El Tanbura

Friends of Bamboute album cover Between the Desert and the Sea

El Tanbura are a collective of veteran Egyptian master musicians, singers, fishermen and philosophers. For twenty years they've been custodians to some of Egypt’s oldest folk melodies at their home in Port Said, the Mediterranean gateway to the Suez Canal. Band members dress in an eclectic mix of Gallibiyas and Levis with Gucci sunglasses, Fez and Nike caps. Their music is driven by the seductive call of the Simsimiyya - an ancient lyre dating back to the times of the Pharaohs.

“One of Egypt's great bands”
**** The Guardian
“Buena Vista for Egyptian music”
***** The Independent
“El Tanbura have been playing the music of their native Port Said since the late 80s and it seems that their time has finally come”
“Rousing rebel music and spiritual Sufi-inspired songs”
**** London Evening Standard
“A lusty flavour of Suez life”
The Times
“Home-made entertainment with global appeal”
The Telegraph
“The band‘s charm and appeal lies in a mixture of the sacred and the profane. They are streetwise characters, yet consummate musicians. They bewitch the audience with devotional chanting and then break the spell with some exuberant, laddish dancing”
**** The Financial Times


Friends of Bamboute Album Cover

Friends of Bamboute - 20th Anniversary Edition CD (2009)

Veteran Egyptian musicians, singers, fishermen and philosophers El Tanbura celebrate two decades as the custodians of Simsimiyya music with Friends of Bamboute: 20th Anniversary Edition, the long-awaited follow-up to 2006‘s Between the Desert and the Sea.

Recorded in Cairo and on location in Port Said, the album recounts tales of the 19th century Bambutiyya merchants who frequented the old-time cafes and smoking dens along the path of Suez Canal and also showcases devotional Sufi songs from the Egyptian Delta.

  • Friends of Bamboute from Amazon
  • Friends of Bamboute from 30IPS
  • 30IPS FOB1869 | Distributed by Proper Music Distribution
Between the Desert and the Sea album cover

Between the Desert and the Sea (2006)

An enchanting acoustic mix of Egyptian folk melodies, Sufi verses and sea shanties from antiquity, led by the captivating sound of the Simsimiyya and underpinned by driving Arabian grooves.

“They croon the region's old songs of love, pain, exile and resistance... Between the Desert and the Sea is a good calling card to the World”

Between the Desert and the Sea from Amazon

  • World Village 450002 | Distributed by Harmonia Mundi (UK)
  • DJCD 1013 (Egypt) | Distributed by DJ Recording (Egypt)