Date: May 11, 2023
Venue: Grand Junction
Address: Rowington Cl, London W2 5TF
Time: 19:00
Ages: 18+

London’s Syrian Arts and Culture Festival (SACF) proudly presents an enchanting evening celebrating Aleppo, its music and musicians, past and present.

For generations, music lovers throughout the region held that “the musician for whom Aleppo claps is a musician who will receive the applause of the Arabs.” Situated at the crossroads between Turkey and the Arab world, and between the Silk Road and the Mediterranean Sea, Aleppo established itself as a preeminent centre of Tarab, the musical ecstasy associated with cultural refinement. The violence and mass displacement of the past decade has placed many of these traditions at risk of being forgotten.

Over the course of this evening, presenters and performers will shed light on efforts to remember and withstand erasure, and the many ways in which creative acts of expression can help hold out against the tests of time and reinvigorate the living richness and beauty of these traditions. Featuring a short film screening, panel conversation and live music performance, the evening sets out to offer a heartfelt encounter with a people and place steeped in the love of musical ecstasy: Tarab.

Opening with a special edit of Maqamat Almasara (“Aleppo, Maqams for Pleasure”) by the much-acclaimed Syrian filmmaker Mohammad Malas. The film tells a tale about Aleppo’s music with a focus on Sabri Moudallal, a legendary musician and composer of classical Arabic music. This special edition of the film, made especially for this event, was made possible by Syrian filmmaker Omar Malas.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion on the regional impact of Aleppo’s musical life. Syrian musician and composer, Ibrahim Muslimani will join music historian Hazem Jamjoum and ethnomusicologist Dunya Habash in a conversation about the city’s musical forms, its musicians, music scholars, and musical ideas, and how they helped shape the very notion of “Arabic music” in the twentieth century.

The evening will close with a musical performance by Nawa Band, led by Ibrahim Muslimani and featuring a group of talented UK-based musicians Tarik Beshir, Martin Stokes, Yara Salahiddeen, Hanan Alhabash, and Bassel Hariri. Coming together on this London stage, they will perform Nawa Band’s 2021 album Wasl, which emerged from the in-depth research conducted by Nefes Foundation.

The performance will be accompanied by projections created by visual artist and designer Tulip Hazbar.

This event is curated by Yamen Mekdad.

This event is co-produced by Zamakan and Marsm in partnership with Grand Junction and is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.