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MAIN Program Artists

MAIN Program Artists

This program represents the ‘big event’ of the festival, introducing the creative, the eclectic and the global to Spring Festival audiences. As one of the few regional programs focused on connecting audiences with the global stage, this section of the Spring Festival emphasized the importance of cultural dialogue and collaborations.

The artists participating in the MAIN program of Spring Festival are:

Bassekou Kouyate & Garana Roots [MALI]Copy of 00 - 39

Main Program | Music

Presented in collaboration with the Aga Khan Music Initiative, a programme of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture

Performance in Beirut

Performance in Tunis

From Mali, Bassekou Kouyate is a master player of the ngoni, one of West Africa’s oldest instruments. A griot, or hereditary musician, from a long line of ngoni players, Kouyate has taken this traditional lute (which may date as far back as ancient Egypt) to audiences around the world, transforming it through the use of amplification, pedal effects and playing techniques borrowed from the electric guitar. A multi-award winner, with four acclaimed solo albums and numerous collaborations (including with Toumani Diabate, Ali Farka Toure, Taj Mahal, Damon Albarn, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Bela Fleck, and AfroCubism), Kouyate is known for his blues-rock sound that fuses the music of his native Segou, in central Mali, with popular African-American styles. The inspiration behind Kouyate’s newest project, Garana Roots, comes from his hometown, Garana, a remote village on the banks of the Niger River in a historic region of the Segou Province in central Mali. The idea behind the project is to showcase the rich soundscape of this part of the middle Niger valley, revealing a new side to Mali’s cultural heritage which is largely unknown outside of the region. Bassekou Kouyate & Garana Roots is a quintet led by Bassekou Kouyate on ngoni, with his eldest son Mamadou Kouyate on ngoni bass; Moctar Kouyate on calabash and percussion; his daughter Oumou Deli Kouyate on vocals; and special guest, veteran singer and one-string fiddle player, Zoumana (‘Zou’) Tereta.

ARTIST LINKS

 Website             Facebook            Twitter     

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BeijingDance/LDTX [CHINA]PRIORITY

Circle / October / First Ritual

Main Program | Dance

Performance in Beirut

Performance in Tunis

Beijing Dance/LDTX (or Lei Dong Tian Xia, which literally translates as Thunder Rumbles the Universe) was founded in September 2005. Under the artistic direction of Willy Tsao and executive artistic director, LI Han-zhong, Beijing Dance/LDTX is an ensemble of diverse dancers from all over China. The Company aims to create an open platform for contemporary dance artists in China and to promote the conception of modern dance as a multi-facet form of arts with emphasis on each artist’s individuality, modernity and originality. LDTX has produced a wide repertoire of work with varying scales and styles, including All River Red, Cold Dagger, One Table N Chairs, Pilgrimage, Unspeakable, Standing Before Darkness, First Ritual, Sorrowful Song, Layer Code, Treading on Grass, and A place. LDTX has also toured extensively around the world, including Algeria, Australia, Austria, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Latvia, Mexico, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and United States.

ARTIST LINKS

Website             Vimeo:  Circle         First Ritual         October   

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DJ WIZ [SWITZERLAND]dj-wiz

(Joint event with Yacine Boulares [Tunisia] and Tarek Yamani [Lebanon])

 Main Program | Music

Performance in Beirut

Raised in Biel/Bienne, a city known as Switzerland’s mecca for Hip Hop enthusiasts, DJ WIZ began DJing during the late 90s. By the mid 2000s, he became a member of Biel’s most prominent DJ crew, Double Trouble DJ-Crew. After over a decade behind the decks, DJ WIZ took his first steps as a beatmaker with the release of his 2010 debut album, The Essential Part,  as part of the group Ruck N’Wiz (Ruck P and WIZ). Ruck N’Wiz won the national M4Music “Urban” Award in 2011 for their album. Within a few years WIZ developed  his reputation from an  underground Hip Hop head into a multi-genre DJ. As a solo, DJ WIZ has gained international attention with the release of several mixtapes, including,  “Years Too Late”, “We Be Clubbin” and “Wizness As Usual”. The versatility of his work is seen in the diversity of the music he produces, from underground Hip Hop to Nu-Disco projects, and his different release over the last two years, including the series “A Journey Through The Samples” with Ruck N’Wiz, several Nu­ Disco projects with Boulevard 95 and the mix ­series “Next Wave”.

