Despite the rise of fundamentalists, attacks and violence in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, Arish Troupe for folk arts and efforts to preserve Sinia’s folk heritage remains unaffected.
The revolution, on the other hand, according to folk musician, Abdel Maqsoud Ramadan, has affected the troupe, as it did much as the rest of the country. "However things started to calm down again since the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) left power.
"Our performance season begins with Sinai’s Liberation Day," he added, emphasising the centricity of Sinai folklore in their purpose - and not politics. Ramadan notes that the troupe was never harassed by any violent or fundamentalist group.
"We present Sinai’s folk art; something that does not negate the traditions of society and we perform in and out of Sinai," concluded Ramadan, who plays the traditional wind instrument, magrouna.
Arish Troupe for folk arts and preservation of Sinai folk heritage was established in 1979 with an aim to preserve and revive the indigenous and folk heritage of the Land of Turquoise, as Camelia Adam, the troupe’s manager puts it. The troupe was initiated by a handful Sinai-native directors and choreographers.
"What makes this troupe unique is its constant dwells in folk motifs of the Sinai heritage," explained Atef Abdel Hamid, director and one of the troupe's founders, adding that the troupe showcases the diversity of Sinai’s heritage in a visual form.
The troupe is formed out of some 55 male and female performers, ranging from 15 - 25 years old. Performances range between folk dances, as well as 22 musical sketches that highlight the colourful Sinai heritage in a nutshell, from everything on how they make their coffee to their marriage rituals.