The group name Al Qahwa is Arabic for “the coffee house”. It was inspired by the coffee house culture in the Middle East where people would go to hear the latest news, music, poetry and stories. The repertoire began with traditional songs from Syria, Egypt and Iraq and then in 2018, the group started adding original repertoire by members of the band. Their second recording “Cairo Moon” is a cultural collaboration between the regular members of Al Qahwa and two guest artists: Dr. Alfred Gamil – one of Cairo’s treasured violinists/composers who is both steeped in tradition and known for his virtuosic, flirtatious creative presence; and Majd Sukar – a deeply rooted Syrian musician who has adapted the clarinet to Arabic music.

The group is excited about their latest recording “African Routes” with guests: Roula Said – a long time collaborator with Maryem, originally from Palestine; Waleed Abdulhamid – originally from Sudan; and Fethi Nadjem – originally from Algeria. This CD is inspired by the music of North Africa. Fethi and Waleed were invited to contribute songs, or to help arrange both traditional and original compositions that Maryem brought to them. This Live CD is a result of that collaboration.

“African Routes” was released in November, 2020.

Al Qahwa is working a new recording with support from The Toronto Arts Council.

To buy the CD or tracks digitally, go to:


To order and buy physical CDs directly from the band, send email to AlQahwaEnsemble@gmail.com

To support Al Qahwa, please donate to their tip jar at this link:


Or click the yellow donate button below:



FMO Spotlight Showcase

October 15, 2022 - October 17, 2022

12:10 a.m.

London, ON

Al Qahwa is looking forward to showcasing IN PERSON – woo hoo! – as a 6 piece at the Folk Music Ontario 2022 Conference in London, ON – Maryem Tollar, Ernie Tollar, Naghmeh Farahmand, Demetri Petsalakis, Waleed Abdulhamid, Roula Said – The showcase is happening on Saturday night – but after midnight at 12:10 a.m. (so technically Sunday – but really it’s Saturday night 🙂