Riad & Takht

Riad & Takht

 Westlake Village, California, USA
BandWorldNew Age

Takht Riad---Egyptian ethnic instruments---virtuoso performers who embrace the art of musical ecstasy---"tarab"; meditative yet breathtaking improvisations---"taqasim" and whirling pre-composed musical forms cross-fertilize world Sufi, Jazz and Classical music genres.


In order to deepen the profundity and to broaden the appeal of his music, Mr. Abdel-Gawad apprenticed with arguably the most esteemed master of Egyptian traditional music (Abdo Dagher)— a road less traveled for a Harvard University Ph.D. holder. From 1993 to 2002, he mostly was based in Brussels and Cairo. He performed as a street musician in Paris and Brussels; was commissioned by and performed with the L'Ènsemble Musique Nouvelle for the Ars Musica Festival; gave concerts and workshops in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain and Switzerland, as well as cofounded a traditional Egyptian Music School funded by the Dutch Embassy in Cairo. In 2004 and 2005, funded by arts organizations in Marseille and Brussels which support inter-African artistic collaborations, Mr. Abdel-Gawad traveled to the Congo and the Equatorial Rain Forest in Cameroon to collaborate with musicians from all over north and sub-Saharan Africa.

Today his compositions have embraced Egypt’s 7000 year old multilayered history of folk music, sacred chant and secular song. Abdo Dagher, who teaches Arab music the old school way through talqin el-shif‘i – oral transmission, founded a unique teacher-disciple school of Egyptian music. This school of music is the only such school to develop in recent (c. 100 years) documented Cairo history. Mr. Abdel-Gawad is considered by his peers in Egypt to be one of the most serious artists to come out of this distinct stylistic school.

Mr. Abdel-Gawad has taught music at Harvard University, the American University in Cairo and Los Angeles Mission College. He also was the Whittlesey Chair Visiting Professor at the American University of Beirut. Some of Mr. Abdel-Gawad’s awards and grants he received have come from the following: Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, ASCAP, BMI, Harvard University, the Los Angeles Music Awards and the Sparkplug Foundation. Selected workshops Mr. Abdel-Gawad has given include at the Higher Institute of Arabic Music in Cairo, for Carnegie Hall, and at the National Music Academies of Berlin and Hannover.

Mr. Abdel-Gawad released two full-length albums El Tarab El Aseel (“Pure Ecstasy”) in 2007 and Egypt: Mother of the World both of which have worldwide distribution (e.g. Barnes & Noble, Itunes). Mr. Abdel-Gawad recently played on Guarneri and Stradivarius violins in Qatar for a concert at the Qatar Islamic Museum in collaboration with the Director of European Operations of the Stradivari Society.


City Hall Records - Riad Abdel-Gawad: Egypt - Mother of the World

City Hall Records - Riad Abdel-Gawad - El Tarab El Aseel---"Pure Ecstasy"

Hundreds of recorded songs from 1966 - 1973 for El Massiya Ensemble with Abdel-Halim El-Hafiz, Warda, legendary Arab singers; Yousri Abdel-Maqsoud played bongos for eight years in that renowned and prolifically recorded ensemble.

Celestial Harmonies Series - Mohamed Foda, nay player, "Music of Islam, vol. 1, Qahirah: the traditional music of Egypt"

Virgin Records - Mozart d-Egypte

Virgin Records - "Egypt: From the Desert to the Sea"

Future Classics - Spanning the Globe – Music from Six Continents

Set List

Original compositions as well as
repertoire of hundreds of Middle Eastern songs.