Rachid Gholam: The second of a two-part concert series, MARSM is showcasing the enduring legacy of spiritual performance culture, partnering with iconic Moroccan singer Rachid Gholam and his full ensemble to showcase the worldwide premiere of ‘Spirit of Tarab’. A spiritual and colorful performance and journey, Gholam’s captivating voice invites masterful renditions of legendary Sufi figures - such as Maulana Rumi and Sheikh Ibn Arabi - and explores the expansive history of Sufi music and philosophy.
Faraj Suleiman Quartet: As part of the EFG London Jazz Festival, MARSM UK and Kings Place present Palestinian composer and pianist Faraj Suleiman with this quartet. Born in a village in the upper Galilee, the renowned musician has been playing the piano since the tender age of three. Influenced by his passion for Arabic music and eastern rhythms, it is both Suleiman’s groundbreaking original compositions as well as his compelling renditions that have led him to become one of the leading composers of the Arab world.
Still, there is plenty to do before Ramadan and a few brave events scheduled even during it!
Below are just some highlights of what is on offer.
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Hamza Namira: Hailed as the 'new Sayed Darwish', Hamza Namira is one of the most celebrated faces of modern Arabic music. A songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist from Egypt, Hamza has become a luminous expression of his homeland’s resilience and ambition. Emerging as a major public figure, most notably since the Egyptian revolution of 2011, he uses his work to explore and engage with the prominent social issues of today.
Lekhfa & Tamer Nafar (from DAM): A captivating double bill of some of the Middle East’s most trailblazing underground musicians. From dystopian poetry to bass-heavy hip-hop beats and stripped down Egyptian dance tracks, this showcase celebrates the contemporary musical projects making headlines and pushing the boundaries of the alternative Arabic music scene. Lekhfa, the brainchild of Maryam Saleh, Maurice Louca and Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, three legendary musicians who came of age in 1990s Cairo.
Hishek Bishek #8: London’s most pulsing Arabic electronic party is back. From Egyptian maharaganat to Arabic trap and Palestinian electro-dabke, catch the sounds of the Middle East’s underground. This is where you can dance the night away to cutting edge releases to bootleg wedding recordings and journeying through some of the most bass-heavy and hypnotic tunes around. For this edition, Ma3azef will take over Room Two at the Electrowerkz.
MAWEAF Multimedia Arts Festival (Algeria Edition): An exciting showcase of the underground art scene of Africa’s largest country, Algeria, comes in full force to London with a spellbinding contemporary showcase of theatre, photography, design, workshops and feature films. Little known in the UK, and significantly under-represented across British cultural scenes, this programming will take on Algeria’s multi-faceted reality in which the participating artists have grown and developed their work.
Wonho Chung’s Stand-Up Comedy Show: The award-winning and critically acclaimed stand-up comedian Wonho Chung will be performing this special gig. Born to South Korean and Vietnamese parents in Saudi Arabia, he grew up in Jordan where he learnt to speak Arabic fluently. His unique Asian-Arab perspective and bilingual charm allows him to deliver astute cultural commentary; and, for the past ten years, he has been turning heads and invoking laughter wherever he goes.
47Soul Balfron Promise Launch: Blasting and dancing their way through the Arabic music scene, the four members of the 47Soul have electrically reshaped the boundaries of contemporary underground music. Their infectious take on dabke, with piercing synthesisers, ‘Mijwez’ melodies, dance drums and resonating vocals has rapidly amassed them fans around the world. The product of a three year residency in London, the 'Balfron Promise' is their first full-length album and an elaboration on the highly successful debut EP the 'Sham Step'.
Rock [Beats] Chaabi - El Morabba3 & Islam Chipsy: Challenging the lines between Rock, electronica, beats and Chaabi, this double bill brings together the euphoric sounds of Jordan’s El Morabba3 with the enthralling pulse of Egypt’s Islam Chipsy. Vital players in the urban Chaabi scene, Islam Chipsy are at the forefront of what has traditionally been regarded as Egyptian working-class celebration music. With their success now rippling far beyond the backstreets of their native Cairo, their charismatically frantic sets have remolded the appeal of live Chaabi performance.