Huzam was recorded by four Chicago-based native Arab musicians who continue to perform as a quartet. Karim Nagi (Egypt) is the composer and percussionist, using a fish skin riqq Arab tambourine. Ronnie Malley (Palestine) performs on the oud lute, and was crucial to the album recording process. The ensemble is completed by Naeif Rafeh (Syria) playing the nay flute, and Emad Roushdy Ibrahim (Egypt) on the Arabic-tuned keman violin.

“HUZAM” is a profound Arab maqam musical scale that starts and ends on a microtone, with no penchant for Western harmonies. It is widely used in Arab traditional music and has a mystifying and ecstatic temper. 

Karim Nagi composed these pieces all in maqam Huzam using classic Arab art music forms such as DulabSamaiTahmilaIstihlal and Longa, intended to be performed on traditional instruments. These forms make up the Turath Arabic music legacy, but are infrequently employed in today’s musical era. A revival is needed, one that honors both tradition and progression. So rather than rigidly replicating past formulas, Nagi uses a fertile approach to the rhythms, sections, arrangements and modulations. Read more at

Karim Nagi’s new album Huzam was released on Friday, August 19 and is streaming via