Music Weekend with Ma3azef
5–6 April 2019
Symposium: Sharjah Institute of Theatrical Arts
Live music performances: Sharjah Art Foundation’s Mirage City Cinema, Al Mureijah Square
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Sharjah Art Foundation invites you to Music Weekend with Ma3azef, as part of the Sharjah Biennial 14 public programming. Taking place on 5 and 6 April 2019, the two-day event includes the Ma3azef Symposium on Arabic Music, the third edition of the biannual Re|sound, and live music performances by duo Kamilya Jubran and Werner Hasler, Muqata’a, $$$TAG$$$ and Mukta-feen.
The Ma3azef Symposium on Arabic Music will bring more than 20 writers, critics and musicians together to consider a number of pressing questions pertaining to Arabic music today. Over the two days of the symposium, a number of topical issues related to contemporary Arabic music will be explored, including the development of an Arabic music dictionary, the challenges faced by independent and alternative music scenes, and the role of modern history on recent transformations in Arabic music, among other critical issues.
Speakers include Rami Abadir, Laith Demashqieh, Fadi El Abdallah, Amira Elmasry, Sarah El Miniaway, Mazen El Sayed, Mark Gergis, Souhayl Guesmi, Zeina G. Halabi, Amira Hassnaoui, Abass Elhage, Hasan Hujairi, Kamilya Jubran, Muqata’a, Hala Mustafa, Ammar Manla Hasan, Makimakkuk, Mahmoud Refat, Mustafa Said, Mohammed Sqalli, Asem Tag and Rami Zeidan.
In addition to the symposium, which will take place at the Sharjah Institute of Theatrical Arts, the Music Weekend with Ma3azef features live performances by duo Kamilya Jubran and Werner Hasler, Muqata’a and $$$TAG$$$, as well as Re|sound III, a special film screening that fuses live music performances with cinema. All performances will take place in the open-air Mirage City Cinema, Al Mureijah Square.
A comprehensive schedule of the Music Weekend with Ma3azef follows below.
- Friday, 5 April 2019
Ma3azef Symposium on Arabic Music
• 2:30 pm
• 2:45 pm
Welcome and introduction
• 3:00–5:00 pm
Towards an Arabic Music Dictionary
This panel problematises the reductive use of foreign terminology by Arabic writers and music industry professionals and attempts to form an agreed method for the translation or reformulation of terms. Participants share their experience in writing and adapting contemporary music vocabulary, including names of musical instruments, their components and technical capacities, and various types of musical scenes and genres. The objective is the eventual creation of an Arabic dictionary of musical terms.
Panelists: Rami Abadir, Mazen El Sayed and Hasan Hujairi
Moderator: Amira Elmasry
• 5:00–5:15 pm
• 5:15–7:15 pm
A Discontinuity in Arabic Music
Until the late 1970s, the Arab world embraced traditional and classical forms of music—in production and marketing as well as composition and language—due to the prominence of a small number of classical vocalists on the radio, in cinema and in the press. The 1980s witnessed a break with this hegemony as new production and distribution models appeared, thereby allowing other music genres such as Khaliji, Nubi, Shaabi and Rai to gain popularity.
This panel will discuss the thorny relationship between the past and present of Arabic music and the crisis of authenticity and continuity with respect to traditional forms. Must there be a linkage with ‘the golden age’, or should we reject the past and acknowledge the impossibility of returning to a previous musical tradition?
Panelists: Fadi El Abdallah, Kamilya Jubran and Mustafa Said
Moderator: Fadi El Abdallah
• 8:30–10:00 pm
Re|sound is Sharjah Art Foundation’s biannual event for musical experimentation in dialogue with the medium of film. The foundation invites locally and regionally based musicians to prepare and perform live original sets in conversation with a projected film. The third edition, taking place this time as part of Music Weekend with Ma3azef, features a screening of Lujain Rakadh’s film Rahhala (2017) in tandem with live performances by musicians Laith Demashqieh, Hasan Hujairi and Makimakkuk.
Live Music Performance
• 10:00–11:00 pm
Live music performance by $$$TAG$$$
• 11:00 pm–12:00 am
Live music performance by Mukta-feen
- Saturday, 6 April 2019
Ma3azef Symposium on Arabic Music
• 10:30 am– 12:15 pm
Establishing New Critical Discourses
Despite a long gap in Arabic music criticism, commentary about classical Arabic music dating from the middle of the last century can still be read today. Regional versions of globally commercial pop and rap are reviewed as well, though generally in the style of the Western press. However, the Arab world is also home to a range of idiosyncratic music genres that have not yet been the subject of keen critical discussion due to class concerns and a general lack of Arabic music criticism. Examples of these less analysed genres include Rai, Levantine Shaabi and Mahraganat as well as Iraqi and Maghreb Pop.
How can we write about such genres? To what extent is it necessary to conduct systematic investigations into their origins, compositional structure and relationship with genre definitions? What are the implications of evaluating these musical genres in comparison with others, particularly Western genres, as is the case in various documentary films on Mahraganat? How can criticism be wholly shaped by the particular aesthetic and stylistic system of each genre?
