New Music: Tamino


Tamino, full name Tamino Moharam Fouad, has one of those voices that you just can’t stop listening to. It is somber and honest, whilst notably permeated in the cultural influence of his Egyptian heritage.

Twenty-year-old Tamino is half Egyptian, half Belgian and resides in Amsterdam. Influenced by the Beatles and Serge Gainsbourg, or the smoky, blues bar ballads of Tom Waits’ ‘Closing Time’, and the heartfelt, empowering music of Malian songbird Oumou Sangaré, his sound is mature and distinctive.

‘According to my uncle, as a youngster, I was always scanning the car stereo for oriental flavoured tunes’, Tamino says. This is where his heritage plays a part in his sound.  Some of the music he was exposed to at home were the albums of his late grandfather Moharam Fouad, a renowned actor and singer in the Arab world, from the 1950’s to the 1980’s. ‘My mother played his music around the house, and I remember being particularly taken by his live recordings with orchestra. There’s a certain kind of raw emotion in his singing, and in Arab music in general, that is mostly absent from Western music. Even when the tunes are kind of cheesy, there’s always something real, something sincere embedded in the voice. Complete surrender, much less calculated than most Western music. Oum Kalthoum, one of the most famous Egyptian singers, also had it; that intense kind of testimony about a past, scarred life of hardship and poverty. Just like Edith Piaf, someone else I very much admire’.

Later when nearing the end of high school, Tamino discovered Jeff Buckley and Tom Yorke and sought to gain more experience in order to expand his search for ‘alternative worlds’, as Tamino describes it – ‘I wanted to pursue music. I could either do it by myself in my bedroom, or I could broaden my horizons, meet and work with new people, learn new things’. He left his Antwerp suburb, moved to Amsterdam and enrolled in its music academy.

Tamino’s debut EP is out via Unday Records His debut “Habibi” is introspective and refined listening.