Eskenderella rocks at major square in downtown Cairo

Menna Taher, Monday 4 Jul 2011

Eskenderella, a popular Egyptian band, rocked centre stage at the last Al Fan Midan, an initiative to bring art to the community by organising performances in major squares

al fan midan

The fourth edition of Al Fan Midan on 2 July in Cairo’s Abdeen Square, like its previous editions, included music performances on two different stages, displayed paintings and photography, as well as a mini-book fair.

Al Fan Midan festival is held the first Saturday of every month. Though the initiative is good and would allow many emerging talents to release their energy, as it reached its fourth edition, all Al Fan Midan boils down to is an unorganised day in a green square that features a lot of mediocre art.

However, Mohamed Abdel Khaleq, one of the organising committee members, told Ahram Online that the emphasis is not currently on the quality of the work but on the availability of a venue that gives residents of Abdeen and Sayeda Zeinab a chance to be subjected to art.

"Whenever residents of Abdeen or El Sayeda Zeinab apply for AlFan Midan we accept them," he said and explained that this initiative gives them a chance to develop their skills pointing out that the organising committee prefers unknown artists who are looking for exposure.

He also said that AlFan Midan aims to spread more in different Egyptian governorates. Currently it takes place in 12 governorates.

Yet, in the fourth edition in Abdeen Square, most performers weren’t given enough attention as attendees were roaming about and socialising. It’s only when the Egyptian band Eskenderella took the stage at 10pm that the crowds gathered by the stage and started cheering enthusiastically and joining in.

Eskenderella started out by dedicating their concert to the martyrs of Egypt’s January 25 Revolution. Samia Jaheen, a singer in the band, emphasised that justice has still not been served and that every concert will be dedicated to them until justice prevails. Many political figures and business tycoons are facing corruption and in some cases murder charges, but the judges keep postponing the trial and by many accounts the courtroom is a corrupt circus.

The song, Segn El Alaa (The citadel prison), was dedicated to those facing military trials, and engaged the audience. Yohka Anna (It’s been told) on the revolutions in the Arab World has received a lot of cheers.

They wrapped up their one-hour performance off with Bel Ebry El Faseeh (In eloquent Hebrew), a parody on Israeli views on Palestinians.

The Egyptian actor Amr Waked gave a short speech before Eskenderella’s performance that received a lot of applause from the audience.

He said that demands were only met after Egyptians applied much pressure; severely criticising the fact that no notable changes had taken place as well as condemning the law banning sit-ins.

Furthermore, he urged all attendees to join the protest in Tahrir Square on 8 July to demand the trial of those in charge for killing the protestors during the revolution. He also stated his belief that a new constitution must be written before the parliamentary elections.

Ramy Essam, who is known as the singer of the revolution, closed off the night.

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