Eskenderella was formed in 2001 by a group of passionate musicians from the city of Alexandria, Egypt. Throughout the first year and a half of their existence, they performed live concerts in different cultural spots in their city. The band subsequently went on hiatus for a number of years, but recently resumed its activities with renewed vitality and an increased line-up.
Upon returning to the stage, they added some original compositions to their musical repertoire, with texts written by leadings poets Fouad Haddad and Naguib Shehab el Deen, Amin Haddad, Tamim El Barghouty and young poet Ahmed Haddad, among others. Relying chiefly on Eastern instruments in its live set-up, Eskenderella also performs famous songs by Sayed Darwish, Sheikh Imam and Ziad Rahbani.
Eskenderella’s music and lyrics provide a vital commentary on current social conditions in their home country, oftentimes bordering on open criticism of their elders’ passive attitudes; they bring to life the dreams of their nation’s youth, those millions of young people eager for change… The band even goes regional at times, criticizing Arab leaders in the song “Guevara died”.
The name “Eskenderella” is taken from a poem by Khamees Ezz El Arab which carries the same title.
The band consists of oud players: Hazem Shahin, Ashraf Nagaty, Hassan El Manialawy, Islam Abdel Aziz;
pianist Youssef El Shere’i;
percussionists Hany Bedeir and Amir Ezzat;
and singers: Hazem Shahin, Ashraf Nagaty, Hassan El Manialawy, Islam Abdel Aziz, May Haddad, Aya Hemeda, Salma Haddad, Alia Shaheen and Samia Jaheen.