Home Andalusian Music Travel Diary About Us Donate Contact Us Sign Up

Cairo Music Guide

Cairo offers a potpourri of musical styles, from traditional to pop to jazz. I hope this guide will help you discover the exciting musical scene in Cairo!

Live Events Guide

This event listing site for the expat community covers major events in Cairo, including the Tannoura (it is literally "skirt" but means "whirling dervish dance") in the Citadel.


El Sawy Culture Wheel
The El Sawy culture wheel is Egypt's representative cultural center, showing a wide variety of Egyptian and non-Egyptian performances. Some traditional Arab music. Multiple indoor auditoriums and one large outdoor venue.
More Info: Location, Tickets, Dining, Language, Smoking, and more

Cairo Opera House
Arab classical music, European operas, symphony concerts, ballets, and the like. The opera house has its own orchestra and opera and ballet company. Many foreign governments also send their orchestras, ballet companies, theater companies, and other performing ensembles.
More Info: Location, Tickets, Dining, Language, Smoking, and more

Cairo Jazz Club
This is the jazz club most representative of the Cairo jazz scene. Nice and clean. Smoking permitted. It also presents pop bands and dance parties with a DJ. Online ticketing available.

More Info: Location, Tickets, Dining, Language, Smoking, and more

After Eight
The young people's Cairo dive. Smoky. Danceable pop music. Follow my directions closely or you won't find it!

More Info: Location, Tickets, Dining, Language, Smoking, and more


The best known dancer, Dina.
International hotels offer belly dance shows in their restaurants, with a small band. You pay for what you eat and drink as well as the table charge - the total bill could cost about the same as good restaurants in New York.

Occasionally, big hotel banquet rooms are used for dinner shows by top pop stars from Egypt and other countries (presented by music agencies) as well as top Egyptian belly dancers. You can book at these hotels.

These dinner shows are expensive, and can be $200 USD, or more. It includes a regular hotel dinner. These shows tend to use a very big orchestra - for instance, 50 instrumentalists (both Arab and Western musical instruments) and a 10-piece back chorus. These shows involving at least two groups start very late at 11pm and run 4 hours or so, and the featured artist will appear in the wee hours of the morning.



There are three kinds of music boats: (1) dinner cruises, (2) stationary and floating night clubs, and (3) boat and musicians for hire.

(1) A dinner show with typical Egyptian music and dance - folkloric, pop, and belly dance music are performed, with a belly dancer for the belly dance, and a male dancer doing a stick dance and a whirling dervish. The food is good. You can book these through your hotel. Boats depart at 8pm, and some also have a second later cruise as well.

(2) Night clubs with belly dancers. Your hotel may know which one is good.

(3) There are traditional "Takht" musicians that you can hire on the spot by the river for two hours, and then a small boat will take you up and down the Nile River while two or three or four musicians play traditional music for you. However, you will need a local friend to negotiate all this.

Clubs in Giza

I know there are many night clubs with live music and belly dancers on Pyramids Street in Giza, but I personally have never been in one of these sleazy places. Unescorted women should definitely not go there to avoid trouble. And if you do go there, don't forget to negotiate the price before you sit down. Otherwise, you could be in for a shock!

Artists - YouTube Videos

Wust al-Balad (meaning "the downtown" in Cairo dialect)
A video from the band's appearance at Tahrir Square during the recent uprising.

Egyptian band playing Rai music of Algeria. Saeed is the Egyptian vocalist with the Algerian voice.

The vocalist Mohammed Beshir comes from the Upper Nile (Nubia in the south).

A video from the band's appearance at After Eight

Amro Salah
Amro is the president of the jazz association of Egypt, which runs the Cairo Jazz Festival every March.


Riff Band

Pop – these are top stars known internationally
Amr Diab
Egyptian men think this is Western music for girls.

Working class popular music.

Newer than Hakim, working class popular music.

Mohamed Mounir


Samira Said
(Originally from Morocco)

To sample more pop music, please see Free Music Egypt

Music Festivals

Arab Music Festival
End of October to early November
At the Cairo Opera House. Features Egyptian and other Arab musicians.
No homepage found.

Cairo Jazz Festival
Mid-March (3 days)
Egyptian and international jazz artists perform at El Sawy and Cairo Jazz Club.

Ahlan wa Sahlan Festival
Late June (1 week)
Belly dancers from around the world come to the Mena House Hotel next to the pyramids in Giza at the end of June for weeklong workshops and performances for belly dance.
Organized by Raqia Hassan, former dancer with the Mahmoud Reda Troupe.

Nile Group Festival
Four times every year (1 week long each)
A parade of Egyptian dance masters teach students from all over the world.