Otaak Band is the collaboration of Miguel Merino, from Indiana, USA, and Ahmed Said Abuamna from Eastern Sudan, who met in 2009 in Cairo.
Ahmed Said is from the Beja, a tribe indigenous to the area between the Nile and the Red Sea, and a master of the Beja's traditional instrument, the masankop, also called tambur, played since the time of the Pharaohs. Upon meeting him, Miguel took an immediate interest in the tambur, had one built, and started playing with Ahmed Said's guidance.
Now two years later they are producing an album with a unique mix of American blues and Beja music, showcasing the entire history and evolution of this instrument, from the oldest traditional songs to brand new compositions using acoustic and electric bass, guitar, and drums, and original lyrics by Ahmed Said.
Everyone pledging $50 will receive a CD of Ahmed Said's solo recordings of traditional songs, as well as all the other rewards.
Performing at the Cairo Jazz Club, September 6, 2011
Jamming in the Cairo desert, September, 2011
Some of the instruments we're playing on this record
Traditional Beja dress, Cairo desert, September, 2011
A clip about the Beja tribe; soundtrack is a traditional song sung by Ahmed Said
At Ultra Studio, Cairo, August, 2011
Ali al Abady putting a tambur together
Beja sandals, handmade leather
Beja hand carved comb
Traditional leather belt
- (32 days)