Egypt's arts and culture: The best of June 2015

Ahram Online , Monday 29 Jun 2015

Ahram Online highlights the artistic achievements and important cultural events by Egyptian artists in June 2015

Best of June

Sweden-based Tarabband holds three concerts in Egypt

Formed in 2008, Tarabband, a word game on Tarab and band, is a six-member band composed of Nadin Al Khalidi and five other musicians from Malmö, Sweden. It is a cross-cultural attempt at creating Tarab (defined on the band's official website as "ecstasy through music") steeped in Western melodies.

Tarabband shared their music -- born on the band's amalgam of cultures -- at the El Sawy Culturewheel on 4 June, Cairo Jazz Club on 9 June and Bibliotheca Alexandrina on 10 June.

Read Ahram Online’s interview with Tarabband here.

Youssef Chahine’s 1963 film Al Nasser Saladin
Fragment of Al Nasser Saladin's poster


Zawya screened first full-length Egyptian film with audio description

On Thursday 11 June, Masreya Media, in collaboration with Misr International Films and Zawya Cinema, hosted a special screening of Youssef Chahine’s 1963 film Al Nasser Saladin, designed for the blind and visually impaired.

The screening included audio description, which transforms visual elements in film, theatre, exhibitions, opera and even television programmes into vivid narration.

Read more about the audio description technique here

From left to right- Romain Coutama, Filip Runesson, Gabriel Hermansson, Valter Kinbom, Nadin Al Khalidi and Ferhat Deniz Fors (Photo- Mai Shaheen)


Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor by Cairo’s Celebration Choir

Two performances of Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor were held on Wednesday 17 June at the All Saints Cathedral, Zamalek and Thursday 18 June at the Basilique Cathédrale, Heliopolis.

The evenings featured Cairo Celebration Choir (CCC), soloists, sopranos Dima Bawab and Dina Iskander, tenor Hisham Elguindy, and bass baritone Reda Elwakil and the orchestra that incorporates members of both the Cairo Opera and the Cairo Symphony orchestras. The evenings were under the baton of Nayer Nagui.

Founded in 2000 by Nagui, the Cairo Celebration Choir has established itself as one of the vital pillars of Egypt's cultural life. Aside from large choral works, the choir regularly participates in the annual Christmas Concert organised at the Cairo Opera House where they are joined by the Cairo Opera Orchestra and soloists from the Cairo Opera Company. On the other hand, its Aghani Bel Arabi repertoire includes famous Egyptian choral works by Sayed Darwish and Gamal Abdel-Reheim, arranged by Nagui.

Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor by Cairo’s Celebration Choir
Concert in all Saints Cathedral on 17 June (Photo: Mai Shaheen)


Cinemania, an exhibition of film poster reproductions at Darb 1718

Cinemania, an exhibition of reproduced film posters from the 1950s-1970s, looks into contemporary impressions and interpretations of vintage film posters.

Hosted in Darb 1718 and featuring the work of 11 young artists, Cinemania limits itself to the three decades of the 1950s, 1960 and 1970s and focuses on poster painting in particular.

The creations employ various media tools such as photography, graphic design, and paint.

Cinemania runs until 31 July in Darb 1718, Kasr El-Shame’ Street, Coptic Cairo, Cairo.

Read Ahram Online’s review of Cinemania here.

Cinemania exhibition at Darb 1718 (Photo: Marwa Morgan)


Mahatat's Art of Transit tour: Outa Hamra performance

On 16 June, Outa Hamra, working with Mahatat for Contemporary Art, delivered a performance in Manial, Cairo.    

Outa Hamra is a five-person clown show that works to bring art to places that are deprived of access to cultural activities.

The performance was part of Mahatat's Art of Transit tour, which took place from 12-16 June and spanned Port Said, Damietta, Mansoura and Cairo, the Outa Hamra troupe used music, acting, acrobatics and humour to both entertain and infuse culture into the surrounding community, differing from other types of art because of their accessibility.

Read more about the performance here.

Outa Hamra performs in Manial, Cairo (Photo: Mohamed El-Betity)


Awtar Quartet’s concert at Cairo’s Alrabaa cultural centre

On 21 June, Alrabaa hosted the Awtar Quartet, an ensemble established in 2012 and consisting of the Egyptian musicians Yasser Ghoneim (first violin), Khaled Saleh (second violin), Essam Abdel-Hamid (viola) and Mohamed Abdel-Fattah (cello).

They opened with excerpts from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s famed Scheherazade, a symphonic poem arranged for strings, before moving onto new arrangements of classical Arabic songs and music by Abdel-Wahab, Farid El-Atrash, the Rahbani Brothers, Ammar El-Sherei and Omar Khairat. In the latter segment the quartet was joined by singer Amira Reda and Mohamed Arif on the tabla.

Read Ahram Online’s review of the concert here

Awtar Quartet’s concert
Awtar Quartet joined by singer Amira Reda and Mohamed Araf on the tabla. Concert at Alrab3 on 21 June (Photo- Ati Metwaly)

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