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.

Natacha Atlas: Born in Brussels of Anglo-Egyptian parentage, singer and world music star, Natacha Atlas’s multi-cultural background has helped shape her trademark sound which seamlessly bridges musical and cultural divides. Exploding onto the scene in the early 1990s, Atlas rapidly gained widespread recognition for her pioneering meld of Western and Eastern music, specifically her use of cutting-edge electronic beats with Arabic melodies and instrumentation. During this special concert, Atals will be presenting new material from a forthcoming album - set for release in September 2018 - as well as works from her excellent recent album, Myriad Road, a breathtakingly seamless mixture of contemporary jazz and Arabic vocals that she created with star French trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf. She will be supported by a superb band featuring pianist Alcyona Mick, bassist Davide Mantovani and the brilliant Asaf Sirkis on drums, while Hayden Powell stands in for Maalouf. Taking place on 8 February, 2018 at the Bush Hall, 310 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's Bush, London W12 7LJ.

Omar Souleyman: 'To Syria, With Love' marks Omar Souleyman’s third full-length studio record. It is a departure musically and lyrically from his previous material, with focus on more elaborate keyboard and techno elements. Completely setting politics aside, Souleyman consciously shares this personal ode to his native country Syria with an emphasis on his emotional connection to the land and people but not without heartache in view of the nation’s current state. Superimposed over complex electronic arrangements provided by Hasan Alo, the new music is joined with lyrics and poetry co-written by Souleyman’s long-time collaborator Shawah Al Ahmad. Medium to high-speed dabke and baladi styles are heavily featured throughout as Souleyman expresses his overarching longing for collective peace. Taking place 7 February, 2018 at the Oval Space, 29-32 The Oval, London E2 9DT​.

47Soul at Jazz Cafe: 47Soul is the electro Arabic dabke (shamstep) band formed in Amman Jordan in 2013 that rapidly amassed fans in the Arab world and Europe by blasting the electric Arabic Dabke sound with analog synthesizers, hypnotic guitar lines, and shattering verses from the four singers. Every 47Soul show ends in relentless dance and trance from all parties involved. Their lyrics, mixing Arabic and English, call for celebration and freedom in the struggle for equality, inside Bilad Al Sham and throughout the world. After selling out Village Underground in October, the Jazz Cafe is proud to welcome this quartet for a one off intimate show. Taking place 2 February, 2018 at the Jazz Cafe, 5  Parkway Camden Town, London NW1 7PG​.

TootArd Live In London: Formed by brothers Hasan and Rami Nakhleh, whose home is in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, TootArd are a mountain rock reggae band seeking to transcend their circumstances’ privation and isolation, by making joyful, captivating, wittily ironic music, interweaving West African, Saharan and Caribbean strands with classical Arab modalities. Their second album 'Laissez Passer', is an uplifting, eclectic, funky, highly danceable party of a record in which they combine their various influences to create a unique trademark sound. One common metaphor is that of a bird, signifying freedom from oppression, the band members’ individual journeys to various parts of Europe; and, presumably, their restless quest to combine different styles of music into something all their own.​ Taking place 1 February, 2018 at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA London. 

Alien Land: Inspired by 'The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist', the first science fiction novel in the Middle East, this devised solo show will be performed in Arabic with English surtitles. A dark comedy, it looks at life under occupation and the contemporary refugee experience from a radical new perspective. As both a Bedouin and a Palestinian refugee from the 1948 Nakba, the show is built around solo performer Momin Swaitat’s family history and folklore. It also draws on his memories of growing up in a world turned upside down by the violence and disruption of the second Intifada. Fusing the ancient Arab tradition of the hakawati (travelling storyteller) with hallucinatory physical theatre sequences, it is a tale of love, loss and exile which will leave audiences unsure of which time, place or universe they have landed in. Taking place 24-28 January, 2018 at The Vaults, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN.

