"..a sound that's sometimes graceful, sometimes noisy, like a Middle Eastern garage band." - Chicago Reader
"The hermetic mixture of these musical elements make for a miraculous sonic blaze. It's like receiving a smoldering telegram in th ear from a vivid and ancient world." - Evanston Round Table
LIVE ALBUM 2022
STUDIO ALBUM 2021
The Arab Blues traces a trajectory between tradition and innovation, we embody the call of tradition and the response of the diaspora.
The synthesis Rami and Karim create is an auditory expression of not only the power and persistence of tradition but equally the validity of its transformation under the unique cultural conditions we inhabit.
The basis of our work is the Turath, the canon of classical Arab compositions and improvisational techniques. This rich heritage consists of melodic and rhythmic exposition and instrumental interaction at countless levels of depth.
We interpret these forms in the context of the sounds of the contemporary North American metropole. In this project, the equally lush traditions of Blues and Jazz in Chicago provide the context of how we approach and assimilate the Turath.
This marriage of forms is fruitful because of the emotional range of the Blues and the improvisational flexibility and ingenuity of Jazz.
The Arab Blues was developed by Lebanese-Egyptian oud and guitar player Rami Gabriel through a research fellowship at the Center for Black Music Research, two Illinois Artist grants, and a decade of experience as a jazz and blues musician in Chicago.
Native Egyptian percussionist Karim Nagi, a 2-time beneficiary of the Doris Duke Building Bridges grant for Muslim Artists, a TEDx speaker, and accomplished teacher completes this duo with his energetic & lyrical rhythms on Riqq, Tublah and alternatively assembled drum-set.
Chicago inspires us to amplify and expand the sound of our Arab folk traditions. Here, we are discovering the trajectory of our community's music; the future of our past sound. We are participating in this city's musical possibilities, as it celebrates the potential of all who migrate to here.
OUR MUSIC & PHILOSOPHY
LIT NIGHTCLUB DANCE
STUDENTS FEELING IT
ONE GREAT SONG