Nadah El Shazly

Nadah El Shazly is an experimental Egyptian singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer. Her work both radically reinvents the popular music of her homeland from the early 20th century and explores new sonic and harmonic frontiers. As a preschooler, El Shazly began taking piano lessons and studying music at the insistence of her mother. In addition, she also undertook soprano vocal training. At 17 she fronted the band Sick Gdrch, a punk band that specialized in covers by the Misfits. In 2009, refusing to be bound by a single genre, El Shazly pursued gigs as a singer in a jazz covers band at Cairo hotels. Before long, however, she made her first concentrated efforts at electronica with Shorba, a short-lived but beloved cult band. She took part in many projects on Egypt’s tight-knit but endlessly creative indie scene, where its musicians, regardless of genre, influence one another. 

El Shazly began making a name for herself with her electronic productions. In late 2015 she began working on her debut album. She produced the date herself and enlisted keyboardist/guitarist Maurice Louca (of indie music supergroup Lekhfa) and Sam Shalabi, two-thirds of the Dwarfs of East Agouza. Working both in Egypt and Montreal the album, comprised of five originals and a radically re-visioned cover of Sayyid Darwish’s 1940s pop standard “Ana ‘Ishiqt (I Once Loved),” the set was completed with a large cast of reed, woodwind, string, and percussion players. It was released as Ahwar in November of 2017 via Nawa Recordings, and received universal acclaim from the press; it also made numerous year-end best-of lists.

Whereas El Shazly started as a solo live artist, she went on to form a full band to accompany her in Europe and the Arab World, including Swedish brothers Konrad and Mauritz Agnas on drums and upright bass and Cherif El-Masri, also known under his solo moniker Tarkamt, on guitar, keys and electronics.

After playing numerous festivals such as Supersonic Festival (UK), Le Guess Who? Festival (NL), Rewire Festival (NL), Donaufestival (AT), CTM Festival (DE), Irtijal Festival (LB) and curating part of Brussels BRDCST Festival in 2019, Nadah set off on extensive US touring, this time with North America based musicians such as Thierry Amar (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) on double bass along with saxophonist / drummer / synth player Devin Brahja Waldman (Patti Smith, William Parker, and Thurston Moore, Brahja, etc.), and double bassist Shayna Dulberger (TheKillMeTrio, The Basement Recordings, Ache and Flutter) .

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