The Ayoub Sisters On Their New Album & Being Discovered By Mark Ronson

Sarah and Laura Ayoub, a Scottish-Egyptian duo, are fast becoming the sound and faces of a truly exciting new generation of classical and crossover artists.

The Ayoub Sisters stop by on Close-Up Culture to talk about their second album, Arabesque.

Listen to Arabesque – theayoubsisters – Listen on Spotify – Linktree

What can audiences expect from the album?

Audiences can expect the familiar sound of a Western classical orchestra, with added elements of Eastern flare including: traditional percussion instruments (tabla, req, duf), the Qanun (the Middle Eastern harp) and several other musical surprises. 

The album boasts inspiration from classic folk melodies from Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Algeria while being unapologetically Caledonian. Can you tell us more about the inspiration for the album and experience putting it together?

The inspiration for this album has to be our Arabic heritage. Our parents are Egyptian, which meant we got the opportunity to visit our family in Cairo every year. We were immersed in the culture from a very young age which included of course hearing Arabic music. It wasn’t until later in life that we started playing and arranging Arabic music as a duo and sometimes quartet. Last year, it felt like the right time to pay tribute to our roots and create a larger body of work to celebrate our background. 

From inception to release, the journey of Arabesque took 18 months. This included of course planning, writing, recording and post production. This was our first time recording and releasing an album independently, so we had to wear quite a lot of hats! Luckily we were supported by our amazing friends and family who encouraged us every step of the way and we are truly delighted with the final product. 

What’s your creative dynamic like together?

Working as sisters has its quirks. We are very similar in our thought process but differ sometimes in our approach to navigating through tricky situations. We balance each other out and support each other on and off stage. We consider ourselves extremely luck to have the relationship that we do.

Your music gets a lot of praise for being innovative. What impact do you hope it has?

We love blurring the lines with genres and challenging musical stereotypes. Our hope is that our music speaks to people from all walks of life, cultures and upbringings. Music is the universal language and does not discriminate. We hope it inspires creativity and unites listeners worldwide. 

I heard that you were discovered by Mark Ronson. What is the story behind that?

Uptown Funk was a pop song that we were a tad obsessed with back in the day. On a whim, we decided to film a video of us playing it on violin/cello. 2 weeks later, we were in Abbey Road Studios with Mark recording a new version of the song. It was one of those right place right time situations that we will always be grateful for. It was an incredible opportunity to work so closely with him in the studio and really embedded our love for exploring different genres on our classical instruments. 

What are your hopes for Arabesque and your plans for the future?

We hope Arabesque will unite not only Arabs worldwide who are familiar with these folk melodies but also open the door and welcome western classical listeners to this rich musical culture. We are delighted to be opening for Alexis Ffrench this October on his UK tour as well as planning our own Arabesque tour for Spring 2023. 

Listen to Arabesque – theayoubsisters – Listen on Spotify – Linktree

Follow the Ayoub Sisters:

Facebook – The Ayoub Sisters | Facebook

Instagram – The Ayoub Sisters (@theayoubsisters) • Instagram photos and videos

Twitter – The Ayoub Sisters (@TheAyoubSisters) / Twitter

Spotify – Spotify – The Ayoub Sisters

YouTube – The Ayoub Sisters – YouTube

Official site – Classical/Crossover Duo | The Ayoub Sisters

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