Maurice Louca is one of the most exciting and omnipresent artists in the alternative music scene across the Arab world today.
He lends his music to numerous projects, composing for theatre, film and contemporary art, as well as being the co-founder of the bands Bikya, Alif, Lekhfa and Dwarfs of East Agouza (the two latter played Roskilde 2018) – and of course Karkhana who’s also playing this year’s Roskilde Festival.
Louca, with his exciting style of tape loops and sampling, merges the traditional with the contemporary in a Middle East and slightly Western fusion. He injects everything from psychedelic music to Egyptian shaabi, thereby shattering the confines of musical and cultural labelling with laying out a trajectory where beautiful and mesmerising fragments sparingly punctate the full-blown pounding episodes.
One Maurice Louca album you need to get acquainted with is 2014’s Benhayyi Al-Baghbaghan (translates to Salute the Parrot), a playful, percussion-heavy layered jumble of sounds like some vivid soundtrack to the busy lives of the Egyptian capital. His debut album, Garray (2011), is a more full-on electronic attack full of noisy, gritty and distorted sounds as if taken directly from dark night clubs.
In concert, Louca works from behind a table stacked with pedals, wires, knobs and buttons. He is flanked by a bassist and a drummer, who add to the fleshing-out of his live sound.
This is music that will get you dancing. In fact, we’ll state that it’s impossible not to.