Documentary Films

El Tanbura have featured in numerous short films for various TV broadcasters worldwide over the years, however two documentaries about the band (not available on DVD or for download) often play at events organised by our friends and supporters at local Egyptology societies coinciding with band’s tour dates.

El Tanbura - Capturing a Vanishing Spirit

2007

Duration
52 minutes
Director
Philippe Dib
Co-Produced by
Philippe Dib & The El Mastaba Center for Egyptian Folk Music
Language
Arabic with English subtitles

El Tanbura have been custodians to some of Egypt’s oldest folk melodies at their home in Port Said, the Mediterranean gateway to the Suez Canal. Lebanese Director Philippe Dib (Welcome says the Angel) explores the origins of the El Tanbura’s unique music from the original Suhbagiyya communities of 19th Century Egypt, the resistance movement in aftermath of the Suez Crisis of 1956 and the musical traditions of Diaspora communities following the war. Three years in the making the film features candid interviews and footage of El Tanbura performing both in Egypt and on tour in Europe.

El Tanbura - The Siren

2004

Duration
23 minutes
Director
Zakaria Ibrahim
Produced by
The El Mastaba Center for Egyptian Folk Music
Language
Arabic with English subtitles

The Siren explores a mysterious legend associated with the Simsimiyya, an ancient Egyptian lyre dating back to the time of the Pharaohs, telling how the Simsimiyya, originally used in exorcism rituals, can bewitch her players (also known as her lovers) enchanting and ultimately enslaving them through music.

Charting the Simsimiyya’s historical legacy from dusty instruments preserved at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo through to contemporary relevance with folk music across Egypt (including performance footage of El Tanbura, Bedouin Jerry Can Band and Rango), The Siren introduces fastidiously researched collections of master musicians both young and old, whom all claim to have been seduced by the call of the Simsimiyya.