KARIM NAGI is a native Egyptian who specializes in traditional Arabic music. He uses his traditional foundation to re-imagine the culture, discovering progressive deliveries and new concepts. Karim performs primarily Arabic, Turkish and Andalusian hand percussion, including the Egyptian Tabla (goblet drum), Riqq (tambourine), Duff (frame drum), and Segat (brass castanets). Karim has authored instructional CDs and DVDs including the first DVD resource on Riqq technique. Karim was a faculty member of the New England Conservatory of Music for 5 years. Karim leads the SHARQ Arabic Music Ensemble performing the classical Arabic instrumental and vocal repertoire. Karim travels the country presenting his education program called Arabic Music, Dance and Culture to school grades 2 up through the university level. Karim developed and currently performs Turbo Tabla : a music and dance show that combines traditional Arabic and Turkish music with modern Electronica and Techno. Turbo Tabla CDs are distributed internationally by Universal Records. Karim dances and teaches Dabka (Arabic Line Dance), leads the Zaitoun Dabka Troupe, and is the director of the Arab Dance Seminar, a travelling weekend of workshops for professional training in pan-Arab dance.
Karim came to the USA with his parents in the late 1970's. His father brought him back to Egypt every year to visit his family. After graduating from Skidmore College with a degree in Psychology and three regularly performing fusion-metal bands, Karim traveled to India, Turkey, Eastern Europe and back to Egypt for an extended time. Karim returned to America in 1995 and began performing exclusively Arabic Music. His first teachers were Nabil Ata and Midhat al-Rashidi (Midhat had performed extensively with Abdel Halim Hafez and Firqat al-Massaya.) Karim later studied with Simon Shaheen at the Arabic Music Retreat and learned advanced Riqq from Michel Baqlouq (Fairuz ensemble.) Karim returned to Cairo to study Arabic Music in Cairo with Dr. Alfred Gamil (Cairo Conservatory of Music) and Mohammed Al-Araby (percussionist for Umm Koulthoum and The National Orchestra of Egypt.)
Karim participates in many activities outside of the Arabic Music and Dance context. Karim was a widely published fashion writer and has produced many fashion shows. Karim is also a visual artist who has worked in the advertising field, designing CD art and magazine ads, as well as art for its own sake. Karim is presenting his original artwork in the Fall 2003 performances of ReOrientalism, a multimedia play about the societal relations between the Near East and the West.
TURBO TABLA is a solo performance that combines the spontaneity of a live drummer with the stylistic intensity of a DJ. The best description would be "Arabic Techno". Karim, a classically trained Egyptian percussionist, performs on his feet with and an amplified Tabla (goblet drum) that employs many of the effects and sounds of an electric guitar. Karim dances, spins, jumps and entertains while executing the most rapid and grooveworthy hand percussion possible. The accompaniments are always the remixes and recreations of traditional Arabic and World music, with techno and hip hop beats, created by Karim. Karim is an accomplished performer of traditional Arabic music with the highest calibre of authenticity. It is this classical expertise that allows Karim to make modern Oriental music while maintaining the discipline of his Arabic background.