Curious Inbox

  • 'Retracing A Disappearing Landscape' Multidisciplinary Exhibition - P21 Gallery - 30 March- 15 May 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.

Broken Wings Musical: An autobiographical account of Kahlil Gibran's first love, 'Broken Wings' is a musical adaptation of the iconic poet’s 1912 masterpiece. Written by Middle Eastern duo Nadim Naaman and Dana Al Fardan, and directed by Bronagh Lagan, with orchestrations by Joe Davison. Set in New York City in 1923, the aging Gibran narrates from his cold studio and through the poetry and music, he transports one back two decades and across continents, to turn-of-the-century Beirut and his love for Selma Karam, the daughter of family friend and hugely respected local businessman, Farris Karamy. The events of 'Broken Wings' highlight the key issues of the time, yet the themes and debates raised remain increasingly relevant today, over a century later; the fight for gender equality, the freedom to love who we love, tradition versus modernity, wealth versus happiness, immigration and the importance of home. Taking place 1-4 August, 2018 at Theatre Royal Haymarket, 18 Suffolk Street, London SW1Y 4H.

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. All master instrumentalists from Iraq, Pakistan and Spain, they will bring forward a mesmerising performance of oud, Flamenco guitar, tabla and sitar.​ Taking place 11 July, 2018 at the Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS.

Bachar Zarkan’s 'Hallaj of Hope': Striking a resilient harmony between Sufi musical performance and contemporary poetry, Bachar Zarkan’s anticipated London performance marks the debut of his remarkable project 'The Hallaj of Hope'. Together with a brand-new ensemble, Zarkan pays homage to the divine poetry of the Sufi mystics and thinkers such as Ibn Arabi, Ibn Al-Faridh, and Al-Hallaj, and extends their rich legacy to the work of contemporary poet and literary icon Mahmoud Darwish. Further testimony to Zarkan’s astonishing musical agility, the works are presented and based on the inner musicality of their text; the inherent ‘poetic word’ decides the rhythmic structure of the works, and through it, ingeniously couples authentic Arabic modes alongside contemporary Arabic music, Taking place 6 July, 2018 at Kings Place 2018 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG. 

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​.

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.

@70 Celebration of Contemporary Palestinian Culture: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the 1948 Palestinian exodus, also known as the Nakba or 'catastrophe'. @70 is a week-long festival of theatre, dance, films and talks commemorating the Palestinian experience of dispossession and loss of a homeland. Three artists from Gaza – writer and director Ahmed Masoud, writer and director Ahmed Najar and Khaled Ziada, founder and director of Arabic culture promoters MARSM - have worked closely with Amnesty International UK, the Hoping Foundation, Amos Trust, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Al  Zaytouna Dance Theatre to bring together this creative response to decades of injustice.

The programme includes: 'The Shroud Maker' (a one-woman comedy by Ahmed Masoud), 'Project 51' by Al Zaytouna Dance Theatre with Hava Dance Group (a dance performance written and directed by Ahmed Najar), Sanaa Moussa (Palestinian singer), the 'Palestinian Refugees and the Right of Return by Palestine Solidarity Campaign' (a conference including sessions on international law, the historical background of the displacement, experiences of refugees and the various discourses encompassing the right of return), 'Portraits of Palestine' (a case study from the British Colonial Archive) and the screening of 'Kings and Extras: Digging for a Palestinian Image' (a film by Azza El-Hassan). Taking place 14-20 May, 2018 at RADA Studios, 16 Chenies St, Fitzrovia, London WC1E 7EX.

Yto Barrada - Agadir: A major London commission, Moroccan artist Yto Barrada weaves together personal narratives and political ideals to create a complex portrait of a city and its people in a state of transition. The sweeping form of the Curve at the Barbican will be transformed with a dramatic installation – encompassing a mural, film commission, sculptures, and a series of live and recorded performances – ​to consider how a city and its people might address the process of reinvention following disaster. Barrada takes as her starting point a surreal text by Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine - Agadir (1967) - reflecting on the devastating earthquake of 1960 that destroyed much of the modernist Moroccan city.​ Over the past two decades, the artist's multimedia practice has explored questions ranging from migration to abstraction, from fossils to botany, examining the strategies of resistance employed every day in her native Morocco. Taking place 7 February-20 May, 2018 at The Curve, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS​​.

In Conversation with Nawal El Saadawi: A chance to attend Nawal El Saadawi, one of the greatest writers to come out of the Arab world, as she discusses her life and writing. Born in a small Egyptian village in 1931, El Saadawi has shown an incredible ability to create new worlds in the fight against oppression. In the face of censorship, imprisonment and exile, she has refused to accept the oppressions imposed on women by gender and class. El Saadawi’s remarkable life story starts with the childhood that produced the freedom fighter: from the trauma of female genital mutilation at seven years old to eluding the grasp of suitors at the age of ten. Later, as a young adult qualifying as doctor, she moulded her own creative power into a weapon. A rural doctor and an activist for female empowerment, El Saadawi challenged the authorities that tried to obstruct her and was imprisoned and later exiled. She is also a prolific writer of novels, memoirs, plays, non-fiction work, and short stories. Taking place 19 May, 2018 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX​.

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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.