Simsara artists


Lekhfa Maurice Louca Maryam Saleh Tamer Abu Ghazaleh © Ruggero Maramotti 4

Maryam Saleh, Maurice Louca and Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, names that have turned heads in alternative Arabic music with solo albums and conspicuous collaborations, with Lekhfa they give birth to an off kilter sound where layers of grit and beauty intertwine in and around the dystopian poems of their contemporary Mido Zoheir. Lekhfa was released via Arab independent label Mostakell worldwide in September 2017 on Vinyl (LP & EP), CD, streaming and digital download:

Each of these three musicians has an impressive history, but their debut album together is an edgy triumph” ***** Robin Denselow, The Guardian

“Every track is just a dream come true” Max Reinhardt, BBC Radio 3’s best 12 albums of 2017



01. Nadah El Shazly photo by Alan Chies 0018

Starting out singing Misfits covers in a local punk band, then moving on to producing her own electronic tracks and making a name for herself in Cairo’s underground scene, Nadah El Shazly’s backstory is not that unusual. Her debut album on the other hand, is an entirely unexpected story. Two years in the making, Ahwar (Arabic for marshlands) is an otherworldly record. Composed, written and produced by El Shazly herself in collaboration with The Dwarfs of East Agouza’s Maurice Louca and Sam Shalabi on co-composition and arrangement duties, the album was crafted across two continents, between Canada and Egypt, and features the crème of Montreal’s contemporary-classical and improvised music scene. Nadah El Shazly’s debut album Ahwar (marshlands) was released on vinyl and digitally via Nawa Recordings worldwide 10 Nov 2017:


Karkhana at OUTSIDE INSIDE STUDIO recording For Seun Mata photo by Matt Bordin

Sharif Sehnaoui (Lebanon): electric guitar
Sam Shalabi (Egypt/Canada): oud, electric guitar
Maurice Louca (Egypt): electric organ, synthesizers, fx
Umut Çağlar (Turkey): double reeds, bamboo flutes, percussion, violin Mazen Kerbaj: trumpet, objects, percussion
Tony Elieh (Lebanon): electric bass, fx
Michael Zerang (USA): drums, cymbals, percussion

Featuring some of the most innovative players from Beirut, Cairo and Istanbul, Karkhana met in Beirut for the first time in February 2014, bringing together influences from the three major experimental music scenes of the region and beyond. Through their live shows, the band’s seven multi-instrumentalists build a transcendental atmosphere full of surprises for the audience and themselves alike, developing what could possibly be called free Middle Eastern music. Shades and traces of shaabi, tarab, sufi and much more are heard in the distinct blend of free jazz and psychedelic they’ve created, as documented in three releases to date – For Seun Matta (Holidays Records, 2017), Nafas (Omlott, 2016) and Live At Metro Al-Madina (Sagittarius A-Star, 2015).

“I wish I could track down more of this tantalising outfit’s music to share… This Middle Eastern supergroup first got together to celebrate the music of Egyptian surf guitarist Omar Khorshid – who was also a key figure in Oum Kalthoum’s orchestra – but their remit has expanded somewhat and now they’re fully committed to outer-perimeter explorations in Krautrock-leaning, cosmic free jazz”John Doran, The Guardian | Latest releases: For Seun Matta & Al Dar Al Hamra



Simsara Music PR & Management is run by Sarah El Miniawy, working closely with an intimate roster of artists and organisations at the forefront of alternative music in the Arab world, including Nadah El Shazly, Maurice Louca, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, Maryam Saleh and Karkhana.

Sarah developed her PR experience working for the Barbican Centre for eight years whilst pursuing a master’s degree in music and anthropology at SOAS. Born in Algiers to an Algerian mother and an Egyptian father, she was brought up between the two countries before moving to London in 2005. Sarah is currently based between Stockholm, Cairo and London.

Simsara currently benefits from incubation support within Eka3 – a Cairo-based music business incubator empowering the market infrastructure necessary for Arabic music to enjoy a sustainable, quality-driven ecosystem, founded in 2007 by Tamer Abu Ghazaleh.



sarah [@] simsara [.] me


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