Egyptian Islamic chanter Mahmoud ElTohamy honoured in Abu Dhabi

Eslam Omar , Saturday 18 Mar 2023

Egyptian renowned Islamic chanter Mahmoud ElTohamy has been celebrated on Saturday afternoon by the UAE’s Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF).

Mahmoud ElTohamy
Egyptian Islamic chanter Mahmoud ElTohamy receives the Abu Dhabi Festiva s special recognition award, Saturday 18 March 2023, Abu Dhabi, UAE


ElTohamy along with Emirati composer Ihab Darwish received a 'special recognition' as part of the Abu Dhabi Festival awards.

The duo was honoured “for their exceptional work on Abu Dhabi Festival's commission and production of the epic Symphony of Three,” as stated by the festival organisers.

"I am honoured for my long collaboration with UAE and ADMAF that is always done professionally in world-class standards," ElTohamy told Ahram Online after the ceremony, thanking the Abu Dhabi Festival organisers.

The Abu Dhabi Festival, which was founded in 2004, is part of the contribution that the ADMAF makes to the UAE capital’s designation as a UNESCO City of Music, which commissions, produces, preserves and presents works of music and art aims to create rich cultural experiences in the UAE and beyond.

The Abu Dhabi Festival main awards went to the American composers Academy Award-winner David Shire and Emmy Award-winner John Debney and film music producer Robert Townson; in addition to Iraqi oud player Naseer Shamma “for their outstanding lifetime contributions to music bestowed,” as stated the festival organisers.

The awards were presented by Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak and ADMAF Founder Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo.

The Symphony of Three, which was composed by Shire, Debney and Darwish, featured many musicians from across the globe, including ElTohamy.

It was commissioned last year in honour of the planned Abrahamic Family House that combines a synagogue, a church and a mosque at the interfaith complex on Saadiyat Island.

“For four years of collaboration with UAE and ADMAF, I am proud that we introduced works that uplift the Islamic chanting form of art. This really boosts my project in Islamic chanting and Arabic Fosha poetry reviving,” ElTohamy added.

Most famous for Qamaron and El-Burda and many other traditional poems, the 44-year-old ElTohamy started his career in childhood by following in the footsteps of his father, the pioneer Sufi chanter Sheikh Yassin ElTohamy. 

He performed Sufi poetry chants at traditional Sunni Islamic events across the country for crowds that sometimes numbered in the hundreds of thousands and at large moulid events in Cairo's Al-Hussein and Al-Sayeda Zeinab districts.

Eltohamy has collaborated with Egyptian Grammy Award winner Fathy Salama and his band Sharkiat in a project launched in 2018 titled Sufism vs Modernism.

He also collaborated on various projects with music producers from younger generations, including Rouh El-Maliha with Molotof, a key player in the Egyptian rap scene most known for Wegz’s hit Dorak Gai.

Graduates of ElTohamy’s Islamic Sufi Chanting School in Cairo, which he established in 2014, also participated in a number of Abu Dhabi Festival events including the Symphony of Three.

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