Curious Inbox

  • Rachid Koraïchi - 'Masters of Time' Exhibition - October Gallery - 21 June-28 July, 2018

Curious Inbox

Below are entries of current Arab-British related events taking place in London that you might wish to attend, festivals and exhibitions that are happening and other entries I receive in my Nahla Ink Inbox. Please contact me if you would like to be listed.

Sounds For Syria: The London Syrian Ensemble are a collective of some of the Damascus Conservatoire’s finest musicians, now based in the UK. Performing during Refugee Week, their sound mixes traditional Middle Eastern instruments – oud (lute), ney (flute), kanun (zither) –with violins, violas, double bass, percussion, and guest vocalists. They will perform twentieth-century Syrian classics and premiering some new music on the night. Trained in the powerful rhythms and the hundreds of lush impassioned melodic loops or maqams of Syrian musical tradition, they will present a suite of instrumental pieces, improvisations and songs with a huge emotional range and depth. Taking place 23 June, 2018 at the Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL. (Please note all proceeds of the concert will go to the 'Marhabtayn Trust' and partners).

ARABÉCÉDAIRE: A solo exhibition dedicated to the influential Egyptian modernist painter Hamed Abdalla (1917-1985), that will explore his extensive archives and library, looking at him both as an artist and as a researcher. Curated by Morad Montazami, this will be the first exhibition in the UK of this significant Egyptian artist. The title of the exhibition is rooted in the French word ‘Abécédaire’ meaning a visual alphabet primer. Abdalla’s work centred on his development of what he called the ‘creative word’, written words expressed in paint, blending abstraction and human forms. This exhibition will focus on six resonant words to examine the development of Abdalla’s visual language and political ideas through previously unseen material and archives. Taking place 13 April-23 June, 2018 at the Mosaic Rooms, Tower House, 226 Cromwell Road, London SW5 0SW​.

Fragments Of A Journey: An informal showing of two pieces of work in progress, both performed by refugees, on the theme of displacement. The first part 'Safar is the result of a dance project led by Hawiyya Dance Co, that will present a group of women, accompanied by musicians on stage, who will perform a dabke dance as a celebration of the resilience and resistance of refugee women. Their performance explores movement as a tool of expression for both individual and cultural identity, while reflecting on the concepts of journey and womanhood. The second part 'Fragments' has been devised through workshops run by Single Homeless Project in collaboration with theatre-maker Mo’min Swaitat, It draws on music and movement rooted in participants’ home cultures, as well as impressions of London and the chaotic beginnings of resettlement. The show focuses on the journey from dystopia to the unknown, depicting the shattering and reintegration of cultures, memories, time and space, as experienced through the body in motion. Taking place 20 June, 2018 at Sam Wanamaker Playhouse​, Shakespeare Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT​.

Towards A New Divan: Tafahum Ensemble and Gingo Library come together in a celebration of two centuries of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s 'West-Eastern Divan', the collection of lyrical poems inspired by the fifteenth-century Persian poet Hafiz. Featuring the world premiere of a new musical composition by Tafahum, this special night will be introducing Gingko’s momentous project 'A New Divan', the culmination of which will be a festival of music and poetry hosted in the UK by the Hay and Shubbak festivals in summer 2019 and in Germany by the Berlin-based Barenboim-Said Akademie in the autumn. 'A New Divan' will eventually be bringing together twenty-four leading poets – twelve from the ‘East’ and twelve from the ‘West’ - who will engage in a lyrical conversation inspired by the culture of 'the Other​' and seeking to continue the dialogue which Goethe started with Hafiz. Taking place 20 June, 2018 at Wilton's Music Hall, 1 Graces Alley, London E1 8JB​.

Performance Desperately In Need Of An Audience: To be performed by the Arab Puppet Theatre Foundation, this is a tale of exile into the world where thousands chose to bear the burden of migration, leaving behind their homes and loved ones, in the hopes of finding themselves human again beyond the seas. A silent performance, it bends the rules of puppet theatre, as stage props and settings becomes puppets as well. From the farm animals cowering in the villages, to the raining missiles and overhead airplanes, to the little suitcase that’s all packed up but refuses to leave. Employing humour, lightness, magic, playfulness and satire, the horrors of exile are rendered more accessible and touching. Taking place 17 June, 2018 at the Courtyard Theatre, 40 Pitfield St, London N1 6.

