This November, Le Guess Who? will feature a rare performance (their first European show in over 15 years) of Egypt’s Mazaher: a small group of mostly women musicians and singers who play Zar music: chanting songs and playing hypnotic polyrhythms used in a ceremonial event to cleanse the spirits and to clear away illness and discomfort.
We very much want to introduce you to the Egyptian ensemble, but figured that Nadah El Shazly is in a much better position to do so, since her connection to the group goes back much further. Nadah El Shazly is a producer, vocalist and sound artist from Cairo who previously performed at Le Guess Who? 2017, as part of Jerusalem In My Heart’s curation. She visited and spoke to the ensemble at Makan, Egyptian Center for Culture and Arts in Cairo.
Words & audio by Nadah El Shazly
Mazaher footage courtesy of Ajabu! Records