Imagining grunge in Cairo: Khayal – خيال


Imagining grunge in Cairo: Khayal – خيال

In the past few years the underground rock scene in Cairo grew from a point where it was on the fringes of the music scene more to the front lines. Now with new establishing groups like Khayal it will grow more and more and will make its way out of the fringes.

The events after 2011 played possible a role in this development as well where new bands found themselves in a new setting where it was possible to experiment with new methods and technics.

There are few bands in Egypt who are establishing themselves as one of the leading grunge bands in Cairo.  Khayal – خيال  is one of them, which means imagination in Arabic. The band consists of six members influenced by 90s grunge and rock bands and sound like Nirvana, Pearl Jam or Foo Fighters but they mix it with their own kind of style. Their sound is modern in nature and are establishing themselves by playing at locations such as Room Art Space & Café in Garden City or City Jazz Club.

Ezz Tarek the former of the Band says that he was influenced by bands such as David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler and The Beatles but for example they are not only influenced by Western music but by traditional Arabic music as well. The Members of Khayal are:

Ezz Tarek (Vocal-Acoustic Guitar-Lyricist)

Hania Mahmoud (Vocal)

Mohab Elsherbiny (Lead Guitar/backing vocals)

Ahmed Tarek (Lead Guitar)

Ramy Hamdy (Bass Guitar)

Ziad Nabil (Drums/backing vocals)



Khayal is still at the beginning of their musical career but they are finding their voice quickly although grunge has not been around this long.

They just uploaded a few songs on their soundcloud page like qatr (country, state or region) or bahr (sea). They sound fresh and different so there is hope that they will upload soon material and with the hope in releasing an album soon.



They are writing on their Facebook page how they got into contact with music:

“The band started when Ezz Tarek and his brother Ahmed Tarek went to jam with Ahmed’s friend Mohab El-Sherbiny. They found out that they have a great chemistry between them while jamming, so they decided to give it a shot and start the band. Hania Mahmoud joined the band when Ezz, Ahmed & Mohab wanted to add a sweet and mellow taste in their music. Their first obstacle was that there was no bassist and drummer, but after that, Mohab’s friend Ramy Hamdy the bassist joined the band. Ziad Nabil, Ezz’s college mate was the last member to join Khayal as the drummer!”

They are playing tomorrow (27.11.2015) at Room Art Space & Café along with Roswell, a Lebanese rockband from Beirut.

Here is a video from their last performance back in February at Room Art Space & Café:


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