Ali is a guitarist and oud player based out of Montreal and Cairo. He is an active performer, teacher and composer with a professional career spanning two decades, which include performances in Egypt, Canada, U.S.A. and cruise ships touring the Bahamas and the British Isles. He composed and recorded soundtracks for various films and series.
Born and raised in a western-influenced society in Cairo, his early influences were rooted in rock and blues. With a growing interest in jazz he moved from Cairo to Montreal where he immersed himself in Montreal’s vibrant and multicultural music scene.
He was featured as ‘artist of the month’ in the December 2010 issue of Community Times Magazine, Egypt's foremost community information magazine.
In 2013 he brought his Montreal-based trio to Cairo to perform a tribute concert to the music of Hamza El Din and the Nubia at the Cairo Jazz Festival. The trio included Thomas Durant on drums, Mike De Masi on upright bass, and Hamza El Din’s nephew singer/oud player Karam Mourad as their guest artist.
In 2015 he formed his trio consisting of himself on oud, Mike De Masi on upright bass, and Joseph Khoury on oriental percussion. The trio performed regularly in various venues in Montreal, exploring original compositions by Ali which are partly inspired by classical Arabic music while incorporating African, jazz and Latin influences, as well as his arrangements of pieces from the classical Arabic repertoire and more contemporary middle eastern compositions. Over the course of four years the trio developed their sound as one unit, where their musical interplay seeks the right balance between well-grounded arrangements and envelope-pushing improvisations.
In 2019 the trio released Ali’s first album ‘Ela Mataa?’.
In Canada, he performed with various projects in Montreal at the Festival Du Monde Arabe, the Festival Montréal/Nouvelles Musiques, the Festival Sefarad, the Festival Nuits D’Afrique, as well as with several flamenco groups and at tango milongas, and he performed in Drummondville at the Mondial des Cultures Festival. In Egypt, he performed with his jazz trio at the Jazz Mania Festival at the Salah El Din Citadel, and he performed at the Cairo Opera House.
He recorded all guitar parts on the soundtrack of Tamer Ezzat’s “The Ring Road”, a feature film at the Cairo Film Festival, for music by Tamer Karawan. He composed and recorded music for “Their Feast”, a short film by Reem Morsi and presented by the London Film School. He recorded music for “The Door”, a short film by Reem Morsi, for music by Ava Kibalian.
He holds a Licentiate degree in Jazz Performance from McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, one of Canada’s top music institutes, and a Bachelor’s degree with Distinction in Jazz Studies from Concordia University.
He studied jazz guitar with some of the top jazz guitarists from the Montreal jazz scene such as Kenny Bibace, Carlos Jimenez, Greg Clayton, Gary Schwartz, and Michael Berard. He studied jazz music with some of the top jazz musicians from the Montreal jazz scene such as Remi Bolduc, Kevin Dean, Fraser Hollins, Jean-Nicolas Trottier, Charles Ellison and Dave Turner. He studied oud with some of the most accomplished oud players around the world such as Simon Shaheen, Charbel Rouhana, Nicolas Artuso, Khalil Moqadem, and Alaa Saber. He studied Arabic music with Simon Shaheen and classical guitar with Tariq Harb.
Ali loves teaching music as much as he loves playing it. As a music teacher, he tries to inspire in his students the love he has for music, and to share his passion for playing the guitar and the oud. Since every student has different goals and needs, Ali tailors the lessons accordingly and enjoys the challenge that comes with every different situation. Therefore, students of all levels are welcome (beginner, intermediate, advanced).
Lessons can be devoted to anything from learning how to play simple songs and melodies to more advanced and in-depth topics such as:
- Music Theory: scales/modes/chords/maqams/intervals and the relationships between them all.
- Technique: playing with a pick/risha vs. fingerstyle, sound production, rhythmic ability.
- Developing improvisational language.
- Studying different styles & techniques of guitar/oud players.
- Improving sight reading skills.
- Exploring different styles such as rock, blues, jazz, Arabic/middle-eastern and classical music.
- Developing an efficient practice routine with good practice habits and proper technique.
Students may book lesson time slots other than the ones listed on the calendar after consultation with Ali.