This February, Songlines, the definitive world music magazine, returns to the Elgar Room for a special evening of exquisite Middle Eastern rhythms.

Headlining the evening are Egyptian duo, Tarek Abdallah & Adel Shams el Din, whose last album Wasla was one of Songlines’ best albums of 2015, and who are currently nominated for Best Group in the magazine’s upcoming 2016 Music Awards.

Songlines’ Editor, Simon Broughton describes the duo’s latest album as, “a statement of faith in the contemporary power of traditional Arabic music – creating large suites, or wasla, around particular maqams (Eastern modes).”

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. In addition to performing, Tarek has taught in various notable educational institutions around the world and also runs regular oud workshops in Germany and France. He has a Master’s degree in Musicology from the University Lumière Lyon and is currently working on his PhD.

Adel Shams El Din, the duo’s second half, provides deft and dynamic accompaniment on the riq (a classical Arabic tambourine). El Din is extremely well versed in both the classical and the popular rhythms of various Arab traditions, and throughout his career has collaborated with many masters of the genre.

“Tarek’s playing is controlled, fluid, virtuosic and dynamic whilst the interplay with the riq is mesmerising and sure-footed and has the hallmarks of a great partnership reminding me at times of the great interplay between the Indian musicians Ravi Shankar and Alla Rakha. (…) Timeless and enthralling, I expect to be still listening to this in years to come.”
fRoots Magazine

Support will come from virtuoso Syrian musician Maya Youssef, whose innovative approach to playing the kanun, originally a traditional instrument, has expanded her audiences to international platforms and gained her significant critical acclaim.

Tarek Abdallah & Adel Shams el Din will play the Elgar Room on Monday 15 February. Visit the event page for more information and to book tickets.