Belgian-Egyptian singer, Tamino, returned to New York City for a sold-out first night at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on October 12, wrapping up the North American leg of his tour. Joined by Florid, a long-time fan, and opener, Tamino performed his sophomore album Sahar.
Evan Stapleton is an experimental alternative singer-songwriter going by the stage name Florid. Based in New Rochelle, New York, Florid’s syren-like voice held the audience in a trance through his falsettos and melodic vocals combined with his instrumentals from his guitar, and violin accompanied by Jenny Ho. Florid expressed great gratitude towards the crowd mentioning this was his first time performing outside of a “basement” venue.
Tamino Amir, performing solely as Tamino, is an Antwerp-based Belgian-Egyptian alternative singer-songwriter who draws clear influences from Arabic music. After the success of his debut album, Amir, many fans were left impatiently waiting for the release of new music. Tamino, however, took his time crafting his new album. As a result, Sahar was released four years after his first album, but fans universally agreed it was worth the wait.
While Tamino is best known for infusing Arab and Middle Eastern elements with Western music, Sahar reflects a change, lyrically and instrumentally. By drawing back on some of the theatrical aspects of Amir and focusing on acoustic instruments such as the oud and guitar, Tamino has created an album that is strikingly subtle and vulnerable.
Many of his songs are introspective, focusing on themes that involve love, insecurity, faith, and heartbreak. Tamino opened with “A Drop of Blood”, a song inspired by the cruelty and bullying that Tamino faced in his childhood. Despite the experience, his hope in the kindness of humans prevailed.
In a bold decision to travel without a band, Tamino performed songs such as “My Dearest Friend and Enemy” and “Cinnamon”. His presence silenced fans as they quietly listened to a voice that was identical to that of his studio recordings. They did, however, join along with singing favorites such as “Indigo Night” and “Tummy”.
The performance hypnotized fans of all ages and backgrounds, so much so that they barely had their phones out. Tamino proved, yet again, that he is an artist in every sense of the word.
Tamino will begin the European leg of his tour in 2023, starting in Stockholm on February 23.