The Pop Art Exodus: A new contemporary art exhibition bringing a collection of politically themed digital prints produced by the Lebanese visual artist Mohammad Z Bassyouni. The exhibition has been put together as a symbolic gesture to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day and dedicated to the Palestinians who were kicked out from their own homeland. Introducing the subject of the Nakba in a playful way, the artist chose to draw inspiration for his work from the popular and commercial culture, utilising the phenomenon of Pop Art that emerged in mid 1950s as a response to rapidly growing consumerism. The story of the Nakba is therefore not only narrated in the much more tolerating manner but also in the style in which this issue has not yet been explored before. Taking place 1-16 June, 2018 at the P21 Gallery, 21-27 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD.

Hishek Bishek #9 Sounds from the Middle East UndergroundJourneying through the fascinating and bass-heavy musical landscape of the Middle East’s burgeoning electronic music scenes, Hishek Bishek has emerged to become London’s most pulsing Arabic Electronic party. From cutting-edge releases to bootleg wedding recordings, killer Mahraganat tracks and hypnotic Dabke remixes from the Levant, Hishek Bishek is back at Electrowerkz for a night of non-stop bass, mijwiz and beats. Taking place 15 June, 2018 at Electrowerkz, London EC1V 1NQ.

Yasmine Hamdan @JazzCafe: Lebanese singer-songwriter Yasmine Hamdan is one of the most groundbreaking musicians in the Arab world, thanks in part to her work in the electronic indie band Soapkills, and to her solo music which has become the soundtrack to the vibrant, young arts scene which developed in postwar Lebanon. Her solo material has proved sleeker and more sophisticated over two albums: Ya Nass (Hey People), and the dreamy electronica of Al Jamilat (The Beautiful Ones), released on Crammed Discs, a label also home to the likes of Acid Arab and Baloji. Possessing a unique allure, her style is casual, provocative and framed by commanding movements. Taking place 12 June, 2018 at the Jazz Cafe, 5 Parkway Camden Town, London NW1 7PG​.

Flamenco Arabe: One of a series of concerts produced by Arts Canteen that aims to highlight the connection and build on it with original compositions and renditions of melodies from Andalucia and the Arab world that shows the common thread that runs through these traditions. While flamenco music was born, and still lives, among the scenic green hills of Andalusia in southern Spain, some performers have moved beyond both the geographical and the stylistic boundaries of traditional flamenco to incorporate a variety of new styles into their work. Others still have turned inward, searching for the obscure origins of flamenco, and have found the pervasive Arab influences - touching everything from the style of performance to the very rhythms and scales of the songs themselves. With his top-flight ensemble, Attab Haddad Quintet thus blends the Andalusian, Mediterranean and Arabic sounds with contemporary jazz approaches to create story-like compositions with the breadth of the Sahara and the intricacy of the Alhambra Palace. Taking place 8 June, 2018 at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA.

Maya Youssef at Songlines Encounters: Born in Damascus, Maya Youssef is a virtuoso on the qanun, the magnificent Arabic zither that is at the heart of Arabic classical music. Now based in the UK, thanks to an Arts Council Exceptional Talent Scheme, she released her highly-praised debut album Syrian Dreams in November. Accompanied by percussion and cello, she performs music lamenting the war in her homeland and celebrating its rich cultural and architectural heritage. This concert is part of the Songlines Encounters Festival, an annual celebration bringing high-quality artists from around the world championed by Songlines magazine to play music at Kings Place. Taking place 2 June, 2018 at King's Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG.

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Below are entries of current Arab-British related events taking place in London that you might wish to attend, festivals and exhibitions that are happening and other entries I receive in my Nahla Ink Inbox. Please contact me if you would like to be listed.