Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival: 1-15 July 2007
2007 saw the sixth successive Arabic Art Festival, with highlights including a unique performance from Marcel Khalife and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Artists were drawn from Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Palestine, France, America and Britain.
The Official Festival Launch
Sun 1 July, 12.30-4.30pm | Sefton Park Palm House | Free
An afternoon of fun and activity for all the family, to launch the Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival 2007! Come down to the park and enjoy live music, dance, workshops, stalls and food which reflect traditional and contemporary Arab culture – served up with true Arabic hospitality. The day includes:
El Tanbura a collective of musicians, fishermen and philosophers playing traditional ‘Pharaonic’ funk – Sufi chants, ancient lyres and driving rhythms from Port Said in Egypt.
Hagage AJ Masaed the first musician to combine Arabic music and language with rap. A Yemeni American musician born in Ohio, AJ’s music aims to heal ignorance and hatred.
Al Zaytouna the UK based Palestinian group perform traditional and contemporary Dabke dance and music, an artistic celebration of Palestinian life and culture.
Arabic Health Fair and Arabic Bazaar with stalls and food from across the Arab world.
BBC Community Bus
Ashraf Hanna Ceramics
2-21 July, 10am-5.30pm | Bluecoat Display Centre | Free
An opportunity to see a collection of contemporary ceramics by Egyptian born Ashraf Hanna. Inspired by ancient forms and techniques, Ashraf hand-builds his earthenware vessels which are burnished and then smoke-fired using the Raku technique. All the work in the exhibition is for sale.
Coal, Frankincense and Myrrh: Yemen and British Yemenis
Tues 10 July, 6.30pm | Open Eye Gallery | Free
Nationally renowned photographer Tim Smith talks about exploring stories of Yemeni migration and the shared histories of Britain and Yemen. His photographs, taken along the ancient incense and spice routes of Yemen, show its trading role at the crossroads of Arabia, Africa, Europe and the Far East. Tim will describe his journeys to remote towns and villages to find those who began the process of migration to Britain. Refreshments will be provided.
New Networks: Contemporary Art in the Arab World
Fri 13 July, 10.30am-5pm | Tate Liverpool | Free
This one day seminar looks at the new networks that have emerged between the artists, curators and institutions in the Arab world over the last five years. Do the lines of communication between neighbours in the Middle East still run via London, Paris and New York? What is the impact of a publications such as Bidoun and a platform such as the Sharjah Biennial as on the production of young artists? Organised by Liverpool Biennial as part of a series of seminars in the context of International 08.
This Day Films at FACT
FACT is delighted to present three programmes from This Day, a series of short films and video works by international artists whose work refers to the Middle East from their own cultural, social, historical and political contexts. Curated by Predrag Pajdic and presented as part of FACT’s SEEN programme of experimental film and artists’ film and video, This Day, is supported by Arts Council England, the Henry Moore Foundation, British Council, Visiting Arts and the Arts Club. FACT gratefully acknowledges support from North West Vision.
Weds 4 July, 6.30pm | FACT | £4 / £3
Introduced by Larissa Sansour.
Reality Check takes stock of everyday concerns and behaviours such as love, seduction, social manners and gossip. Work by Akram Al-Ashqar (Palestine), Mohammed Hammad (Egypt), Vesna Milicevic (Serbia), Nesrine Khodr & Ghassan Salhab (Lebanon/Senegal), Doa Aly (Egypt) and Khalil Rabah (Palestine). Artist Larissa Sansour will be at the screening to discuss her work.
Weds 11 July, 7.30pm | FACT | £4 / £3
Replay examines the nature of memory and knowledge. With work by Shady El Noshokaty (Egypt), Lamia Joreige (Lebanon), Lina Saneh (Lebanon), Mario Rizzi (Italy), Khosro Khosravi (Iran) and Omar Amiralay (Syria).
Ahlaam – The Dream
Thu 5 July, 6.15pm | FACT | £6.50, £4.50 (FACT members)
Directed by Mohamed Al Daradji, Iraq 2006, 110mins
Filmed in Baghdad in the aftermath of the US invasion, its cast and crew subject to kidnappings from both sides, Ahlaam is one of the first feature films from post-Saddam Iraq. Voyeuristically, Ahlaam travels from past to present, tracing the paths of three characters whose lives are marked by the brutality of the Baa’thist regime, in what becomes an increasingly nightmarish odyssey. “harrowing and beautiful…visuals top quality” – Jay Weissberg, Variety
Journey of Desire: A Foreign Dancer in Cairo
Directed by Sara Farouk
Sun 8 July, 11am-1pm | World Museum Liverpool | Free
The UK premiere of the film A Journey of Desire. Over many centuries Cairo has drawn foreigners to its heart, and kept them there by magic. This is a film about Yasmina of Cairo’s journey, but it has not been her journey alone… Part of the Rock the Pyramids event, the film is followed by an afternoon of Egyptian dance, including a female workshop focusing on Saeedi (folk dance), Modern oriental (bellydance) and Shaabi (street music).
