The SHARQ Ensemble was created by Egyptian musician Karim Nagi in 1999. The word "Sharq" means "East" in the Arabic language. The goal of the group was to present authentic Arab vocal and instrumental music, using the traditional acoustic instruments. The group originally specialized in medieval Arabic music from the Andalusian and Ottoman periods. Over the past decade, the ensemble added 20th century classics from Egypt and Syria, plus regional Arabic folklore from North Africa and the Eastern Arab countries. The focus of the group has always been to revive the repertoire, style and presentation of Arab music. The SHARQ Ensemble is dedicated to preserving and presenting traditional Arabic vocal and instrumental music. Their repertoire is one that is rarely played by even the most dedicated professionals in the Arab world. SHARQ chooses vocal and instrumental pieces that illustrate the rich and buoyant possibilities of the genre, without fixating on the popular or commercial versions. SHARQ seeks to share this heritage through concerts and verbal presentations. SHARQ consists of young professional musicians from several cities in the Arab world. Their geographic diversity demonstrates the variety of styles and heritages of the Near East, and their obvious synthesis. The musicians' youthful demeanor and performance style helps revitalize these classics, presenting them as a living art. Their education and cosmopolitan attitudes serve as a compelling and healthy representation of the modern and artistic Arab individual. With all the current political antagonisms, SHARQ utterly dissolves the fictitious dichotomy between the Arab and Western worlds.

riqq, tabla, sagat, vocals, folklore dance

Karim Nagi is a native Egyptian immigrant to the USA, and a true crossover artist uniting the Arab tradition with the global contemporary world. He has has released fourteen CDs, ranging from traditional Arab music to fusion and electronica. He has authored instructional DVDs for the Tabla/Doumbek, Riqq tambourine, Maqam & Taqsim, Finger Cymbals, Drum Solo for Dance, and Arab Folk Dance. As a dance and drum teacher, Nagi has taught in dozens of festivals in the United States, Asia, Europe and Cairo, as well as most major Arab Culture festivals in the USA. He taught at the New England Conservatory of Music for 5 years, and has lectured and presented at Harvard, MIT, Yale, Bowdoin, Princeton, Stanford, Berea, William & Mary, Georgetown, plus Bunker Hill & Attleboro Community Colleges. He has lectured internationally on Arts & Diversity at Kaoushiung (Taiwan) University, Beijing University, and University San Francisco de Quito Ecuador. Additionally, Karim Nagi's Arabiqa program has conducted over 400 school assemblies across America, exposing young audiences to Arab traditional arts. His most recent project "Detour Guide" incorporates English language storytelling with Arab music & rhythm, along with graphic & video art, to describe the experience of Arabs life & culture. Recently, Nagi has received a Doris Duke Grant for the Islamic Arts through the Virginia Tech "Salaam" project. He has also just been elected to the board of directors for Chamber Music America.

nay, violin, sinteer, percussion, vocals

Boujemaa Razgui was born in Marrakech, a city known for its percussive musical culture. Since 1975, he has been performing internationally with different groups and in numerous festivals across the United States, Canada, Morocco and Europe. His proficiency of many different instruments makes him a musician appreciated for his versatility. Boujemaa has often been called to perform using the ney (a middle eastern bamboo flute), oud, kamanja, and a variety of flutes, percussion, singning voice and more. His vast knowledge of oriental, african and Andalusian music and his considerable scene experience got him to perform with groups like Boston Camerata, Al-Andalus, the Sharq Ensemble and Atlas Soul. Boujemaa was also called for various recording sessions, including a collaboration with Cirque du Soleil, the song Beautiful Liar by Beyonce and Shakira and appearances on major channels like Fox News, Radio-Canada and Boston NPR.

oud lute, vocals, percussion

Master Syrian vocalist and udist Aboud Nasser Agha began his musical training at the age of 10 in Aleppo, Syria under the direction of Mohamad Adri Dalal. After immigrating to the United States, his professional career in Arab music spanned across North America performing at many venues most notably in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Chicago Cultural Center, and the University of Michigan. Agha has been part of several recordings and concert tours by the Sharq Ensemble, the Chicago Classical Oriental Ensemble, the National Arab Orchestra, and the Boston Camerata. He went on to study at the University of Massachusetts where he completed his undergraduate degree, later entering the graduate program at Northern Illinois University and earning a masters degree in world music performance and ethnomusicology. While at NIU, Agha studied contemporary improvisation with the renowned guitarist Fareed Haque, and founded the Middle Eastern music ensemble. A virtuoso vocalist of the classical Arab music tradition, Agha is particularly known for his rendering of the Syrian repertoire known as Al-Qudud Al-Halabyah and the Andalusian Muashahaat. He is currently a PhD candidate in the department of ethnomusicology at UCLA studying under the direction of professor Ali Jihad Racy.