MEMBERS: Sam Shalabi. RELATED PROJECTS: Shalabi Effect. Howl Arts Collective. Sam Shalabi is an Egyptian-Canadian composer and improviser, living between Montreal, Quebec and Cairo, Egypt. Beginning in punk rock in the late 70s, his work has evolved into a fusion of experimental, modern Arabic Music that incorporates traditional Arabic, shaabi, noise, classical, text, free improvisation and jazz
Sam Shalabi is an Egyptian-Canadian composer and improviser, living between Montreal, Quebec and Cairo, Egypt. Beginning in punk rock in the late 70s, his work has evolved into a fusion of experimental, modern Arabic Music that incorporates traditional Arabic, shaabi, noise, classical, text, free improvisation and jazz. Stefan Christoff is a writer, community organizer and musician living in Montreal, as a pianist Stefan has worked on numerous projects over recent years including Duets for Abdelrazik, an album of duets with Matana Roberts, Norman Nawrocki, Peter Burton, Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, Rebecca Foon and Sam Shalabi, all playing to express solidarity with the struggle of Sudanese-Canadian Abousfian Abdelrazik who was exiled, jailed and tortured in Sudan with the active complicity of the Canadian government.
Sam Shalabi is an active player in Montreal's blossoming improv scene. Over the last couple of years has been documented on releases by Shalabi Effect, Detention, Molasses and A Silver Mt. Zion. Stefan Christoff & Sam Shalabi. Stefan Christoff & Sam Shalabi - Flying Street (Album).
Last year, Sam Shalabi and Stefan Christoff released their sublime debut LP, Rodina. The album featured four outstanding tracks that expand musically on a dialogue spiraling somewhere between Cairo and Canada. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to premiere Flying Street, which is a delicate, yet poignant demonstration of how the themes explored within the artists’ conversations evolve. Reflections on identity, the feeling of belonging, of isolation, of seclusion, are all apparent here as they merge between the foreground and the distance, like a mirage cast by smoke, envisaged through the mirror of the mind’s eye. The as-of-yet untitled album will be launched in July at Casa del Popolo in Montreal. It was recorded at La Sala Rossa concert hall in Quebec, by Adrian Roy Taylor.
On Rodina, Christoff and Shalabi aren’t exactly subverting these traditions so much as diverging from them, improvising around the guiding concept of an imagined homeland, an endless question that plagues most of us living in the colonial nations of North America. Released on 12″ vinyl by the Howl! arts collective, this record is an exploration of duets between Sam Shalabi on oud and Stefan Christoff on piano. родина (rodina) is about reflecting on ancestors, dreams of another place and a future of liberation.
Stefan Christoff is a Canadian journalist, community organizer and musician based in Montreal, Quebec. Between 2000-2002 Christoff coordinated the Howl! Festival of Art and Revolution. After launching in Montreal in 2000 the festival titled after the Allen Ginsberg poem Howl also took place in Toronto, Halifax and New York City in 2002.