Anwar Ali & Dave Owen
Anwar Ali moved to the UK as a refugee, originally hailing from the Bajuni Islands; a tropical paradise off the coast of East Africa.
Dave Owen is a guitarist from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, who’s been knocking around Liverpool for years.
So what are the chances that Anwar and Dave would start playing music together?
Somewhat fortuitously, the pair met in Liverpool’s Zanzibar Club, simultaneously captivated by the others' distinct and contrasting sound. Anwar and Dave resolved to meet and explore the possibilities and avenues that were presented by their ingenuities.
The sound they produce is a unique blend; steeped in Swahili and East African musical heritage, and underpinned by a British folk sensibility. Dave’s acoustic guitar complements Anwar’s oud, with the artists' shared passion and intensity producing a haunting and emotive sound.
The pair have already clocked up several notable support slots including The West African Blues Project and Malian legends Amadou & Mariam, plus appearances at festivals including Fire in the Mountain and the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival. They will also play at this year’s Africa Oye Festival in Liverpool, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
"The duo of Anwar Ali and Dave Owen and their laid-back romantic Swahili songs were the discovery of the weekend"
Jenny Lee Summers, BBC Radio Merseyside
"Resonates with a mix of the exotic and the familiar"
"A unique glimpse into the beautiful music of an East African culture"
"Demands your attention"