El Tanbura is an Egyptian band, formed in the 1980s. El Tanbura are one of Egypt’s leading folk bands, and they show pride in their country’s history of resistance through their protest songs. El Tanbura is a collective of veteran Egyptian master musicians, singers, fishermen and philosophers based in Port Said. For almost two decades they have been the custodians of some of Egypt’s oldest folk melodies. Their performances are based on traditional Egyptian music, featuring the simsimiyya instrument.

The simsimiyya is a traditional plucked lyre used in Egypt, Jordan and Yemen. In Egypt it is traditionally used to accompany a dance called bambutiyya.

A simsimiyya being played

At the heart of the group’s music is the spirit of celebration, of magic, of dance, and reverie – and the simsimiyya.

Celebrating three decades of folk band El Tanbura - Egypt Today

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