
  6. Khabar Ajel – Lyrics, oud, buzuq, synth keys, vocals, backing vocals, electronics (Tamer Abu Ghazaleh) / Piano (Shadi El Hosseiny) / Bass (Mahmoud Waly) / Drums (Khyam Allami) / Percussions (Khaled Yassine).
  7. Helm – Poem (Naguib Sorour) / Oud, vocals, backing vocals (Tamer Abu Ghazaleh) / Piano (Shadi El Hosseiny) / Bass (Mahmoud Waly) / Drums (Khyam Allami).
  8. Takhabot – Lyrics, oud, vocals, backing vocals (Tamer Abu Ghazaleh) / Piano, melodica (Shadi El Hosseiny) / Bass (Mahmoud Waly) / Drums (Khyam Allami).
  9. El Balla’at – Lyrics, oud, buzuq, synth keys, vocals, backing vocals, electronics (Tamer Abu Ghazaleh) / Piano (Shadi El Hosseiny) / Bass (Mahmoud Waly) / Drums (Khyam Allami) / Percussions (Khaled Yassine).