Live Review – Tamino at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Words: Mateusz Niesmialek | Photography: Anthony Vaccarello / Annett Bonkowski

Hypnotic voice, original arrangements and moving lyrics are the work of Tamino, a Belgian-Egyptian artist who performed at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire last week. He is known as the most promising singer of the alternative scene with his blend of Middle Eastern and Western influences. Tamino inherited vocal talent from his grandfather, Muharram Fouad, who was one of the most popular singers in North Africa in the 1960s. His debuted album Amir, whose songs quickly got millions of plays on streaming portals, was named one of the best albums of 2018 by several publications, including NME, The Independent, and The Guardian, and his shows sold out quickly.

The show starts with Belgian composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Dienne, whose music is filled with melancholy over the loss. Her debut album Addio is a musical tribute to the artist’s late grandmother. The electronic experiments and reverberated vocals intertwined with traditional oboe, flute, or piano sounds created a picture more convincing than any words.

Tamino builds a bond with the audience in an unusual way. Although the artist did not make much contact, he created a specific network of connections between himself and each participant, as his music is incredibly engaging in performance. Instruments, vocals, and emotions packed in one gave a completely absorbing live experience.

His minimalist guitar and the sweetly exotic and classically rich instrumental setting did just as well. The band’s sound was sometimes the background and sometimes the foreground, simply dosing successive portions of emotions, delights, and sorrows. Tamino could perform completely alone, stripped of everything. With his vocal at the forefront, it was easy to sail away, cry, stop and stay with it. Consciousness, scale, absolutely no barrier. Despite the exposure of instruments, there was still a saving of expression.

The tour promotes Tamino’s newest release, Sahar, so the stage featured mainly new tracks such as the introspective ‘The First Disciple’ and the melancholic ‘Fascination’. But the evening had many heartbreaking moments, including the long-awaited ‘Indigo Night’ and ‘Habibi’ left at the end for better effect. Whether he played solo or with a band, the experience was invigorating and left viewers yearning for more.

Tamino’s show was an unforgettable experience. His hypnotic voice, original arrangements, and moving lyrics, combined with his minimalist style, made for a mesmerising show that left the audience wanting more. Tamino proves that artists on stage can do nothing more than perform their music and still create a powerful and emotional experience for their audience. Tamino is a rising star in the European pop scene, and his show deserves to be noticed.

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