Art Alert: Palestinian group Yalalan to perform in Cairo, Alexandria

Ahram Online , Thursday 16 Jun 2016

Founded in 2005, the group works on the preservation and dissemination of traditional Arabic music

(Photo: Fragment from promotional material)

Yalalan, a Palestinian group that celebrates Arabic musical heritage, are scheduled to deliver two concerts in Egypt, on 22 June at the Cairo Opera House, and on 24 June at Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

According to Ahram Arabic news website, the Cairo concert is organised by Palestine's embassy in Cairo as part of its annual Ramadan programme, and will be attended by the Palestinian Ambassador Gamal El-Shobaki. 

Yalalan Group For Music and Singing was founded in 2005 by “a number of young people with promising futures, who took it upon themselves to disseminate the Palestinian and Arab musical tradition as a unified voice while they transmit their artistic and national message,” reads the description section of the group's official Facebook page.

Yalalan revisits songs from turath (Arabic music heritage), performing covers for Sheikh Imam, Fairouz, Sayed Darwish, Marcel Khalife and Mohamed Abdel-Wahab, among others.

The troupe also performs Palestinian folkloric songs as well as adwar (singular: dawr, a light song with some space for improvisation) and muwashahat (singular: muwashah, a genre of classical Arabic music which came to light in Al-Andalus — now southern Spain — and is an important facet of Tarab).

The group's line-up comprises vocalists Mohamed Awad, Ahmed Mazaaro, Mohamed Mostafa, Youmna Abou Helal, Mira Abou Helal, Henna El-Hajj Hassan, as well as the following group of musicians: Mohamed Negm (clarinet and nay), Khalil Khoury (qanoun), Maher El-Shafei (violin), Samer Jaradat (percussion), Hassan Jedah (percussion), and Ibrahim Nejm (contrabass and oud).

As for the meaning that underpins the band's name "Yalalan", it is “a word that was made significant by Andalusian music in the Moroccan tradition, since it constitutes the link between short and long melody phrases, thus effecting balance between them and instilling a distinguished spirit in performance that delights the listeners,” reads the description section of the group's official Facebook page.

As such, as the description reads, Yalalan can be seen as analogous to the words Aman and Yallalali, both of which are sung in the classical Arabic song.


Wednesday 22 June, 9pm
Cairo Opera House, Open Air Theatre, Zamalek, Cairo

Friday 24 June, 9.30pm
Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Great Hall, Alexandria

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