Shumays received a bachelor's degree in music composition from Harvard University before turning to Arab music. He first studied Arab violin under Simon Shaheen in New York (1998-2001), then traveled to Egypt on a Fulbright Fellowship. After a year in Egypt, studied classical muwashahat singing with Mohammad Qassas, and violin with Abdul-Baset Bakkar and Abdul-Min?im Senkary in Syria. Shumays is the director of the ensemble Zikrayat (Memories), a New York-based ensemble dedicated to presenting the traditional repertoire of Arab music and dance. Zikrayat also performs original compositions and specializes in music from the ?golden age? of Egyptian cinema. Zikrayat?s dancers focus on authentic Egyptian Raqs Sharqi (bellydance), especially as embodied by such legends as Naima Akif and Samia Gamal.
Zikrayat Ensemble Website