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Everything you need to know about the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival Family Day happening this weekend

2 years ago

Everything you need to know about the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival Family Day happening this weekend

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (LAAF) has revealed its full programme of events for the 2022 edition, curated around the theme ‘A Point of Connection’ – Nuqtat Wasl in Arabic, and marking 20 years since the first festival was held in the city.

Earlier this year, festival fans welcomed the news that the one-and-only Family Day will return to Sefton Park Palm House after a two-year hiatus brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Taking place on Sunday 17 July the spectacular free finale will feature music, traditional food and family fun.

Live music performances on the day include festival favourites TootArd, with the trailblazing duo from the Golan heights returning to Liverpool with a new album and a new sound – an 80s Arabic style blend with modern synth.

They’ll be joined at the Palm House by first-time festival performer Aar Maanta, who brings an eclectic mix of styles to the stage, with rock and reggae rubbing shoulders with traditional Arabic and Somali music. Described by young Somalis as “the voice of our generation” the pop star will bring his full band to the Palm House stage. The internationally renowned pop star’s latest album, Ubadkaa Mudnaanta Leh, which means “Children Have Priority’ was recorded with young Somali children in Minneapolis.

The musical line-up also includes Gazelleband – Palestinian oud player Reem Anbar with writer musician Louis Brehony who bring the modern traditions of the middle east to the wider world. Plus long-time Family Day friends Yemeni band Al Awadhel Band will return.

The Family Day crowd will also get the chance to experience Hawiyya Dance Company and El-Funoun Palestinian Dance Troupe’s unique blend of Dabke and contemporary dance, while poet Ali Al-Jamri will bring a unique display of local children’s poetry and provide young visitors with the chance to add their own work.

Elias Matar will be performing interactive storytelling sessions for Family Day. Join Elias as he takes us on a journey across borders, walls, and time. Great for all ages – a chance to discover the secrets, magic, and joy of live storytelling.

Liverpool Philharmonic Hall Music Room will also host another ever-popular inclusion on the festival programme, on Friday 15th July. The London Syrian Ensemble, led by composer and Ney soloist Louai Alhenawi, is a stunning collective of eight musicians and graduates from Syria’s renowned Damascus Conservatoire. This show reveals their new project, Sounds of Syria, a dynamic and emotional work, which brings to the stage new instrumental arrangements by composers from Syria and its diaspora. Book The London Syrian Ensemble tickets here.

Original poems written by diasporic Yemeni communities in the UK, and presented in both English and Arabic, will be exhibited across venues in Liverpool during the festival for Yemen in Conflict, an ongoing collaboration between Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, the University of Liverpool and the University of Leeds which asks how storytelling might heighten and enhance both political and public awareness of the situation in Yemen. The material created so far includes the creation of a new archive of transcribed and translated Yemeni oral poems and stories that addressed themes of conflict and resolution.

Other highlights of the 2022 programme already announced include Curfew, a contemporary dance production presented by Hawiyya Dance Company and El-Funoun Palestinian Dance Troupe at Unity Theatre. Supported by British Council and Arts Council England. Book Curfew tickets here.

An exhibition by the Arab Image Foundation brings rare photographs depicting 100 years of Arab history and culture, which are never previously seen in Europe. Artists from Beirut Printmaking Studio have created new etchings in response to the photographs. The exhibition will be held at Liverpool John Moores University’s Exhibition Research Lab at the School of Art and Design alongside a new video commission by emerging British-Algerian artist Hannaa Hamdache.

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival and SAFAR Film Festival have curated a series of screenings at VideOdyssey in Toxteth, including a tour of contemporary Arab cinema through a diverse selection of short films which explore the 2022 SAFAR festival theme, ‘The Stories We Tell’, and a screening of Khadar Ayderus Ahmed’s The Grave Digger’s Wife, which centres on a family facing impossible loss, and the lengths one man will go for his beloved.

The film programme is just one section of the festival using a Pay What You Can scheme for the first time, in an effort to remove any barriers for people to attend events this year.

Credit – Julia Thorne

Festival Chair Afrah Qassim says:

“It gives me so much pleasure to reveal our full, rich and exciting programme, which has been carefully created to ensure there is something for everyone, and to remove as many barriers to joining in as possible.”

“Our theme this year is all about how we create a bridge, connecting language and culture. It is about how we discover what we have in common and how we communicate, and for ten days in July, we invite you to explore these points of connection with artists from around the globe.”


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