A unique and personal look at two musical traditions is coming to Colchester thanks to former Colchester Institute tutor Daniel Merrill.

A Daniel Merrill concert is a bit like buses at the moment because you wait months for one and then two come all at once.

Last week he was playing with local vicar Matt Simpkins, as part of the fiery fiddle-playing duo Sons of Joy, and this week he’s back at the Colchester Arts Centre with his newest musical project, which he has conceived with his Egyptian wife, Fayrouz Kaddal.

KaddalMerrill is the collaboration of classically trained Egyptian flautist, Fayrouz and innovative folk fiddler Daniel, who many will know from his work with Colchester experimental trio.

The pair met when Daniel was in Fayrouz’s home town of Alexandria for a music workshop.

He says: “It was in a disused space a bit like Slackspace that we had in Colchester, about six years ago and Fayrouz was there with her band, High Dam.”

“The name comes from the Aswan Dam,” Fayrouz explains, “we are all 3rd generation Nubians, which is the geographical area in the south of Egypt and north Sudan.

“The Dam was constructed in 1964 and as a part of the work, 100,000 people were re-located. High Dam explored those issues of displacement and Nubian ancestry.”

Themes which the couple have continued with in their new project.

KaddalMerrill combines traditionally melodic instrumentation of flute and violin to weave together a fusion of Egyptian, Nubian and British musical traditions.

Underpinned by exuberant Egyptian percussion and the polyrhythmic drum grooves of Sudanese dance, this is music that invites you not so much on a journey but into the intimate space of the music's creators, as they explore their cultural and musical roots.

The intricate melodies of Fayrouz’s flute and Daniel’s violin dive, dance and spin through the heady beats of traditional Middle Eastern drums.

Daniel says: “This is music we’ve had in mind for some time, since I started spending time in Egypt six years ago.

“When I came back to the UK, Fayrouz and I kept on talking, mainly about music, and then when I returned she showed me all around Alexandria and introduced me to some incredible musicians.

“The real revelation for me was the discovery of the Nubian sound, which a lot of people would say is Egyptian but is very distinctive in its own right.”

“We always thought that the mix of cultures would provide fertile ground for our creativity,” adds Fayrouz “but the results have taken us to another place altogether.

“Nubian music is intrinsically linked to everyday life, playing an important part in wedding ceremonies, birth celebrations, all kinds of occasions where people eat and sing together.”

While Daniel is best known for his work with the free folk ensemble Dead Rat Orchestra, Fayrouz has performed and recorded with the likes of AfriCairo and High Dam Band, exploring the African aspects of Egypt’s heritage.

As part of her anthropological studies, she is additionally researching the effect of displacement on the music of the Nubian people.

Now Fayrouz and Daniel are bringing this gorgeous blend of cultures to the UK with a short tour of the country that ends at the Colchester Arts Centre on Friday.

The debut KaddalMerrill album Rain Over Nubia has been released on CD and download on Suffolk-based Antigen Records, to coincide with the tour.

It features masterful performances from musicians from Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea, such as percussion duo Bouda Abdul-Yazeed and Wessam Moktar, Ashraf Awad, Sudanese Oud player with The Nile Project, and Ahmed Samir Rashwan, saxophonist with RT Nuba.

Recorded between Krouma Camp, Soheil Island in Aswan, The Sudanese Club in Alexandria, and El Warsha Studios, Giza, both Fayrouz and Daniel are delighted with the finished product.

Daniel says: “I remember seeing a Nubian music ensemble in Denmark and thinking it was Egyptian music, so I’ve really enjoyed exploring the different rhythms and beats of its sounds.

“What’s very interesting is how the music of Nubia has influenced the English folk tradition. Musicians like oud player Hamza Eldin, who is revered among English folk guitarists.”

“That’s what we wanted to do with this album,” Fayrouz says, “to explore those ideas and the relationship between English folk and Nubian music.

“I think people are very surprised when I tell them that the more Nubian pieces on the record are the one actually composed by Daniel.”

KaddalMerrill is at the Colchester Arts Centre this Friday, August 16, at 7.30pm.

With support from Alex Rex, whose new album Otterburn is out now on Tin Angel Records, tickets are £8 and £7 for concessions, available in advance on 01206 500900 or on-line at www.colchesterartscentre.com