ARTIST LINKS

Facebook        Twitter      Soundcloud      Website

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Sulayman Al Bassam [Kuwait]Copy of Sulayman Al Bassam- IEM

In the Eruptive Mode: Voices from the Hijacked Spring

Main Program | Theatre

Performance in Beirut

Performance in Tunis

A Kuwaiti playwright and theatre director, Sulayman Al Bassam works between Paris, Kuwait and New York, producing theatrical works in both Arabic and English. His plays have been published in various languages and have been incorporated into the educational curricula in many American, European and Middle Eastern universities. Al-Bassam founded the Zaoum Theatre company in London in 2002 and its Kuwaiti-international wing, the SABAB Theatre company, in 2002. His key projects include, as a director, Saadallah Wannous’s Ritual for a Metamorphosis, and, as a playwright/director, UR, In the Eruptive Mode: Voices from the hijacked Spring, The Arab Shakespeare Trilogy (The Al-Hamlet Summit, Richard III:an Arab Tragedy and The Speaker’s Progress), and Hayyal Bu Tair. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the State Arts Encouragement Award in Kuwait (2004) and he was honoured at the Kuwaiti Theatre Festival in 2014. He is a global faculty member in residence at Gallatin School, New York University.

Synopsis 

Seven brief scenes spotlight themes of revolution, violence and desire in the contemporary Arab world. They take the form of a series of monologues that give voice to individuals caught in the throes of change and political struggle. The seven characters, themselves, are vivid and unique; and they are thrown into gruelling situations at the extremes of human experience. Through them, the work probes the contradictions and divides at the seams of Arab society during this phase.  of intense flux and turmoil. This play is a modernist approach to addressing crucial questions facing the Arab region at a time of intense flux and turmoil through theatre.

ARTIST LINKS

Website             Facebook           Twitter        Youtube

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Gultrah Sound System [TUNISIA]IMG_0373

with Labess [Algeria/Canada]

 Main Program | Music

Performance in Beirut

Performance in Tunis

Tunisia’s Gultrah Sound System was founded in 2006 by Halim Yousfi following a meeting with fellow band member, Wissem Ziadi. Gultrah Sound System, through fluid and catchy melodies, addresses topics that deal with the life of the “tounsi” (or “Tunisian”). The band alternates between the gravity and the humor of daily life in their lyrics and is always on a perpetual search of new sounds, exploring multiple genres such as rap, funk, afrobeat, roots, reggae, ragga, and ska. Gultrah Sound System is made up of  Halim Yousifi( guitar and vocals) , Wissem Ziadi ( violin and choir ), MalekBen Halim ( percussion and choir ), Amine Nouri (drums , percussion and vocals ), Ben Chiheb Lakhel ( guitar ), Mourad Majoul (guitar), Tareq Maaroufi (drums, percussion and vocals ) and Kais Fenni (bass).

ARTIST LINKS

Website          Facebook      Soundcloud        Youtube

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Kahraba Collective [LEBANON]Copy of GF3 - Kahraba

// Origin of a Tale 

//Landscape of Our Tears (with Collectif Kahraba [Lebanon] – Archipels. Cie Dominique Pifarély – ExtraMuros [France])

Main Program | Theatre

Origin of a Tale performance in Beirut

Landscape of Our Tears performance in Beirut

Kahraba Collective is a performing arts company, comprised of artists and technicians from different backgrounds, that firmly believes that art is a trajectory towards openness and dialogue. Through its various activities, Collectif Kahraba questions the world in which we grow and the challenges of the changing perception of our identities. Since 2007, Collectif Kahraba has presented ten different performances that brought together different artistic disciplines, including, theatre, puppetry, shadows, contemporary dance. Many of these performances have showcased in different countries, including Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Qatar, France, and various European countries. Collectif Kahraba has also developed international partnerships that lead artistic collaborations in Hungary, Japan, Senegal, and Egypt. The Collectif also initiated a multidisciplinary, free festival, Nehna wel Amar wel Jiran, which  held its fourth edition in 2015 and gathered more than 40 artists and over 5000 spectators.

