On Monday 15 February the Hall was delighted to welcome Songlines, the definitive world music magazine, back to the Elgar Room for a special evening of exquisite Middle Eastern rhythms.

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Headlining the evening were Egyptian duo Tarek Abdallah and Adel Shams el Din, whose intricate, masterful performance captivated a sold out audience within the atmospherically lit surroundings of the Elgar Room. The pair performed tracks from their newest album Wasla, which was chosen as one of Songlines’ best albums of 2015.

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Tarek Abdallah is widely regarded as one of the world’s best players of the oud – a stringed, lute-like instrument hailing from the Middle East. He has a Master’s degree in Musicology from the University Lumière Lyon in France and runs regular oud workshops in various notable educational institutions around the world. He regularly collaborates with Adel Shams El Din, who excels at providing deft and dynamic accompaniment on the riq (a classical Arabic tambourine).

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Support came from UK-based Syrian musician Maya Youssef, whose uniquely innovative approach to playing the kanun, a string, harp-like instrument, has gained her significant critical acclaim. She showcased her exceptional talent to a rapt crowd, weaving intricate melodies out of both contemporary and traditional motifs.

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All photos: Sarah Ginn , 2016