Egypt’s arts and culture: The best of July 2016

Ahram Online , Sunday 31 Jul 2016

Ahram Online highlights Egypt's artistic achievements and important cultural events of July 2016

The best of July 2016

Lebanese oud virtuoso Marcel Khalife performs in Alexandria

On 29 July, celebrated Lebanese oud virtuoso, composer and singer Marcel Khalife opened the 14th edition of Bibliotheca Alexandrina International Summer Festival.

Khalife was accompanied by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Orchestra under the baton of maestro Hisham Gabr, and also his son Rami on piano.

During two hours, Khalife took the audience on a journey that exhibited some of his music compositions, like Sabah Al-Layl (Salute) and Tango La Oyoun Habibti (Tango for my Lover’s Eyes), as well as some of his own songs and selections from the Arabic music repertory.

From his own songs, Khalife revisited some of his important collaborations with late iconic Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, including Rita, Salam Aalayki (Peace Be With You) and Jawaz Al-Safar (Passport), originally written as poems by Darwish then set to music by Khalife.

Khalife also revisited his collaboration with contemporary Emirati poet Mohamed El-Sewedi titled Ya Sari, as well as Rakwat Arab (Arabic Coffeepot) whose lyrics were written as a poem by celebrated Lebanese poet Talal Haidar and which Khalife then set to music. He also delivered his rendition of Ya Naseem Al Reeh (“Oh, Breeze of the Wind”), by 9th century Persian poet and Sufi mystic Husayn ibn Mansur Al-Halla

Khalife also paid tribute to iconic Egyptian musician Sayyed Darwish, performing Darwish’s Telaat Ya Mahla Nourha (The sun has come out), and performed his instrumental articulation of Qatr Al Nada (Dewdrop), a classic Egyptian song originally performed by Egyptian film icon Shadia.

Marcel Khalife
Marcel Khalife performs in Bibliotheca Alexandrina on 29 July 2016. (Photo: Ati Metwaly)

Tamer El-Said’s In the Last Days of the City wins the Grand Prix at the Polish MFF T-Mobile Nowe Horyzonty Film Festival, Wroclaw

The award marked the film’s Polish premiere, with two screenings at the festival, on 28 and 29 July. 

The film had its world premiere at Berlinale where it won the Caligari film prize and was the only entry by an Egyptian director to take part in the 46th annual Berlinale Forum.

The film is currently having its Australian premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival, screening twice, 31 July and on 9 August. Earlier this month, the film was screened in Italy at the Pesaro Film Festival, in Brazil at to Olhar de Cinema - Curitiba Int'l Film Festival, and in June it screened at Malta’s Valletta Film Festival.

In the Last Days of the City
(Photo: Still from In the Last Days of the City)

Maryam Saleh and Zeid Hamdan at El-Genaina Theatre

On Friday, 29 July, Maryam Saleh and Zeid Hamdan accompanied by three musicians on bass, guitar and drums, played to an ecstatic crowd at El-Geneina Theatre in Al-Azhar Park.

The show opened with the musicians' humourous rendition of Sheikh Imam's Nixon Baba, to which the entire audience knew the lyrics by heart, much like every other song they performed. Saleh (who is also a theatre artist), with her exceptional stage presence, brought the crowd to the edge of their seats.

Saleh and Hamdan first teamed up in 2010, under the name ShiftZ feat Maryam, creating the original hit single Eslahat. Five years later, in September 2015, they released their joint album Halawella (Clowns), comprised of six covers and five original songs.

Maryam Saleh
Maryam Saleh and Zeid Hamdan at El Genaina Theatre on 29 July 2016 (Photo: Rawan Ezzat)

Sanduq El-Dunia: An interactive project to preserve the memory of Cairo and Cairenes

Launched on 27 July, Sanduq El-Dunia is part of a network of "walls" documenting in images the memory of the city of Cairo.

Organised by the Danish-Egyptian Dialogue Institute's (DEDI), Sanduq El-Dunia hosted a collection of personal and public images showing Cairo's daily life and landscape, its memory and heritage.

It is the third installation of its kind — originally pioneered by the Museum of Copenhagen —developed and designed by Gibson International and Spild af Tid/Waste of Time.

Cairo's Sanduq El-Dunia is a 75-inch touch screen installation of its own through which viewers are able to navigate a large archive of images or upload their own photos.

Read more here

Sanduq El-Dunia
Sanduq El-Dunia (Photo: courtesy of the Danish Egyptian Dialogue Institute)

Young Egyptian artist Nourhan Maayouf wins South Africa's prestigious art competition

Egyptian photographer Nourhan Maayouf was announced as the winner of the main prize at the 2016 Barclays L’Atelier, described on its website as South Africa's most prestigious contemporary art competition.

The competition, which was open for entries between January and March, revealed the results this week.

Maayouf was the only Egyptian artist to have reached the finalist shortlist this year and the only Egyptian to have won the main award in the competition's history.

Maayouf entered a body of work titled July Tale, a series of three portraits, each depicting "the complexity of a relationship. The attachment of two souls in spite of being blind and silent about their mutual issues," the notes accompanying the work reveal.

Read our interview with Maayouf here

July Tale
Award winning work by Nourhan Maayouf: July Tale (Photo: Courtesy of the artist)

El-Nafikha energises audiences of El-Sawy Culturewheel

El-Nafikha brass quintet, a two-year old brass quintet, is taking the music scene by storm

Their July concerts include performances at Westown Hub, El-Sawy Culturewheel and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

Wherever they go they seem to gain the audience’s hearts and attention instantly. This is in large part due to their original show, which fuses music and a theatrical approach to the material presented.

Ahram Online followed El-Nafikha in their Cairo concert at El-Sawy Culturewheel where they gave one of their lively and energetic performances. Taken by the music played by El-Nafikha band on the stage, some of the audience left their seats and got up to dance.

The line-up of El-Nafikha (meaning The Blowers) brass ensemble consists of Mohamed Sawwah and Walid Gabr on trumpets, Amir Ibrahim and Ahmed Ismail on trombones, and Masaki Okajima on the tuba. The brass players are accompanied by Khaled El-Sayes on oriental percussion and Sameh Shaaban on drums.

The band often covers traditional Arabic music, arranging the compositions for brass instruments. In this interesting and uncommon combination, the trumpets, trombones and tuba become musical protagonists, adding a Western touch to well-known Arabic tunes.

Read more about ElNafikha's concert at El Sawy Culturewheel here

El Nafikha
El Nafikha band performs at El Sawy Culturewheel on Monday 25 July 2016 (Photo: Ati Metwaly)

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