Playlist #37: Shubbak Festival Collaborations

Click here for the full playlist on YouTube and Spotify.

This year Shubbak Festival, the largest biennial festival of contemporary Arab culture in Europe, celebrates its 10 year anniversary since its foundation in 2011. Since then, MARSM has had the pleasure and honour to collaborate with Shubbak, producing and collaborating on dozens of events as part of their exciting program.

This year, despite all the present challenges and restrictions, we are proud to announce that the show goes on. In this playlist we highlight not only the artists that we are bringing to Shubbak Festival 2021, but are also taking a trip back, featuring the brilliant artists whom we’ve had the pleasure of working with during past editions.

Beginning with our brand new Shubbak Festival commission, take a listen to The Synaptik & Felukah, two of the most sought after hip-hop, rap and trap talents from the region. The two rap stars collaborated to produce “Nefsi”, a proclamation of love for the self and the liberation of wishes and desires and will be releasing a further single later this summer. 

Next up is an acoustic performance by the renowned Palestinian oud player Adnan Joubran. The piece takes us back to his album Borders Behind as we get a taste of the singles “I Wish I Were A Tree” and “Beat The Dream” from his 2014 performance at Cafe De La Danse in Paris. 

Led by composer and Ney soloist Louai Alhenawi, the London Syrian Ensemble is a stunning collective of eight musicians and graduates from Syria’s renowned Damascus Conservatoire. They will be debuting their latest project ‘Sounds of Syria’. You can listen to a performance by the ensemble leader Louai Alhenawi who delights listeners with an oud and tar (single-headed frame drum) performance at London’s St. Ethleburga’s. 

The playlist then moves on to revisit some of the delightful acts we welcomed in London in the past during Shubbak’s 2017 and 2019 editions.  In no chronological order, the playlist weaves between the Moroccan rooted Kabareh Cheikhats whose take on the aita, or lamenting singing style of Morocco, breaks gender boundaries. Their song “Derni Hilal” is a beautiful tribute to Moroccan women who suffered a particularly harrowing experience during the colonial era and is an outcome of a deep desire to preserve local culture. 

Tunisian producer and percussionist Nuri brings poly-rhythmic grooves, deep bass and african futurism into the mix, while Love and Revenge’s “Batwannes Bik” originally sung by the Algerian-Lebanese Warda Al-Jazairia molds the past with the presence. The live music and video performance by musician Wael Koudaih (Rayess Bek) and video artist Randa Mirza (La Mirza) revisits the old popular songs and Egyptian movies from the golden era of Cairo’s Studio Misr. 

The playlist also includes “Maak Mahma Taal – معاك مهما طال طريقك” by Egypt’s premier rock band Cairokee, as well as “Rima” by Syrian-German duo Shkoon, in collaboration with El-Far3i. Enjoy listening through the works of Lebanese jazz and afro-Tarab artist Tarek Yamani, the Sudanese singer and songwriter/percussionist Rasha, the neo-Nubian grooves of Hawidro, the more eclectic sounds by composer and multi-instrumentalist Cosmic Analog Ensemble, as well as Lebanon’s Ernesto Chahoud or Khansa’s “Khabberni Keef”. Do not miss Neshama who produced an electro-folk hybrid with their acid-style music based on Syrian Popular songs.

Experience sounds from all corners of the Arabic-speaking world reflecting on the regional diversity of styles, music and visual identities; all of which has been brought to London as a result of the fruitful and ongoing collaboration between MARSM and Shubbak.

We encourage everyone to check out Shubbak’s full festival programme ranging from music to arts, literature and dance. Shubbak Festival runs from 20th June to 17th July.

Visit www.shubbak.co.uk for full programme, details and tickets. ____________________________________________

What are MARSM Playlists?

Marsm’s bi-weekly playlists take on the musical history, trends and upcoming productions from the music scene in the Arabic-speaking countries. Each playlist focuses on a new theme, showcasing both underground and established artists – from the more dance-able to the most experimental – and everything in between.