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Egyptian formations Teryola and Trio Abozekrys in Germany's Arabic Music Days

Egyptian musicians are taking part in the five-day-long Arabic Music Days, curated by renowned Iraqi oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma and held at Pierre Boulez Hall in Berlin, Germany.

Teryola [top L], Trio Abozekrys [bottom L], Naseer Shamma, Iraqi oud virtuoso and curator of Arabic Music Days [top R], Gharbi Twins Trio [middle R], Maqamat Trio [bottom R]

Arabic Music Days is taking place from 1 till 5 March, presenting one ensemble from the Arab world daily.

Focusing on trios, the participating artists include renowned names from the region presenting Arab and Persian music. 

Among the programme highlights is Iraqi composer and oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma, who is also curating the event. His trio is scheduled to perform on 4 March.

Egypt is represented by two trios: Teryola and Trio Abozekrys.

A brand new formation, Teryola's lineup includes Hany Elbadry on ney, Mohamed Essam on piano and Mohamed Arafa on percussions. Their Germany concert will mark the official launch of the ensemble that presents mostly compositions by Elbadry in addition to other works.

Hany Hamed Elbadry is among the leading Egyptian musicians specialised in playing the ney, an end-blown flute and one of the oldest instruments in Arabic musical culture. For over three decades, Elbadry has developed a unique technique for the instrument and composed over 100 works featuring the ney. Today, as part of teaching the ney, Elbadry continues to join numerous formations performing a variety of music genres and adding a one-of-a-kind flavour to the performance.

From Shahinaz and Noun to Longa Hojaz and Jeharkah Fantasy, the Teryola will play eight of Elbadry's compositions topped with the arrangements of Enta Omry by Mohamed Abdel-Wahab, Just in the Memory by Mohamed Fouad, and Sands by Ahmad Hassan.

Another Egyptian formation included in the Arabic Music Days' programming is the Abozekry Trio, founded by Egyptian oud player Mohamed Abozekry, who over the past years has been performing with different formations that often carry his name, and fuse jazz with Oriental tunes. Among his most recent projects is the Abozekry Sextet, with which he performed at the Cairo Opera House last January.

A graduate of Beit El-Oud (The House of Oud) where he studied with Naseer Shamma, and the Lyon Academy of Music, Abozekry has created several imprints in the Egyptian music scene over the past decade. In 2010, he formed a band called Karkade with which he explores fusions of popular and classical music alongside Sufi calls and secular poetry.

A brainchild of renowned Iraqi oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma, the Arabic Music Days held at the Pierre Boules Hall in Berlin, Germany, is a recurring initiative, which in its current season has been extended from three to five days, giving an opportunity to a larger number of musicians to showcase their work. 

Shamma's concert on 4 March will also mark the fifth anniversary of the Hall's opening. 

Born in the southern city of Kut, Iraq, Shamma began his journey with oud at the age of 11 and then graduated from the Baghdad Academy of Music in 1987. During Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, he fled Iraq in the early 1990s to Cairo, where he founded the House of Oud, which until today remains the leading oud educational institution in the country, extending to teaching other Oriental instruments.

Shamma has been performing in Egypt, in the Arab region and across the world for many decades, attracting widespread attention from regular listeners as well as music academics. He has garnered over 60 awards, including the Royal British Academy Award for Best Artist in Iraq in 1994 and 1998 and the Rotterdam Arab Music Festival award. 

Apart from creating music, Shamma is involved in a vast range of humanitarian works and has been credited for his activities with the 2012 International Gusi Prize. He has been assigned the Ambassador of the Iraqi Red Crescent, Ambassador of the International Non-Violence Association, and continues to serve as the UNESCO Artist for Peace and a goodwill ambassador to the International Red Crescent and Red Cross societies.

Aside from Shamma and the two Egyptian trios, Arabic Music Days will also feature other Arab musicians including Maqamat Trio, consisting of Anwar Abudragh (djoza, oud, vocals), Sulafa Haddad (piano) and Hussein Firat Fadhil (percussions); as well as Gharbi Twins Trio.

The musical offerings will be complemented with an online exhibition showcasing works by visual artists Jaber Alwan (Iraq) and Nja Mahdaoui (Tunisia).

"In a specially produced video presentation, Omani poet Saif Al-Rahbi will read from his works. Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania’s Oscar-nominated film The Man Who Sold His Skin will be available for streaming," reads the event's description.

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