MASSAR EGBARI means “Compulsory Detour”, which resembles the society we live in today. They specifically chose this title as it explains how we are expected, or rather, dictated to behave and dress in certain manners. Both, in title and in spirit, the band pokes fun at typical social norms and trends, which is clearly reflected in their music and chosen lyrics.
This sarcastic name was created since the band members felt that the society is trying to imply its power over people starting from their childhood till the day they die. This social power wants to stereotype everything including the way people think and feel, leaving no space for creation and innovation.
Massar Egbari presents music and songs talking about the social problems. Love is not thier main concern although it represents a part of our songs. Through the members’ different musical backgrounds, the band is presenting a kind of Alternative Egyptian Music, mixing rock, jazz and blues with some Oriental music.
You can neither call their music western, nor you can call it oriental; it is something in between, or maybe both! In one song they take you up to the western beat and lead you back to the oriental taste, something that satisfies different preferences.
In 2007, Massar Egbari started its international musical career as it participated in 2 international festivals: Malta Arts Festival in Valletta-Malta and in Barisa Rock Festival in Istanbul – Turkey (a three-days festival, 62 bands from more than 6 countries). In 2008, the band participated in the International Biennale of young artist from Europe and the Mediterranean (Puglia 2008) in Bari – Italy.
In 2009, Massar Egbari was invited as a special guest in the International Biennale of young artists from Europe and the Mediterranean in Skopje, FYROM, and they performed 6 times on different stages in the city. The band also participated in Adriatico Mediterraneo Festival in Ancona (Italy) in 2009.
In 2010, Massar Egbari performed at the old Fort in Zanzibar (Tanzania) with 40 bands from other African countries in Sauti Za Busara Music Festival. The Festival is considered one of the most important music festivals in East Africa. In July 2010 , the band had a tour in Macedonia. They performed in Lokum Festival in Bitola , and played several gigs in Bitola and Ohrid.
By the end of 2010, the band started to have gigs in the Arab world as they performed at Dubai International Film Festival in December 2010 , and in Quarein Festival in Kuwait in January 2011.
Iraqi-American trumpeter, santour player, vocalist, and composer Amir ElSaffar is on the forefront of a wave of musicians who are incorporating the traditional musical styles of their cultural backgrounds with modern sensibilities, blurring the lines and conventions that differentiate styles, toward a music that resonates human. Whether playing trumpet in a jazz context, or singing and playing santour in an Iraqi setting, ElSaffar brings a depth of emotion and authenticity to his music that has spoken to musicians and audiences globally. Growing up in River Forest, IL, a suburb west of Chicago, ElSaffar was first exposed to by his father to the recordings of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, and to music from the Blues Brothers Soundtrack. He received his first musical training singing in the Church Choir at the Lutheran school he attended, and his mother taught him to sing and play American folk songs on ukulele and guitar when he was nine. He eventually found his calling with the trumpet. While pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in trumpet from DePaul University, ElSaffar was performing throughout the Chicago area with jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, and salsa groups, in addition to being a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for two years, wherein he worked with conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Daniel Barenboim, and Mstislav Rostropovich.