Naseer Shamma's Quartet: Naseer Shamma is one of the world’s pre-eminent oud players and composers, revered both in his home country of Iraq and worldwide, who was recently named a UNESCO Artist for Peace. For this special performance, he brings with him three distinguished players from around the world, each experts in their respective musical traditions who are united in their understanding of a transcendental musical language.
Papers Festival: A one-day festival of the art, culture and architecture of the refugee crisis that is part of the London Festival of Architecture 2016. This critical celebration will examine the creative and urban culture which has emerged from refugee camps across Europe, bringing together refugee artists, musicians, poets, chefs and builders, with a full programme taking place on multiple stages and different areas at the Barbican arts centre.
Marcel Khalifa + Al Mayadine Ensemble: The legendary Lebanese composer, singer and oud master Marcel Khalifa will be joined by the Al Mayadine Ensemble to trace his career one song at a time, reviving the passion of songs including ‘Rita’ and ‘Oummi’, amongst many others. Starting as a performer of protest songs decades ago, Marcel Khalifé became one of the biggest popular musicians of the Arab world.
Mashrou' Leila: Be one of the first to hear the new material from the band labelled the voice of the Arab Spring, combining traditional Lebanese sounds with off-beat guitars and electronica. Having emerging from Beirut’s underground indie scene, Mashrou' Leila have continued to carve out their own distinct space within Arabic pop.
Souad Massi + Le Trio Joubran: A double bill bringing the music of North Africa and the Middle East. The brothers of Le Trio Joubran have Palestinian music in their family history; their father is one of the best oud makers in the world and their mother a muwashahat singer.
The Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2015: The Human Rights Watch Film Festival returns to London, bringing films from all around the world that deal with human rights issues and violations. The festival bears witness to human rights violations and creates a forum for courageous individuals on both sides of the lens to empower audiences with the knowledge that personal commitment can make a difference. The film festival brings to life human rights abuses through storytelling in a way that challenges each individual to empathize and demand justice for all people.
Cairo Drive (Film) and Screen Talk: A visceral humorous portrait of Cairo - awarded Best Arab Documentary at Abu Dhabi Film Festival - by Egyptian-American director Sherief Elkatsha. Between 2009 and 2012, Sherief let his camera roam the jam packed roads of this rampantly urban space. By talking to taxi drivers, traffic police, private citizens, politicians, children and ambulance drivers, he has created a Middle Eastern ‘road movie’ that takes us through the labyrinth of Egyptian society and culture as they manifest themselves on Cairo’s roads.
Lena Chamamyan, Barbican: Syrian-Armenian musical trailblazer Lena Chamamyan is one of the best singers of her generation with a most enchanting voice at the core of her music and performance. Chamamyan's style is a beautiful mix of traditional Arab song with oriental Jazz, Armenian influences and Western touches as well. At London's Barbican, she will present her new collection recently written and composed whilst living in exile in Paris.
'The World Is With Us', Global Film and Poster Art from the Palestinian Revolution (1968–1980): Curated by the Palestine Film Foundation (PFF), series examines international film and poster art from the era of the Palestinian revolution, providing a unique survey of rare underground, militant, and experimental film made by radical artists from around the world. Opening at the Barbican with long-lost Palestinian work 'With Soul, With Blood' (1971) and a showcase of pioneering shorts in the company of Iraqi director and film historian Kais al-Zubaidi.