The Alif Ensemble tonight!

We thoroughly recommend you spend your Thursday evening at Ikon Gallery tonight to witness The Alif Ensemble a new collective of superbly talented and inventive Arabic musicians. Support comes from acoustic guitarist Simon Fox. Doors are 8pm and you can still grab a ticket via

Reviews from their debut performance at

Liverpool’s Arabic Arts Festival are coming in…

What quickly becomes apparent is that amongst these seven musicians – while they are clearly taking their lead from Allami – there is no real hierarchy, just a warmth and mutual appreciation of each other’s playing ability. Any concerns around the chances of Ghazaleh relaxing are quickly forgotten, as his earlier intensity is swapped for a rich vocal, allied with expert and driving buzuq-playing. Just like that he is a match for anyone on stage.

Indeed, this is a real feature of the whole set: seven musicians equal in quality and renown (at least to our untutored ears) working together for the simple enjoyment of it. Just when you are admiring the amazing drumming of the pony-tailed Ayman Mabrouk, the violin playing of Yaroub Smarait will kick in and briefly take centre-stage, keeping you on your toes and reminding you to look around, lest you miss out on something extraordinary. Read more via