So Far We Have Come is the debut duo album from Tamsin Elliott (UK) and Tarek Elazhary (Egypt), two artists who have recognised in each other a commonality in their relationship to music. They are both practitioners and composers deeply embedded in their own living traditions, while also leading genre-bending bands (Solana, Dokkan). Through their friendship and ongoing collaboration they have unearthed a series of intriguing connections between English & Arabic folk idioms, and worked together to weave this affinity into a thrilling fusion of songs, tunes and textures.
Tamsin, a multi-instrumentalist, composer and filmmaker based in Bristol, UK is collaborating with Egyptian educator and composer Tarek Elazhary, who is seeking to preserve the musical heritage of the Middle East.
Exploring the parallels and celebrating the idiosyncrasies of both Egyptian and English folk traditions, Elliott and Elazhary aim to find commonality, foster cross-cultural connection and help to heal the scars of a colonial past through meaningful and conscious collaboration.
Long before Tamsin began work on her critically acclaimed solo album FREY (Penny Fiddle Records, 2022), she spent several months in Egypt embarking on an exploration of Arabic music, during which she met Tarek on the Cairo live scene. When international travel was permitted again following the COVID lockdowns, she began to discuss plans with Tarek to bring him to the UK for a return visit, and to make the collaborative album they had dreamed of creating together. So Far We Have Come is a testament to their personal and musical perseverance, and a statement of hope and resistance during troubled times. Tamsin explains that “the title of our debut album was born out of a conversation about the progress that has been made in women’s rights in Egypt and the UK. We see how much has changed, and yet how far we have to go – and this echoes across ecological crises, geopolitical tensions, racism and societal disconnection. So Far We Have Come also reflects the distance and barriers we have overcome to create this work together.”
Most of the tracks on the album were composed together in early spring, inspired by and interspersed with English dance tunes and pieces from Arabic classical and folk traditions. Having received the EDFSS Alan James Creative Bursary, they began their conceptual process in residency at Cecil Sharp House in London, before travelling to Tamsin’s hometown Bristol to develop and record their ideas over the course of a month. The resulting album is a lively, yet thoughtful, conversation between their traditions and compositional styles.
We are excited and honoured to receive the Alan James Creative Bursary from EFDSS to develop this work, as well as “Record and Release” support from Help Musicians UK.
The lead single from the album El Hara opens with a striking Oud melody and swells to full expression as Tamsin joins on accordion, followed by her brother and producer Rowan Elliott on viola and Ricardo de Noronha on percussion.
“El Hara refers to a tiny alleyway bustling with life in the old part of Cairo and this is a really Egyptian-feeling piece.”
You can still catch them on tour, the remaining dates are as follows:
5th September – The Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol [tickets]
6th September – The Cornish Bank, Falmouth [tickets]
7th September – Ashburton Arts Centre, Devon [tickets]
8th September – British Legion Hall, Bridport [tickets]
9th September – Somerset Jazz Festival [tickets]
10th September – The Lost ARC, Rhayader [tickets]
12th September – The Herbarium, Lancaster [tickets]
13th September – Upfront Arts Venue, Penrith [tickets]
14th September – Cafe#9, Sheffield [SOLD OUT]
15th September – Creative Peaks, Hopedale [tickets]
16th September – The Alfresco Spa Weekender, Somerset [info]
17th September – Priston Music Festival [info]
21st September – St. Mary’s Walthamstow, London [tickets]
For further details please visit:http://www.tamsinelliott.co.uk
📷Featured Image Kate Griffin