Synopsis: Origin of a Tale 

The first fable may have even been modeled from clay. The central element will be clay in layered sheets, in piles, in blocks, in bas-relief, modeled live, and so on, giving life to figures and spaces. It is from and through this raw material that the two interpreters will build the genealogy of fables and their origins. The piece combines live sculpture and drawing, movement, object manipulation and sound creation.

Synopsis: Landscape of Our Tears 

Job, the mythic character from the biblical Book of Job, frequently comes to mind while living in the Middle East. He who upon his bed of ashes, curses the day he was born. He who has lost everything yet disavows nothing. Job will be the guiding thread in the writing of this visual poem. In the Jourd, a mountainous region in Northern Lebanon, the Juniper trees there are quiet, mocking the cacophony that reigns below, the generations that pass away, the refugees that cluster, the men who practice shooting in their valleys. In this visual poem, the Jourd, a dispossessed terrain is an allegory to the heart of Job, and the ink scrolls that will spool on scene, an allegory to his interior landscapes. This is a story whose meaning sometimes escapes us because, like in life, things escape us and we lose control.

ARTIST LINKS

Website               Vimeo

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KATHAKALI Presented by the KERALA KATHAKALI CENTRE [INDIA]4U6A3215

Main Program | Dance Theatre

Performance in Beirut

Performance in Tunis

Kathakali is a harmonious combination of five forms of fine art:

  •  Literature (Sahithyam)
  •  Music (Sangeetham)
  •  Painting (Chithram)
  •  Acting (Natyam)
  •  Dance (Nritham)

Kathakali is one of the oldest dance theatre forms in the world. It originated in the area of southwestern India now known as the state of Kerala. Kathakali is a group presentation, in which dancers take various roles in performances traditionally based on themes from Hindu mythology, especially the two epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

KERALA KATHAKALI CENTRE

Kerala Kathakali Centre is a famous theatre in south India, conducting daily Kathakali and other shows. It was founded in 1990 in Kochi, the oldest city in Kerala and known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea .The Kerala Kathakali Center’s aim is to popularize and encourage the classical arts of Kerala, discover new talents, and improve the standards of training and performances by rigorous discipline and dedication. Various traditional arts and rituals are also encouraged and performed at the Centre.

ARTIST LINKS

Kathakali Excerpts      Indian Classical Dance Excerpts (Kerala Kathakali Centre, Fortkochi)

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Labess [ALGERIA/CANADA] _VIC4289_HD

(with Gultrah Sound System [TUNISIA])

 Main Program | Music

Performance in Beirut

Performance in Tunis

Algerian born Nedjim Bouizzoul, the son of a musician, borrowed his father’s guitar and began playing at an early age. At age 16, he played with the Algerian group, Fiesta Day. In the midst of Algerian internal conflicts, he fled with his family to Canada. It was there that began exploring music’s many diverse angles while playing for the Montreal Metro commuters. In 2004, Nadjim founded his band, Labess, in which he sings in arabic, french and spanish. The group mixes traditional north African instruments (krakeb) with bass,clarinet, trumpet, guitar, drums and percussion. The band’s sound palette includes contemporary fusion style with Cuban guarancha, flamenco, gypsy rumba and traditional North African music. Labess’ debut album, Tout va Bien, was  released in 2007, receiving nominations at the ASDIQ (Quebec’s Juno Awards) and at the Canadian Music Awards. This growth of the band’s music  led them to be featured on Canadian radio (Espace Musique), live tv shows (Belle et Bum), and as live performances in Quebec (Divan Orange, les Bobards, le Batallon). Labess released their second album, Identité,  in 2012 and will be releasing their third album in April 2016

ARTIST LINKS

Website            Facebook               Youtube

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Yacine Boulares [TUNISIA] & Tareq Yamani [LEBANON]TY (by Marieke Bijster)yacineS1_37

Identities  

(Beirut performance followed by DJ Wiz [SWITZERLAND])

Main Program | Music

Performance in Beirut

Performance in Tunis

If music expresses more than itself, then Jazz might be the perfect place to express a transcendence: a place to express impressions, a background and a culture with the urgency of improvisation. Yacine Boulares (saxophone) and Tarek Yamani (piano) both evolved in New York, where they found a place to learn and grow as jazz musicians as well as a place to define their own identity. Both are global citizens who affirm a strong jazz identity deeply rooted in African and Arabic music. Identities is a project presenting their compositions and arrangements of jazz and Arabic standards.

