Oxford Maqam Big Band concerts present a selection of Egyptian film classics from the 1950s and 1960s with recreations of the original jazz orchestrations by Andrea Rider, Ali Ismail and Kamal al-Tawil for a 16 piece takht (traditional Arabic ensemble, vocalists, oud, qanun, violin, riqq) plus the jazz big band. The originals have long since been lost, and contemporary performances in the Arab world have effectively turned these into classical music, lacking the Latin and jazz sounds of that particular era. Or they have simply been forgotten. As well as being an incredibly rare opportunity to hear this music performed live and from such gifted musicians, these concerts also remind us of the progressive feel of songs of Abd al-Halim Hafiz, Shadia and others too often thought of today, simply, as ‘tradition’.
These concerts bring OM together with London’s top jazz musicians, William South, Oli Steadman, Tom Hodgson, Dan Woodfield and others to present incredible live concerts.