Brickwork Lizards began to take shape after a chance encounter at a party, when Egyptian vocalist and oud-player Tarik Beshir met Oxford rap scene stalwart Tom O’Hawk. Discovering a mutual love of the 1930s harmony group The Ink Spots, they dreamed up an entirely new sound that would combine pre-war jazz with Arabic and Middle Eastern music, paying tribute along the way to countless other styles.
Over the ten years since, Brickwork Lizards have refined their line-up, adding guitar, drums and trumpet, alongside violin, cello and double bass, while building up a dedicated fan base with hundreds of gigs and festival appearances across the UK. The band’s eight members draw on a wide range of musical experiences, from critically-acclaimed Arabic classical ensembles (Oxford Maqam) to chart-topping pop groups (Saint Etienne). Haneen is Brickwork Lizards’ second long-player, following the success of 2011’s Zaman. In Arabic, ‘haneen’ describes a feeling of nostalgic yearning, and bygone times and places haunt every song on this remarkable record.
The band’s radical re-imaginings of traditional material – from courtly dances of the Ottoman sultans to ancient English hanging songs – evoke centuries of history, and showcase a band adept at crossing borders and taking bold musical risks.
Brickwork Lizards are gearing up for a packed schedule in 2018, with live dates supporting the album release across the UK in January 2018.