Baladi Blues Ensemble + The Ayoub Sisters

Date:Fri 15 Feb
Price:£17 adv (£11.50 under 16)

Part of Ahbab Festival 2019

The Baladi Blues Ensemble plays the urban Egyptian dance music known as Baladi. Their music echoes the urban sophistication and pace of 1950’s Cairo - all presented with a charming and enigmatic stage presence. Soulful accordion and saxophone improvisations, energised by powerful AfroEgyptian percussion give the Baladi Blues Ensemble its distinctive sound. Leading the group is the charismatic percussionist, dancer and record producer Guy Schalom, described as "one of the most interesting and versatile percussionists working in the UK today" (fROOTS).

Guy Schalom is best known for his work with Klezmer-revivalists the Other Europeans, The Klezmatics, Frank London and David Krakauer as well as Egyptian stars Natacha Atlas, the Musicians of the Nile, Mahmoud Fadl and Suraya Hilal. In the Baladi Blues Ensemble, Guy unites some of Egypt's most celebrated master musicians: quarter-tone accordionist and Baladi expert Gamal el Kordi, legendary Nubian saxophonist Ahmed El Saidi and master percussionist Aly el Minyawi. The band is augmented by UK frame drum wizard Adam Warne. Nominated for Best Group in the Songlines Music Awards 2013, they were featured in the BBC documentary “Bellydancing and the Blues” (which Guy himself presented) and we're a hit at WOMAD 2013.

They have released three CDs to date. Their debut, Baladi Blues, was described by fROOTS magazine as “Outstanding, fresh and compelling as well as technically superb”.

Plus The Ayoub Sisters


Since making their Royal Albert Hall debut in 2016, Scottish – Egyptian sisters Sarah and Laura Ayoub have had a meteoric start to their career. Discovered by Mark Ronson and now signed to Decca Records in partnership with Classic FM; the multi-instrumentalist sisters recorded their debut album with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the world-renowned Abbey Road Studios. Their album debuted at No.1 in the Official Classical Artist Albums Chart.

The duo have performed across the UK, Europe, Middle East and Asia with highlights including appearances at the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, London Palladium, The Embassy of Egypt, The Cairo Opera House, touring with choirmaster Gareth Malone and a record-breaking debut in China of 13 performances in 4 days. This year the sisters performed the Egyptian National Anthem at the closing ceremony of the World Youth Forum held in Sharm el Sheikh. They were also recipients of the WYF award, which was presented by H.E President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

The multi-award winning sisters made their live television debut, performing their own arrangement of George Michael's 'Mother's Pride' at the BAFTAs. That single, along with each single the sisters have ever released reached the top of the iTunes chart within minutes. This year, the sisters made their BBC Proms debut performing live on BBC 1 at Proms in the Park, Glasgow.

Classic Brit and Global Award nominees, Infinitime Music, Young Scot Award and WYF winners, The Ayoub Sisters are fast becoming the sound and faces of a truly exciting new generation of classical and crossover artists.

The sisters will be joined on stage by guitarist Giulio Romano Malaisi and percussionist Daniele Antenucci.


Plus special guests Millennial Percussion

Artistic Director Adrian Spillett

Millennial Percussion is made up of students from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Percussion Department.  They have recently been performed in Brazil with the Bahia Orchestra Project (Neojiba), won 3rd prize in the Taiwan International Percussion Convention Competition as well as having performed Steve Reich’s Drumming, Music for Mallets, Voices & Organ, Six Marimbas, Xenakis’ Persephassa, Ishii’s Concertante  and Eliasson’s Kimmo at the prestigious CBSO Centre Stage Series platform.


The 4th Ahbab Festival returns to Cambridge for Valentine's weekend 2019 to celebrate Middle Eastern and North African Culture in music, film and discussion with a broad selection of artists from an even broader geography.  

Why not grab a bite to eat whilst you're here? Click HERE to download the menu from Bedouin Caterers
Food served Friday: from 5pm to 10pm | Saturday: 12 to 10pm | Sunday: 2pm to 9pm

Supported by Arts Council England

“Schalom has just the right touch” All About Jazz

“Absolutely spot on” fROOTS

“Masterful…” Songlines

“Baladi isn't just a dance style, it's a culture” Hossam Ramzy

Box office and bar open from 7pm. Show starts 8pm.

Under 14s must be accompanied by an adult.

All prices shown include booking fees.