Egyptian 9-member ensemble sates itself on Sun Ra inspired (cosmic) jazz
Cairo born musician/composer Maurice Louca is without a doubt a key figure in the experimental music scene in Egypt. What’s more: He launched various projects in recent years, ones that resonated internationally each time. He also contributed to Nadah El Shazly’s impressive debut and was a part of the The Dwarfs Of East Agouza, with the likes of Sun City Girls’ Alan Bishop. He delivered a brilliant album with singer Maryam Saleh, under the name ‘Lekhfa’, that was described by The Guardian as ‘a triumph’ and received a *****-rating.
With ‘Elephantine’, Louca delivers his most impressive and most prestigious work to date. ‘An Arab take on Sun Ra’ someone correctly whispered in our ear. Mojo gave the album a 4-star rating right away and wrote: ‘Elephantine’ is a dazzling, trance-like triumph.’ Without losing sight of the rhythm, Louca fully flirts with avant-, free- and cosmic-jazz, and African music too. Louca reveals himself to be a true band leader, even though he thought that ‘this idea of writing for bigger bands was reserved only for the Frank Zappas of the world.’
Cairo’s New Wave curated by Nadah El Shazly
The release of ‘Ahwar‘ – the 2017 debut by Egyptian singer/producer/composer Nadah El Shazly – not only delivered a brilliant album, but actually brought to light an extremely exciting music scene. Leading monthly mag The Wire even dedicated a cover piece to it, with as title: Cairo’s New Wave. However, it was her own contemporary mixtape, created for that same mag, that hit us with that outright musical uppercut. It contained an unexpected but superb mix of modern Arabian music, jazz, noise, hip-hop, psychedelica and experimental electro.
It led to us asking Nadah El Shazly to come translate her mixtape live on stage at BRDCST. The result: a deep dive into the musical avant-garde of the Cairo underground.