Thu 12 July, 2pm | World Museum | Free
Directed by Zakaria Ibrahim, Egypt 2005
The Siren explores a mysterious legend associated with the Simsimiyya, an ancient Egyptian lyre dating back to the time of the Pharaohs. The legend tells how the Simsimiyya, originally used in exorcism rituals, can bewitch her players (who are also known as her lovers) enchanting and ultimately enslaving them through music.
Dr Ashley Cook will show a Simsimiyya from the Museum’s collection in his talk at 12.30pm. This is one of the instruments played by El Tanbura – don’t miss El Tanbura playing live at the Family Day to launch the Festival on 1 July!
A Bite of Life
Fri 13 July, 2pm | Treasure House Theatre | Free
An afternoon’s screening and discussion session based on three short films by local film maker Doaa Al Soraimi.
A Bite of Life is a documentary exploring three themes in the lives of children from an ethnic background. It shows the compromises that they make and the effort they put in their actions to live two parallel lives at once. The children talk about the way they eat, dress and communicate with everyone around them.
Veneer is a video installation that speaks metaphorically about how individuals make judgments based on appearance and is driven by Doaa’s own experience of wearing the Hijab.
Reel Bad Arabs – How Hollywood Vilifies a People
Fri 13 July, 6.30pm | FACT | £6.50, £4.50 (FACT members)
Directed by Sut Jhally and featuring Dr Jack Shaheen, The Media Education Foundation, United States, 2006, 55mins
A devastating tour of the American cinematic landscape, moving from the earliest days of silent film to today’s biggest Hollywood blockbusters to reveal and astonishing pattern of Arab stereotyping. This groundbreaking film explores a long line of degrading images of Arabs, from Bedouin bandits and submissive maidens to sinister sheikhs and gun-wielding terrorists. The film offers insights into the origin of these images and challenges viewers to recognise the urgent need for counter-narratives that do justice to the diversity and humanity of the Arab people.
The Yacoubian Building
Sun 15 July, 3pm | FACT | £6.50, £4.50 (FACT members)
Directed by Marwan Hamed, Egypt 2006, 165 mins
The long awaited resurgence of Egyptian cinema finally arrives in the guise of The Yacoubian Building. Adapted from Alaa Al-Aswany’s blockbuster novel, director Marwan Hamed’s debut feature is a breathtakingly audacious examination of contemporary Cairo. This film was a cause célèbre on its release in Egypt where it proceeded to smash box office records and spark unprecedented debate. With Adel Imam, Nour El-Sherif and Yousra.
Sihr Halal: An Evening of Palestinian Poetry
Mon 2 July, 7.30pm | Everyman Theatre | Free
“No people in the world manifest such enthusiastic admiration for literary expression as the Arabs. Come and be moved by the rhythm, rhyme and music of spoken word and experience the effect that the Arabs call ‘lawful magic’ (sihr halal)”. Philip K Hitti, History of the Arabs
Local community organization Arts for Palestine present the work of poets Mahmoud Darwish, Fadwa Tuqan, Ibtisam Barakat, Nahida Yasin and others. Refreshments and Middle Eastern food will be on sale.
My Name is Rachel Corrie
Tues 3 July, 8pm | Unity Theatre | £8 / £6 concs
In March 2003 Rachel Corrie, a 23 year old American went to aid Palestinians in the Gaza strip but was killed by Israeli troops while doing so. Rachel combined an activist’s passion with an artist’s sensibility and this selection from her writings and diaries captures her boundless curiosity, nomadic spirit and rage against injustice. This is another chance to see this powerful and thought provoking play after recent sell out performances. Edited by Alan Rickman and Kathy Viner, editor of Guardian Weekend Magazine.
By John Fay, directed by Rebecca Ross-Williams.
Fri 6 July, 6.15pm | Everyman Theatre | £5
Celebrate the Arab and Yemeni seamen’s contribution to the Cruel Sea project and join us at the Everyman for complimentary food and drink, a showing of the film of their reminiscences followed by a performance of the resulting play.
