The arrival of Tamino is enough to make even an agnostic ponder predestination. The grandson of one of Egypt’s most famed singers, the great Muharram Fouad, Tamino came to the guitar as a teenager only after finding a rare resonator in his late grandfather’s attic. He plays it now alongside the oud, dual links to his cultural past that he uses to understand and articulate his emotional present. And when Tamino, whose jawline could make Euclid blush, sings of mystery and wonder, romance and surrender, worry and hope, you see that he’s been to those places, returning to share what he’s witnessed in a voice as strong as it is delicate, captivating as it is comforting. That is precisely how Sahar, his spellbinding second album, sounds—as though Tamino were born to sing these songs, and we were meant to witness.
Five years ago, Tamino became an unsuspecting star in his native Belgium, catapulted to major stages after winning a national radio contest. He had always expected to write intimate songs for small audiences, but here he was in front of ecstatic crowds that soon included Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood, such a fan he began touring and recording with Tamino. His debut LP—2018’s enormous and immersive Amir—galvanized his emerging star, its musical dynamism and sweeping vocal range netting comparisons to Jeff Buckley and, of course, his grandfather.
The international frenzy that followed the release of his debut, surprised Tamino—shy and sensitive, a self-described recluse. The album has sold over 29k copies and 180 million streams worldwide, finding fans in the Middle East, across Europe and even the US. He found himself cast as the face of Missoni, hand-picked to support Lana Del Rey and appearing on NPR’s legendary Tiny Desk Concert. During the pandemic, Tamino slid into the shadows to write this new record but his fame grew as his dormant Instagram profile gained hundreds of thousands of followers through pure word of mouth.