Shubbak ‘A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture’
Shubbak (meaning ‘window’ in Arabic) London’s largest biennial festival of contemporary Arab culture opens on the 11th July at the Barbican with BURDA performed by Karima Skalli & Asil Ensemble.
This opening concert, co-presented with the Abu Dhabi Festival & AMAR brings together some of the greatest musicians from across the Arab world. Moroccan singer Karima Skalli joins the Asil Ensemble to perform three Burdas- song cycles combining, poetry and music, inspired by the greatest Arab composers and poets across the centuries.
The well known classical Burda with words from the 12th century poet Al Busiri and the famous Nahj El Burda of Umm Kulthum, widely regarded as the greatest singer in Arabic history, with words by poet and dramatist Ahmed Shawqi join a new composition by oud virtuoso Mustafa Said, to words by contemporary Palestinian poet Tamim Barghouti.
The performance is preceded by a pre-concert talk with Kamal Kassar, director of the Amar Foundation and a free concert honouring the great Arab violinist Sami Al- Shawa (1889-1965). Born in Egypt, he collaborated with the greatest singers of his generation. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death, members of the Asil Ensemble and the highly acclaimed violinist Ahmed Al-Salhi perform famous pieces by the ‘Arab Paganini’.
Omar Al Qattan, Chair of Shubbak says: This is a wonderful opportunity for collaboration between the two festivals, both of which have exciting international ambitions and can only lead to greater exposure and opportunity for the artists involved.
Eckhard Thiemann, Artistic Director of Shubbak says: Shubbak is immensely pleased to collaborate with Abu Dhabi Festival to introduce significant new artists to our cities. I witnessed the inspirational concert by the Asil Ensemble in Abu Dhabi in 2014, and am delighted to welcome them to London as part of this year’s Shubbak. Both festivals are committed to present artistry of the highest calibre and we share the same passion to bring our work to new audiences and communities. It feels only natural as well as a real privilege to work together.
H.E. Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, Artistic Director of the Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “We are delighted to highlight the Arab region’s creativity this summer, and jointly celebrate Arab culture through Shubbak. Over the years, the Abu Dhabi Festival has partnered with numerous cultural organisations. By sharing the wealth of artistic expression that the Arab region has to offer, we have been enabling dialogue and exchange. AMAR’s philosophy to uphold the age-old and honourable music tradition of the Eastern Mediterranean, allowing for interpretation and self-development, is one that runs deep with the Festival’s own philosophy. The exploration of musical and creative expression is synonymous with the search for authenticity, and is linked with our cultural heritage. In a world that is fast-paced, and challenging, this form of contemplative musical exploration is to be valued. ”
Burda- Asil Ensemble and Karima Skalli
Address: Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS
Date/time: Sat 11 July, 7pm
Shubbak runs from the 11-26 July at venues across London. For full listings check the website for details.