The Marvellous Case of Tamino | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 19, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 19, 2020

The Marvellous Case of Tamino

Have you ever found something extraordinary yet obscure? You wish to make it known and keep it a secret at the same time. Most of all, you want to cherish it, like trapping lightning in a bottle. That's what happened to me late last year.

One night, I watched an interesting music video for a song called "Cigar"by Tamino, a Belgian singer-songwriter of Egyptian descent. In it, a skeleton comes back to life for one night of fun as a sweet voice croons away about death and the meaning of life. The song felt soothing, so I decided to delve deeper into his music.

My foolish heart was unprepared for what was to come; the next song I listened to, "Habibi", secured the deal. The intense longing curled around every note felt like gut punches to the soul. The rest of Tamino's back catalogue is replete with such musical gems—songs about love, loss, and mysticism. He has the power to break your heart and mend all the cracks in such a way that you end up thanking and forgiving him. His voice has moved me so much that discovering him was probably the best thing to have happened to me in 2019.

Named after the protagonist of Mozart's The Magic Flute, it is a no-brainer that Tamino was meant to win and break hearts with his magical voice. His heritage is prominent in his work, from effortlessly tweaking Arabic quartertones to featuring an Arabic orchestra in his debut album, Amir. Apart from having a lovely voice, Tamino is great with words as well. His lyrics echo the romantic imagery found in the works of Kahlil Gibran. The music videos of his singles, directed by his brother Ramy, are crafted to complement the aesthetics of the songs perfectly, and deserve equal praise as the music.

Tamino's soulful voice has drawn critics to compare him to the likes of Radiohead's Thom Yorke, Muse's Matt Bellamy, Jeff Buckley, and Leonard Cohen. Speaking of Radiohead, their bassist Colin Greenwood tours with him and is featured in the album. They have also tried to pigeonhole him into the alternative/indie niche. However, I believe that Tamino is unique in his own way. His music feels timeless and ageless, hence it would be unfair to try to put him in a box.


Adhora Ahmed daydreams too much. Send her reality checks at


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