Curious Inbox

  • Astrolab - Artist Anissa Berkane -

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.

Room to Breathe: 'Room to Breathe' is an immersive experience inviting one to discover stories from generations of new arrivals to Britain. You can journey through a series of rooms filled with personal narratives and objects that bring to life the struggles, joys, creativity and resilience of living in a new land. You can also explore the rooms to sleep, eat, create, meet and make the rooms your own. You are even invited to open the drawers, look through cupboards, settle into an armchair and contribute your story or make connections to the past and present! Organised in collaboration with migrant artists, they will all be invited to use the exhibition space as their own art studio and to host workshops during their time. The residencies will be taken up by: Dima Karout, Habib Sadat, New Art Studio, Ceyda Oskay, Shorsh Saleh and Belén L. Yáñez. Taking place 1 November, 2018--28 July, 2019 at The Migration Museum at The Workshop, 26 Lambeth High Street, London SE1 7AG. 

Journeys Drawn - Illustration from the Refugee Crisis: An exhibition telling refugee stories, both observed and experienced first-hand, through illustration. This first of its kind in the UK, it features 40 multi-media works by 12 contemporary artists, two of whom are themselves refugees. For example, the show features Iranian artist Majid Adin’s award-winning animation for Elton John’s 'Rocket Man', which draws on his own journey to the UK, as he had been imprisoned for his political works in Iran and was smuggled to London inside a refrigerator, before winning a competition to reimagine the iconic ballad! The exhibition also includes war zone reportage by George Butler from Syria, Olivier Kugler’s digital portraits of refugees arriving on the Greek Island of Kos and Kate Evans’ graphic novel that recounts her experience of volunteering in the Calais Jungle. Taking place currently until 24 March, 2019 at House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, King's Cross London N1C 4BH.

Converging Paths - Joseph Tawadros: An unforgettable evening in which traditional Arabic music meets jazz and classical in a celebration of the evocative voice of the oud—the ancient Middle Eastern lute. Aged only 34, the Egyptian-Australian Joseph Tawadros is a world-renowned oud player and composer, whose solo performance will feature improvisations and his own compositions, alongside more traditional pieces. A virtuoso of diversity and sensitivity, he is a leading presence in the world’s top concert platforms and is the first world music artist to present a solo concert of original contemporary music for the Proms. Organised by The Arab British Centre in collabroationw with Asia House and The Barakat Trust, this concert is part of the series Converging Paths and takes place 19 March, 2019 at Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1G 7LP. 

Anouar Brahem's Blue Maqams: Experience the haunting music of the Tunisian composer and master of the oud, in a rare performance drawing together his profound insight into Arab music alongside a broader musical spectrum. No stranger to playing with jazz musicians, Anouar Brahem created Blue Maqams -  referencing the sophisticated modal system of Arab music, with an added blue quality sheened from the improvisations of his three collaborators. Performing music from their acclaimed ECM record, the dialogue between Brahem and pianist Django Bates is full of surprise and invention. With a rhythm section of master bassist Dave Holland, last heard at the Barbican with tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, and the tirelessly inventive drummer Nasheet Waits, combined, the quartet create some of the most absorbing group sounds of recent years. Taking place 15 March, 2019 at the Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS. 

Dhafer Youssef: Join singer and oud player Dhafer Youssef on a sublime sonic expedition, taking in Tunisian tradition and contemporary jazz as he presents his new album. At this concert, Youssef reveals material from new album 'Sounds of Mirrors', which features French-Indian percussionist Stéphane Edouard, meditative Norwegian guitarist Eivind Aarset and Turkish clarinetist Hüsnü Senlendirici. The mix of musicians from four corners of the world complements Youssef’s expansive stylistic identity, weaving together the musical tapestry of his native Tunisia and a modern and intense style of jazz. Taking place 15 March, 2019 at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX.

Mashrou’ Leila: The Lebanese indie-pop sensation Mashrou’ Leila will be returning to the UK for a highly anticipated 3-city tour of London, Manchester and Glasgow. Born of a nocturnal encounter at the American University of Beirut in 2008, Mashrou’ Leila is a six-member band that fuses the craftiness of a music workshop with the punch of stadium rock. With their distinct approach to storytelling and orchestration, they have crafted some of the most melancholic ballads and raucous anthems in contemporary alternative Arabic music, and went on to perform them live at sold-out venues in Lebanon, Cairo, Istanbul, Dubai, Paris, Montreal and many more. They will be performing in London 7 March, 2019 at the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8EH.

Jazz Cafe + Habibi Funk Present Ziad Rahbani: A very special occasion which will be the first London show in over 25 years for one of the undisputed icons of Middle Eastern 20th century music, the great Ziad Rahbani. A maverick figure who has never been too far from public controversy, Rahbani has nevertheless remained a key part of the Lebanese music scene at large thanks to his tireless piano playing and compositions that owe as much to classical music as they do to jazz. Over the course of his long and storied career, Rahbani worked with his mother Fairuz, arguably the most influential singer in the Arab world, releasing eight albums in total with her. Taking place 6 March, 2019 at the Jazz Cafe, 5 Parkway, London NW1 7PG.

DAM Live @JazzCafe: DAM began working together in the late 1990s as the first Palestinian hip-hop crew and among the first to rap in Arabic. Struck by the uncanny resemblance of the reality of the streets in a Tupac video to the streets in their own neighborhood of Lyd, they were inspired to tell their stories through this new medium. Bringing together a unique combination of Arabic percussion rhythms, Middle Eastern melodies and hip hop, DAM has grown to become one of the most influential acts of the Middle East’s urban music scene. Recently signing with UK label Cooking Vinyl (Goldie, Groove Armada, Trio Joubran, 47Soul) they are now gearing to release their new album 'Between Hannah and Mannah' and tour in the UK. The London performance will be on 2 March, 2019 at the Jazz Cafe, 5 Parkway,London,NW1 7PG.

The Shroud Maker: Written and directed by Ahmed Masoud, performed by Julia Tarnoky and designed by Dima Karout, 'The Shroud Maker' is about Hajja Souad, an 80-year old Palestinian woman living on the besieged Gaza Strip who knows about business. She has survived decades of wars and oppression through making shrouds for the dead. A compelling black comedy, the play delves deep into the intimate life of ordinary Palestinians to weave a highly distinctive path through Palestine’s turbulent past and present. Loosely based on a real life character still living in Gaza, this one-woman comedy weaves comic fantasy and satire with true stories told first hand to the writer, and offers a vivid portrait of Palestinian life in Gaza underscored with gallows humour. Taking place 25-28 February, 2019 at Greenwich Theatre, Crooms Hill, London SE10 8ES.

Banipal Book Club: The popular book club will be discussing the novel 'The Presiden'ts Gardens' by Iraqi author Muhsin al-Ramli which has recently been translated into English by Luke Leafgren and won the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for 2018. Set during the last fifty years of Iraqi history, it tells the story of three friends and explores how ordinary people have been affected by historic events such as wars, the blockade of Iraq and the invasion of Kuwait. Examining the gap between the lifestyle of those in power and ordinary citizens and what happens during the chaos of occupation, the also novel helps the reader understand the complexities of the successive tragedies besetting the ‘land between two rivers’. Taking place 19 February, 2019 at the Arab British Centre, 1 Gough Square, London EC4A 3DE. Please note the Book Club meetings are free but you need to please RSVP either by email to [email protected] or via the Facebook page.


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.