Tunisian musician Bouchnak enchants audiences at the Arab Music Festival

Sara Neamatallah, Monday 11 Nov 2013

Audience showers renowned Tunisian artist Lotfy Bouchnak with teddy bears during his Cairo performance at the Arab Music Festival

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Tunisian artist Lotfy Bouchtak at Arab Music Festival (Photo: Ahram Gate)

The 22nd Arab Music Festival, in Cairo from 6 to 14 November, exhibited a strong first week with performances by Arab artists across the region.

The festival's fourth night began with Lebanese violinist Gehad Akl, who performed famous Egyptian songs by Shadia, Wadei El-Safi, Om Kalthum and others.

When Tunisian musician Lotfy Bouchnak took to the stage, all were surprised to find the serious artist adding a fun-loving spirit, engaging with the audience throughout his performance.

Accompanied by the Hefny Music Troupe, Bouchnak peppered his routine with jokes, creating a friendly relationship with listeners.

Bouchnak dedicated a few words to Egypt, then performed his song "We sing to live," inviting the audience to sing along.

The audience laughed and cheered when, during his performance of "The Chairs" – a satirical play on the political issues facing Arab countries – Bouchnak got up from his chair, picked it up and turned it upside down while looking down upon it. This twist, a tribute to the Arab Spring revolutions, prompted fans to shower him with teddy bears.

Bouchnak also performed compositions on request. During "Those who envied me blamed me," a classic Arabic song with which he ended the concert, Bouchnak substituted the song's lyrics to salute Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Libya and the Gulf countries.

Upon the listeners' request, Bouchnak sang also for Lebanon and Sudan.

Throughout the concert, Bouchnak sang several patriotic songs including "People United," "I am a citizen," "This is a song for them," "Tactics and a tune," "The Chairs," and "I am here."

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