UCL News


Egyptian music, ancient and modern

16 February 2007

The UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archeology is holding an unusual musical event on 2 March 2007, celebrating the ancient instrument, the simsimiyya.

Four musicians from 'El Tanbura', a traditional music group from Egypt, will discuss and demonstrate the simsimiyya - a stringed instrument that has survived from pharaonic times to the present day.

El Tanbura is a collective of veteran musicians from Port Said - custodians of some of Egypt's oldest folk melodies. The evening will chart the 5000-year historical legacy of the simsimiyya with master musicians Hassan Ashry, Goma Ghanaeim, Medhat El Issawy and El Sayed Azam.

Director of El Tanbura Zakaria Ibrahim will present a traditional simsimiyya to the museum and guests will be invited to share notes - both verbally and musically - on a living instrument whose ancestor can be seen in ancient tombs.

The museum is keen to encourage musicians, musicologists, ethno-musicographers and lovers of African/Egyptian musicianship to attend and to stimulate a lively debate about the instrument.

Ms Jan Picton (UCL Petrie Museum) said: "We hope that this unusual event linking the ancient past to the very lively present will prove both enjoyable and of constructive benefit to both onlookers and participants."

Doors open at 6pm for 6.30pm start, finishing at 8.30pm. Numbers are strictly limited so early application for tickets is recommended.

To find out more, use the link at the top of this article or email the UCL Petrie Museum.