Yacine BoularesyacineS1_42

After graduating with a BA in Philosophy, Tunisian saxophonist and composer Yacine Boulares took a year off to play music.  A few years later he enrolled at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, before being granted a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music (US). In New York, Boulares played with many prominent musicians and joined various music groups, including, Jojo Kuo’s  Afrobeat Collective, Martino Atangana’s African Blue Note, and the Haitian Tabou Combo. The diverse influences led to the formation of his first project, Ajoyo, in 2015,  which blends traditional, soul and jazz from Africa.Boulares continues to play  with different musicians, including Sheila Jordan, Theo Bleckman and Becca Stevens and for various projects such as Japanese singer/songwriter Senri Oe. In 2015, he collaborated with Vincent Segal (cello) and Nasheet Waits (drums) on a project exploring the forgotten tunisian Stambeli repertoire.

ARTIST LINKS

Website           AJOYO               Youtube 

Tarek YamaniTY (by Lina Shteyn)

Born and raised in Beirut, Yamani is an American-Lebanese award winning composer and a self-taught jazz pianist who got exposed to jazz around the age of 19. Since the release of his debut album, Ashur, in 2012, Tarek has been dedicated to exploring relationships between African-American Jazz and Arabic rhythms/maqams. This new direction in interpreting classical Arabic music is the main story behind his second album Lisan Al Tarab: Jazz Conceptions in Classical Arabic. In April 2013, Yamani founded, organized and produced a show called Beirut Speaks Jazz, which aims to promote jazz in Lebanon by igniting collaborations between artists from the worlds of rock, pop, tarab, rap and blues over the foundations of jazz. The event featured 36 musicians on a single stage and in different combinations. Internationally, Yamani has performed in different formations and has shared the stage with artists such as Michael Moore, Troy Roberts, Ari Hoenig, Ambrose Akinmusire, Rudy Royston, Jimmy Greene, Khaled Yassine, Bill Saxton, Drew Gress  and Chico Freeman. Yamani has received many awards, including  the Givanas Foundation grant, the Huygens scholarship, the Andrea Elkenbracht award, the Prins Bernhard Culture fund, the Thelonious Monk Composers Competition prize, the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead residency and the New Dutch composition contest.

ARTIST LINKS

Website        Facebook         Twitter       Soundcloud         Youtube

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FILM SCREENINGS FROM IRAQ & TUNISIA

Be it in Iraq, before or after the American invasion, or through an immigrant journey during the Gulf War, or a personal loss in Tunisia, the stories in this year’s Spring Festival film selection vary and yet begin from similar realities, turning every moment into a profound reflection on the complexities of human relations. The common thread in all four films is a reflection on the current rationale for change, questioning the distance (or lack of) between the personal and the political in today’s Arab landscape.  

Fares Naanaa  [TUNISIA]BORDERS OF HEAVEN Affiche

Borders of Heaven (2015)

Main | Cinema 

Screening in Beirut

Synopsis |  Sami and Sara have been married for seven years. A thirty-something couple, they seem to lead a happy life with their little daughter Yasmine. Sara is a primary school teacher and Sami, an architect. They live happily through their daily routine until drama shatters their dreams. A few months later, the couple is still trying to come to terms with the tragedy that hit them

About the Director | After high school, Fares Naanaa, motivated by his passion for cinema, register at the Maghreb Cinema Institute “IMC” in Tunis, where he graduated as director in 1996. Since 1997, he held various positions as assistant director, producer, executive producer and actor in several short films and TV series. As a director, Fares Naanaa has his credit to three short movies: “Casting for a wedding” in 2004, “Who killed Prince Charming? “in 2005 and” Fall in Love” in 2007. “Borders of Heaven”, his first feature fiction film, produced by CINETELEFILMS, made its world premiere in the official competition at the Carthage Film Festival 2015 and competed for the Muhr in Dubai International Film Festival in 2015.

DIRECTOR LINKS

Trailer         Facebook  

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