Hayy Festival brings Arab, African female musicians to Cairo this Ramadan

Ahram Online, Tuesday 8 Jul 2014

In its ninth edition, Hayy Festival brings talented female musicians from Sudan, Jordan, Palestine, Algeria and Morocco to El-Genaina Theatre's stage

Alsarah to open Hayy Festival 2014 (Photo: Courtesy of Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafi)

Over three weekends from 10-25 July, Hayy Festival's 9th edition brings five talented musicians from across the Arab world and North Africa to Cairo this Ramadan.

The musicians hail from Sudan, Jordan, Palestine, Algeria and Morocco and most nights will feature opening acts by up and coming Egyptian female musicians.

The first concert starts on Thursday 10 July with the Sudanese group Alsarra and the Nubatones, who present east African retro pop and have previously been part of the Nile Project.

The following week Lara Elayyan (Jordan) takes the stage with a performance centred on reviving traditional Palestinian and Jordanian music. Also focused on traditional and folk music is Palestinian Dalia Abu Amneh, who performs the next day.

The last weekend of the festival features musician Hansa El-Besharia, a Gnawa musician and poet from Algeria. The final performance of the festival will be by Moroccan contemporary sonic poet and singer Aziza Braheim.

The organisers, Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy (Cultural Resource), one of Egypt's most dynamic cultural agencies, has a solid mission to support artistic creativity in the Arab world and foster rich cultural exchange in the region.

The nonprofit also participates in developing young talents and artists locally and regionally.

The Hayy Festival takes place in the open-air El-Genaina Theatre inside Al-Azhar Park. The venue, which was designed by the Young Arab Theatre Fund and inaugurated in 2005, has hosted many of Al-Mawred's festivals and performances.

Alongside Ramadan's Hayy Festival, El-Genaina Theatre also hosts seasonal festivals that feature Egyptian and regional, Arab performers.

The first edition of the Hayy Festival took place in Ramadan 2005, with a diverse line-up of artistic events, including music performances, Sufi chanting concerts, poetry recitals, circus and puppet shows and more, setting the tone for a series of dynamic and evolving editions over the following years.

The annual festival celebrated Ramadan with artistic events that reflect the multi-layered nature of Egyptian cultural heritage, featuring acts from Cairo, the Nile Delta, Upper Egypt and Suez, among others. Hayy also became an opportunity for regional and international artists to perform a variety of genres, including jazz, rock and classical music for a local audience, effectively expanding the scope of the Egyptian audience's cultural experience.

Evolving over the years, Ramadan's Hayy Festival turned towards showcasing female musicians.

For details on the event times, check out Ahram Online's Ramadan Culture Agenda.

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