Hassan Massoudy - Breath, Gesture and Light: A new solo exhibition by master artist-calligrapher Hassan Massoudy. Born in 1944 in Najaf, southern Iraq, he moved to Baghdad in 1961, where he learnt the various classical styles of calligraphy and studied graphic design and fine arts. Later when he moved to Paris in 1969, he enrolled at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, where his work would be influenced also be Léger, Matisse, Soulages and Picasso. After receiving his degree in 1975, he returned to calligraphy, employing classical styles in a newer and freer manner. For Massoudy, the word itself remains the most sublime creative force; his work features the texts of a diverse range of writers, from poet Charles Baudelaire and philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, to Virgil and Ibn ‘Arabi. A sense of balance prevails in his work, whether between erudite discipline and artistic experimentation, or as played out through his understanding of the vigorous use of line, strength of gesture, abandon and grace. Taking place 7 December, 2017- 27 January, 2018 at the October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AL​​.

El Far3i & Z The People: This gig is a great place to start if you think Arabic Acoustic Folk-Rap and Electronic Arab Soul might be your thing, as it brings together two of the co-founders of 47Soul. El Far3i's music, on the one hand, can be described as a mixture of Hip Hop, Arabic Folk and Acoustic Rap and Arabic poetry that adapts its lyrics to fit current social and political conditions. He is a Palestinian songwriter, percussionist and vocalist based in London and founder of Arabic Folk and Acoustic Rap solo act (El Far3i) and Hip-Hop Mc Far3 El Madakhil. Whilst Z the People is a singer, producer, and keys player from the Palestinian diaspora and is a product of many Soul and RnB influences. He has carved a reputation for his style of mixing of Soul and Arabic music with his songwriting reflecting on the struggle of two worlds colliding as well as the search for home in a scattered universe. Taking place 23 January, 2018 at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, 2-4 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NU​.

Leighton Lates & Live Music With Basem Saleh: As part of its exciting programme of public events, Leighton House Museum will present London-based Syrian musician Basel Saleh for an evening of traditional music. Saleh is a former leading member of the Syrian Philharmonic Orchestra and formed part of the Damon Albarn’s collective project that reunited the Syrian National Orchestra through a number of concerts and performances across key venues in the UK. He will play a live set of Syrian folkloric music and improvisation alongside fellow musicians Omran Zein (rik) and Mohamad Saleh (kanoun). Guests will be free to also explore the Museum itself and view the private art collection belonging to its founder Frederic Lord Leighton. Taking place 12 January, 2018 at Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Road, London W14 8LZ.

Arab Christmas: Exploring the early Arab Christian chants, the space at St Martin-in-the-Fields will be gently lit by candles, offering a rare opportunity to hear the chants from the Aramaic-Syriac, Coptic and Byzantine traditions, harking back to the time of Queen Zanubia’s reign of Palmyra. It was in the second century, during her reign, that Christianity reached the ancient Syrian caravan city of Palmyra and her rule witnessed the emergence of the first church melodies out of the secular Aramaic music of Syria and Iraq. The sound world of these chants is rich with quarter-tones and virtuosic ornamentation. Accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Jon Banks on qanun and santur, the line up includes Merit Ariane Stephanos, the Reverend Shafiq Abouzayd, Jon Banks, Najib Coutya, Laila Samy and Mina Mikhael Salama. Taking place on 8 January, 2018 at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JH.

Hassan Hajjaj - La Caravane: A homecoming exhibition for the British-Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj, showcasing his vibrant fusion of contemporary cultures through new and celebrated works. Hajjaj's artworks reflect on his nomadic lifestyle and the relationships he has formed with a variety of characters along the way, from musicians to artists and athletes to street performers both in Morocco and the UK. These individuals inspire his diverse artworks from photographic portraits to video installations, sculpture, music, design and handcrafted objects. Infused with a bold palette, the materials Hajjaj uses include patterned textiles, furniture, clothes and props often made by the artist to influence our understanding of the person in the image. All of these elements, including the frames made out of everyday items in which his images sit, are chosen deliberately to highlight these individuals’ identities. Taking place 5 October, 2017-7 January, 2018 at Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA.


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.