In 1939 a group of Liverpool’s racially diverse men board the Merchant Navy ships to set sail. Dicky and Sam are two youngsters eager to follow in the footsteps of their fathers and countless other Liverpudlians. Celebrating their spirit, heroism and humour, Cruel Sea was inspired by the memories and experiences of Liverpool’s wartime Merchant Navy including Arab and Yemeni elders. Suitable for a family audience.
Music and Dance
Another Night in Arabia – Youth Event
Wed 4 July, 7.30pm | Alima Centre | £3
The festival will transform the Alima Centre into a complete Arabic experience! Featuring live performances by local Arabic talents and special guest artist Hagage AJ Masaed from America, the first musician to combine Arabic music and language with rap. Visit the Arabic suuq (market), taste baklava (sweets), smell the bakhoor (incense)…
Alf Lela Wi Lela
Sat 7 July, 8pm | Heswall Hall | £25 adults, £12 children
Alf Lela Wi Lela is the Arabic Arts Festival’s dinner and dance night. A partnership with Liverpool Middle eastern restaurant Afifi’s and well known Cheshire based Arabic gastronomy Kadhim Abbid. Enjoy the delights of Arabic cuisine with a delicious mezze meal followed by Arabic sweets (baklava). The meal is accompanied by live Arabic music, dance and entertainment with a licensed bar from 8-11.30pm. Performing artists include Shafik, Sara Farouk, Sara Ali, Caroline Thorpe, Susie White, Ya Raks, Nancy Johnston and Marco (dancers); Amro Bilal, Soliman and Saramad (musicians).
Wed 11 July, 7.30pm | St George’s Hall Concert Room
The UK premiere of his new work Taqasim
DuOud with Abdulatif Yagoub & Ahmed Taher
Sat 14 July, 2pm | St George’s Hall Concert Room
DuOud is Jean-Pierre Smadja and Mehdi Haddab, two oud playing Parisians who combine their North African heritage with the latest in Western technology. In 2004 DuOud went to Yemen where they met the renowned musicians Abdulatif Yagoub and Ahmed Taher who plays the mismar, a wind instrument. DuOud’s contemporary approach combined with traditional Yemen mastery lends an almost reggae-like groove to Yemenite melodies. The spectacular result is music that looks to African roots while absorbing elements of contemporary French music.
Marcel Khalife with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Sat 14 July, 7.30pm | Philharmonic Hall | 310, £12.50, £15, £20
Lebanese musician Marcel Khalife is recognized as one of the Arab world’s leading composers and oud virtuosos. Named UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2005 for his artistic achievements and humanitarian contributions, Khalife has dedicated his life to the cause of peace and human rights in the Arab world and beyond and to the modernisation of Arabic music and its elevation to a world class artistic and cultural status. Khalife has performed with major symphony orchestras in the greatest concert halls around the world.
Sun 15 July | World Museum Liverpool | Free
The UK based Palestinian group perform traditional and contemporary Debke dance and music, an artistic celebration of Palestinian life and culture. Al Zaytouna will also perform at the Family Day to launch this year’s Festival on 1 July.
Performances 1pm and 2pm. Workshop 4pm
Rock the Pyramids
With Sara Farouk
Sun 8 July, from 11am | World Museum Liverpool | Free
The film A Journey of Desire: A Foreign Dancer in Cairo, directed and introduced by Sara Farouk, is followed by an afternoon of Egyptian dance. The afternoon includes a talk, short performance and a female workshop focusing on Saeedi (folk dance), Modern oriental (bellydance) and Shaabi (street music).
Sara is British and she has danced professionally throughout Europe, in Cairo, Luxor, North Africa, Turkey and Finland. She is now a research student at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and has been living in Egypt since 2000.
BBC Radio Merseyside
Sun 8 and Sun 15 July, 1pm
Two special Arabic Festival broadcasts on the airwaves as part of the Claire Hamilton on Sunday Show, will bring you news and views from local Arabic community members, updates on the festival, interviews with artists, music and more. Presented by Doaa Al Soraimi.
Liverpool, Egypt and Beyond
Thu 12 July, 12.3pm | World Museum Liverpool | Free
A talk by Dr Ashley Cook, based on 150 years of the close relationship between Liverpool and Egypt and the study of Egyptian civilization and the other neighbouring cultures of the Middle east. Dr Cook will also show a Simsimiyya from the Museum’s collection, the instrument featured in the film The Siren that follows at 2pm.
Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival 2007 was supported by:
Funders: Arts Council England, Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Culture Company.
Partners: The Bluecoat, Arts For Palestine, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool Arabic Cente, FACT, OpenEye Gallery, National Museums Liverpool, Everyman Playhouse, BBC Merseyside, St George’s Hall, Sefton Park Palm House, Unity Theatre.