El Foukr R’Assembly band members



13–18 November 2017
Al Mureijah Square and other locations

This month, Sharjah Art Foundation launches its Music Programme, which will bring events such as concerts, workshops, open mics and discussion sessions to local and regional communities. The programme’s launch begins with the residency and concert of the music and film ensemble El Foukr R’Assembly, its members hailing from Algeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. El Foukr R’Assembly will conduct workshops on topics ranging from oral storytelling to musical arrangement, as well as other sessions open to the public.

The band’s week-long residency will culminate in El Foukr R’Assembly’s GCC debut concert on 18 November 2017. On this occasion, the foundation’s outdoor spaces will host a number of interactive activities along with food stalls set up by local vendors, followed by the band’s live performance.

“There is a great deal of exciting, experimental work in music happening in our region, and the foundation has always explored ways to collaborate with local musicians and create platforms for their ideas,” said Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, Sharjah Art Foundation President and Director. “Our Music Programme expands on nearly a decade of these dynamic collaborations and affirms the foundation’s commitment to the role of this important art form within our community. With their wide-ranging work in music production and documentary film, El Foukr R’Assembly is the ideal collaborator for the programme’s launch, and the perspective they will bring to their workshops and educational activities will undoubtedly encourage the public to interact with music in meaningful ways.”

For more information, visit www.sharjahart.org, and for workshop registration, please contact education@sharjahart.org.

About El Foukr R’Assembly

Through music, documentary film, collaboration and travel, El Foukr R’Assembly explore notions of ‘Africanity’ and the intersection of cultural roots and contemporary musical genres. Their objective is to promote independent cultural production between North Africa and other regions of the African continent.

Having met in Algeria in 2014, El Foukr R’Assembly recorded their debut EP album, Look South, in a makeshift studio on the edge of the northern Sahara Desert. The album was released in October 2016, with its making captured in a short documentary available on the band’s website. After a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2015, El Foukr R’Assembly headed to Ghana for a three-week project and tour. There, having grown from four to eight members, the ensemble performed in venues and festivals around the country and collaborated with other artists and performers to address themes of belonging, youth mobility and post-colonial legacies. Their second EP album, Accra Affair, a result of their time in Ghana, will be released in 2017.

In 2016, El Foukr R’Assembly undertook a residency on the east coast of the United States. Working with ethnomusicologist and jazz musician Colter Harper, they gave a host of concerts and workshops between New York and Pennsylvania and held recording sessions featuring both Harper and spoken word artist Langston Kelly Human DJ. Together with their two US counterparts, the band concluded the year with a tour in Algeria. Currently, El Foukr R’Assembly are based in Ivory Coast.

El Foukr R’Assembly is the first project developed by the Tunisia-based Afreekyama Record Label, which also has operations in West Africa. The record label is managed by Afreekyama Multimedia Production, a collaborative platform dedicated to photography, multimedia storytelling and music production. Its founders are multimedia authors, filmmakers and producers Oualid Khelifi and Selim Harbi.

About Sharjah Art Foundation’s Music Programme

Sharjah Art Foundation’s Music Programme presents events such as concerts, workshops, open mics and discussion sessions. Its mission is to provide an accessible platform for both new talent and established artists to perform and connect and to encourage community members to cultivate an interest in music. The programme seeks particularly to foster local and regional musical experimentation through support of UAE and MENASA-based artists, and is a continuation of nearly a decade of the foundation’s work with a wide range of composers and musicians on a number of projects, including Ryoji Ikeda’s performance of datamatics [ver.2.0], alva noto (Carsten Nicolai) and Ryuichi Sakamoto’s performance of Univrs (uniscope version) and Tarek Atoui’s composition WITHIN. The foundation has also hosted concerts by Dimi Mint Abba, Amino Belyamani, Yusef Lateef and Maalem Abdelkébir Merchane.

All Music Programme events are free and open to the public.

About Sharjah Art Foundation

Sharjah Art Foundation is an advocate, catalyst and producer of contemporary art within the Emirate of Sharjah and the surrounding region, in dialogue with the international arts community. Under the leadership of founder Hoor Al Qasimi, a curator and artist, the foundation advances an experimental and wide-ranging programmatic model that supports the production and presentation of contemporary art, preserves and celebrates the distinct culture of the region, and encourages a shared understanding of the transformational role of art. The foundation’s core initiatives include the long-running Sharjah Biennial, featuring contemporary artists from around the world; the annual March Meeting, a convening of international arts professionals and artists; grants and residencies for artists, curators, and cultural producers; ambitious and experimental commissions; and a range of travelling exhibitions and scholarly publications.

Established in 2009 to expand programmes beyond the Sharjah Biennial, which launched in 1993, the foundation is a critical resource for artists and cultural organisations in the Gulf and a conduit for local, regional, and international developments in contemporary art. The foundation’s deep commitment to developing and sustaining the cultural life and heritage of Sharjah is reflected through year-round exhibitions, performances, screenings and educational programmes in the city of Sharjah and across the Emirate, often hosted in historic buildings that have been repurposed as cultural and community centres. A growing collection reflects the foundation’s support of contemporary artists in the realisation of new work, and its recognition of the contributions made by pioneering modern artists from the region and around the world.

Sharjah Art Foundation is a legally independent public body established by Emiri Decree and supported by government funding, grants from national and international nonprofits and cultural organisations, corporate sponsors and individual patrons.

All events are free and open to the public.

About Sharjah

Sharjah is the third-largest of the seven United Arab Emirates, and the only one bridging the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Reflecting the deep commitment to the arts, architectural preservation and cultural education embraced by its ruler, Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Sharjah is home to more than 20 museums and has long been known as the cultural hub of the United Arab Emirates. In 1998, it was named UNESCO's 'Arab Capital of Culture' and has been designated the UNESCO ‘World Book Capital’ for the year 2019.

Media Contacts

Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa