Praed, photo credit: Tony Elieh


PRAED Orchestra! will perform a new composition, commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation and brought to life during rehearsals at the foundation. Known for their riveting live shows where the duo delve into delirious and satirical dimensions of Arabic popular music (shaabi), Praed, which features Raed Yassin and Paed Conca, initiates their latest and most ambitious endeavour—a thirteen-piece conglomerate of unique musical characters.

Founded in 2006 by Yassin and Conca, Praed is a band whose musical oeuvre can be described as a cross between shaabi, free jazz, contemporary composition and electronics. Their interest in Arabic and particularly Egyptian popular culture is a starting point for both composition and research. Combining repetition and layering with a highly improvisational approach, the band draws heavily on shaabi’s trance-inducing style and explores links with other popular and hypnotic genres such as free jazz, space jazz and psychedelic rock. From a research standpoint, Praed focuses on the cultural significance of shaabi music, on the one hand, as a reflection of the complicated fabric of Egyptian society, and on the other, as a prominent cultural form with connections to such practices as the mawlid musical and religious ceremonies.

For over a decade, the duo have toured in venues across the Middle East, Europe, Canada and Japan. As a result, their growing network of friends, collaborators and influences has prompted an ongoing interest in arranging their compositions for larger ensembles. At the root of PRAED Orchestra!‘s autumn performance is a basic composition, a musical system created by Yassin and Conca, which each of the ensemble’s members will be invited to interpret and develop further. The range of interpretations, informed by the musicians’ distinct influences, will converge to produce a dizzying sonic experience, free from genre classifications and notions of a sound-geography relationship.

PRAED Orchestra! consists of Raed Yassin (synthesiser, vocals and beats), Paed Conca (clarinet, electronics and bass), Alan Bishop (saxophone, vocals and acoustic guitar), Nadah El Shazly (vocals, buzuq and keyboard), Christine Kazarian (electric harp), Hans Koch (bass clarinet and soprano saxophone), Martin Kuchen (baritone saxophone and sopranino saxophone), Maurice Louca (keyboard and organ), Radwan Moumneh (synthesiser, vocals and buzuq), Ute Wassermann (vocals, mouth harp and whistles), Sam Shalabi (electric guitar and oud), Khaled Yassine (percussion) and Michael Zerang (drums).