Sharif Sehnaoui is a free-improvising guitarist whose aim is to expand the possibilities of the instrument without the use of effects or electronics. He has also been a key force in the unprecedented rise of Lebanon's experimental music scene.
Sehnaoui began his career as a musician in Paris in 1998, where he was a member of several orchestras and a frequent guest at Instants Chavirés. After ten years in France, he resettled in his native Beirut, where his current groups and projects include the A Trio with Kerbaj and Raed Yassin, and Wormholes, an audio-visual performance in which Kerbaj draws live on a glass table. He also performs solo on the acoustic guitar using unique percussive techniques, mainly turning to the electric guitar for soundtracking dance performances and composing for film.
Alongside fellow CTM 2016 performer Mazen Kerbaj, Sehnaoui founded Lebanon's annual Irtijal Festival in 2000: the premiere gathering for improvised and new music in the Arab world. He also heads up three labels: Al Maslakh, whose mission is to "publish the unpublishable" on the Lebanese musical scene; Johnny Kafta's Kids Menu, an Al Maslakh sublabel for rock-influenced sounds; and Annihaya, which is oriented around sampling and recycling aspects of Lebanese folk and popular culture. Notably, CTM guest curator and Morphosis label head Rabih Beaini's Albidaya LP was released on Annihaya in 2013.
Over the years, Sehnaoui has collaborated with notable musicians such as Michael Zerang, Paed Conca, Thierry Madiot, Fabrizio Spera, Franz Hautzinger, Xavier Charles, Tarek Atoui, Tony Buck, John Butcher, Susie Ibarra, Alan Bishop, Umut Çağlar, Michael Vorfeld, and Saadet Turkoz. His appearance at CTM 2016 follows his festival debut with Trio A, in 2007.