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