Taksir Sharqi means oriental ‘breaks’. Coming from the word broken, taksir refers to broken rhythms, said Ahmed Omran, the founder and mastermind leading the band. The word truly reflects their music: chains of musical statements interwoven with other harmonious melodies into a sound unlike anything heard in recent musical creations.
The band holds regular performances at Makan in Downtown Cairo, and already has a devoted audience and fanbase that follows them wherever they go to perform.
In some of their performances abroad, they were referred to as Taksir Sharqi, so they decided to go with the name, at least for a while.
The band started jamming at the Egyptian Centre for Culture and Arts – Makan, which opened its doors to musicians, particularly those reviving the heritage of deep-rooted Egyptian folklore music and ballads. The vibes and warm lights of the place, despite a rather confined space, give a sense of heritage and originality that only goes to enhance the band’s spirit. “The walls themselves tell a story,” said Ahmed Maghraby, owner of the venue who opened the spot particularly for the mission of fostering innovative initiatives at recreating original Egyptian culture.
Ahmed Omran (playing electric oud), Amin Shahin (playing argoul and kawala), and Walid Abdou (percussions) have been jamming together for years before they invited other members of the group to join and add their own flavour to the music around August 2017.
Some of them are seasoned musicians playing with other bands, like Omran, who plays with the band West El-Balad; Amin, who has travelled the world performing at international festivals; Walid, who plays with Bashir. Some of them are fresh musicians like Abdullah Magdy (electric guitar), who said he has not played with well-known names before.
“But that’s just the beauty of it,” said Abdullah. “It doesn’t make a difference to them whether we’re famous names or not, and our opinions are important all the same.”
Om Sameh has been performing her Mazaher Ensemble for 18 years at Makan with a wide base of followers herself. Recently joining the band, her notes have gained a different taste, adding her own touch as they jammed, with a Sudanese-Egyptian beat that adds a lively touch to the otherwise instrumental music.
Folklore and spiritual chants singer Abdelrahman Balala had produced his own cassettes in the 1980s and travelled the world performing with his unerring strong and melodious vocal tones to Arab communities and festivals in Vienna, Italy and other places. His vocal performances are a mark and a usually pleasant and unexpected surprise to the audience who interact with him the most.
Finally, there’s Wael El-Sayed, a genius accordion player originally from Alexandria who moved to Cairo and played with almost every great musical band currently on the scene in Egypt.
They all have their intriguing stories, which are one thing, and listening to their music is another.
Watch a small video about Taksir’s music on Daily News Egypt’s YouTube channel, and join them at their upcoming concert at Darb 1718 or follow their Facebook page @taksirsharqi for their schedule of performances.