Improvised music and silent movies
In September 2016, after hearing an improvised solo by Tony Elieh accompanying George Méliès’ film LE PALAIS DES MILLE ET UNE NUITS, musician Sharif Sehnaoui came up with the idea of curating a programme of Méliès’ films accompanied by solos by various musicians. Several months later, after watching the entire collection of available Méliès films, Sehnaoui selected a shortlist of around thirty films that he submitted to all participating musicians. They could select either a single film or a combination of shorter films. This resulted in the following programme.
Le diable au couvent (1899)
Nouvelles luttes extravagantes (1900)
Sharif Sehnaoui (electric guitar)
Le voyage dans la lune (1902)
Khyam Allami (synthesizer, oud)
Voyage à travers l’impossible (1904)
Magda Mayas (piano)
Les quat’ cents farces du diable (1906)
Tony Elieh (electric bass, electronics)
Deux cent milles lieux sous les mers ou le cauchemar du pêcheur (1907)
Abed Kobeissy (buzuk, electronics)
Éclipse du soleil en pleine lune (1907)
Sharif Sehnaoui (electric guitar)
Sharif Sehnaoui was born in Beirut in 1976 and is a guitarist. He plays both electric and acoustic guitar using a variety of techniques. Along with Mazen Kerbaj he created Irtijal in 2000, a yearly international festival that is the oldest experimental music festival in the Arab world.
His main groups and projects include the A Trio (with Mazen Kerbaj & Raed Yassin), and Karkhana, a Middle-Eastern based super-group combining musicians from Beirut, Cairo and Istanbul. Sehnaoui also works extensively with dance and theatre and composes music for film.
Khyam Allami was born in 1981 into an Iraqi family in Damascus, Syria. The family relocated to London in 1990. After playing drums in a punk band for several years, in 2004 Allami began to study the oud, Iraqi music, and Arabic music theory. He took an Ethnomusicology course and then studied Music Performance at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Khyam Allami is multi-instrumentalist who performs internationally as both a soloist and ensemble member, mostly playing the oud and drums. He is also a composer and has started his own label, Nawa recordings.
Magda Mayas was born in 1979. She studied Jazz Piano at Berlin University of the Arts from 1999 to 2001, and at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam under Misha Mengelberg in 2001. In 2004 she completed diploma studies in Jazz Piano Performance at the Hochschule für Musik ‘Hanns Eisler’ in Berlin under Georg Gräwe. Over the past twenty years, Magda Mayas has developed a vocabulary incorporating both the inside as well as the exterior parts of the piano, using electronic amplification, preparations and objects that become extensions of the instrument itself. She is currently undertaking PhD studies at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, investigating instrumental techniques, timbre and spatiality in improvised music performance.
Tony Elieh was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1978. He was a member and co-founder of Scrambled Eggs, one of Beirut’s most prolific rock bands until its demise in 2015. Elieh is currently a member of the improvisational experimental ensembles Karkhana and Johnny Kafta’s Anti-Vegetarian Orchestra. In addition to many other projects, he has created soundtracks for Lebanese movie directors, including A PERFECT DAY (2005) and JE VEUX VOIRE (2007) by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige. Tony Elieh also works as a photographer.
Abed Kobeissy was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1982. He studied Musicology at the Université Antoine in Baada, Lebanon. He works as a musician, composer and writer, as well as teaching at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. He also manages the musicology section of the Dawawine arts centre in Beirut. In 2015, along with percussionist Ali Hout, he co-founded the electro-acoustic duo Two or The Dragon, which released their first EP in 2017. They expect to release their first album in 2018. Kobeissy is also a member of the Asil Ensemble for contemporary classical Arabic music, and a composer of film soundtracks as well as for theatre and dance productions.