Panelists: Fadi El Abdallah, Ammar Manla Hasan, Mark Gergis and Amira Hassnaoui
Moderator: Zeina G. Halabi
• 12:15–2:00 pm
• 2:00–3:45 pm
Spaces for Alternative Music Scenes
In light of recent economic, bureaucratic and security conditions in the region, major obstacles to the sustainability of alternative music scenes have presented themselves. With the scarcity of venues, it becomes increasingly difficult to hold concerts and have artists meet with each other and their audiences—both essential activities for the development of any music scene. Despite the lack of spaces and other constraints, event organisers have found various solutions to ensure the continuation of alternative music scenes. This panel will elaborate on their experiences in creating and engaging with music venues, using a range of business models and establishing relationships between spaces and audiences.
Panelists: Laith Demashqieh, Muqata’a, Mohammed Sqalli and Asem Tag
Moderator: Rami Abadir
• 3:45–4:00 pm
• 4:00–6:00 pm
The Music Industry in Alternative and Independent Scenes
Over the past ten years, the Arab world has seen the rise of several independent and alternative music scenes and the professionalisation and recognition of independent creatives in the fields of music and music video production. Distribution models for these scenes remain underdeveloped, however. Even with the spread of digital subscription platforms such as Anghami, Spotify and iTunes, the Arab music industry is still dominated by mainstream record labels that are able to manoeuvre better than independent labels, both legally and financially.
This panel explores various alternative strategies employed by independent musicians and record labels to distribute, market and promote independent music and concerts in a more competitive way.
Panelists: Abass Elhage, Sarah El Miniawy, Souhayl Guesmi, Mahmoud Refat, Makimakkuk and Rami Zeidan
Moderator: Hala Mustafa
Live Music Performance
• 8:30–10:00 pm
Live music performance by duo Kamilya Jubran and Werner Hasler
Kamilya Jubran and Werner Hasler have been collaborating on experimental music projects since 2002. With Jubran on vocals and oud and Hasler on trumpet and electronics, the duo explore poetry, language and cultural legacies. Laden with silence and free of rhythmic foundations, their sound lays bare their process; symbiotic works issue from their continuous, meditative and intricate musical dialogue. Album releases by the duo include Wasl (with Sarah Murcia on double bass) (2016), Wanabni (2010), Wameedd (2004) and Mahattaat (2002).
In their performance for the Music Weekend with Ma3azef, Jubran and Hasler present their new project, yet to be released.
• 10:00 pm–11:30 pm
Live music performance by Muqata’a
This event is free and open to the public. For more information and to register your attendance, visit sharjahart.org.
Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber (SB14) is on view until 10 June 2019 across the city and emirate of Sharjah. Curated by Zoe Butt, Omar Kholeif and Claire Tancons, SB14 features over 80 artists from around the world and more than 60 major new commissions and never-before-seen works. To learn more about how to attend this year’s Biennial, click here.
SB14 is accompanied by a wide range of public programmes, including music, film and educational programmes, inspired by the Biennial’s theme. Running through 27 May 2019, these programmes offer a variety of workshops, courses, excursions and activities aimed at audiences of all backgrounds, abilities and skill levels. To learn more and view the full programme schedule, visit the foundation’s website.
Ma3azef is an online music magazine dedicated to the critique and analysis of contemporary and classical Arabic music. Since its launch in 2012, Ma3azef has sought to develop independent critical discourse in Arabic and produce studied, bold and incisive long-form content.
Muqata'a is a music producer and MC who creates avant-garde music from sampled material, field recordings and electronic devices. The results range from harsh beats and ambient tones to glitch. His albums include Inkanakuntu (2018), Dubt Al-Ghubar (2017), La Lisana Lah (2017) and Hayawan Nateq (2013). Muqata’a is also the co-founder of the Ramallah Underground Collective (2003–2009) and Tashweesh, a sound and image performance group in collaboration with artists Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme.
$$$TAG$$$ is the stage name of Asem Tag, VENT co-founder and resident DJ. Currently a composer and touring musician for Studio Feryal's contemporary dance collective Nasa4Nasa, Tag has released music with UK-based imprints Opal Tapes and Seagrave.
About Kamilya Jubran
For nearly four decades, Kamilya Jubran has been performing music while, in her words, ‘roaming the in-between spaces and non-commercial milieus of the world’. As a singer, oud and qanun player and composer, Jubran voices notions of resistance, freedom and cultural legacy while developing original musical expression and redefining modern Arabic song.
Jubran has presented her work both as a solo artist and in collaboration with musicians from the Arab world and Europe. She began her musical career in Jerusalem as lead singer and qanun player in the ensemble Sabreen, with whom she collaborated for two decades (1982–2002). Since 2002, Jubran has collaborated with Werner Hasler on a number of experimental music projects.
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 exhibitions and events are free and open to the public.
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 Mohammed 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.
Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa