Egyptian singer/producer Nadah El Shazly announces North American dates

Egyptian Singer/Producer/Multi-instrumentalist
Nadah El Shazly

Announces North American Dates

“An artist capable of blending improvisational methods pulled from classical Arabic music and contemporary free-jazz abstraction” — The Wire
Nadah El Shazly is an experimental Egyptian singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer. Her work radically reinvents the popular music of her homeland from the early 20th century, incorporating electronics, free jazz, and noise while pushing all of the above to new sonic and harmonic frontiers. (El Shazly also has a background playing punk, traditional jazz, and electronica.)

She will be touring Canada and the U.S. starting in April, backed on select dates by Godspeed You! Black Emperor‘s Thierry Amar on double bass along with saxophonist / drummer / synth player Devin Brahja Waldman (Patti Smith, William Parker, and Thurston Moore, Brahja, etc.) El Shazly shares the bill on other dates with Danish post-punk outfit Iceage, whose 2018 album Beyondless was celebrated by outlets like Pitchfork, SPIN, and The Quietus.


April 17 – Tone Deaf, Kingston, ON
April 18 – Burdock, Toronto, ON
April 19 – Factory Media Centre, Hamilton, ON
April 21 – Deluxx Fluxx, Detroit, MI
April 23 – Anderson Auditorium, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
April 24 – Blank Forms, Brooklyn, NY
April 28 – Marfa Myths Festival, Marfa, TX
April 30 – Dickens, Calgary, AB *
May 01 – Amigo’s, Saskatoon, AB *
May 02 – Temple, Edmonton, AB *
May 04 – Good Will, Winnipeg, MB *
May 05 – The Aquarium, Fargo, ND *
May 06 – Turf Club, Minneapolis, MN *
May 07 – Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL *
May 08 – Cactus Club, Milwaukee, WI
May 09 – Trumpet Blossom Cafe, Feed Me Weird Things, Iowa City, IA
May 10 – Rozz-Tox, Rock Island, IL
May 14 – Postmasters Gallery, ArteEast, NYC
June 06 – State House, New Haven, CT,
June 08 – Thing In The Spring, Peterborough, NH
June 12 – Casa Del Popolo, Montreal, QC
June 30 – Memphis Concrete Festival, Memphis, TN

* with Iceage


Nadah also wrote an essay on the connections she hears between the “futuristic music of the Arab world from the 1890s to the 1920s” and the “time travel” sensation created by the work of Ornette Coleman. She writes: “I realized that there’s a huge difference between nostalgia and falling in love with something from the past, particularly when its relevance is carried-through over a hundred years later.”

 As a pre-schooler, Shazly began taking piano lessons and studying music at the insistence of her mother — a non-musician. 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, Shazly pursued — and landed — a gig as a singer in a jazz covers band at a Cairo hotel. 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, influenced one another. 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 (third member Alan Bishop did not appear on the recording). Working both in Egypt and Montreal (with engineer Thierry Amar of Godspeed You! Black Emperor) 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, and received universal acclaim from the press; it also made numerous year-end best-of lists. ~ Thom Jurek