FESTIVAL OF ARABIC MUSIC & ARTS – SECOND ANNUAL October 26 to November 10, 2018

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Following its overwhelmingly successful debut in 2017, the Festival of Arabic Music & Arts (FAMA) returns October 26 to November 11, 2018, with thirteen richly varied events in eleven venues across the GTA. The Canadian Arabic Orchestra (CAO) and festival partner Adonis Group are proud to announce FAMA’s 2018 line-up, which features music, dance, theatre, exhibitions, and film from Arab countries including Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, and Egypt performed by the CAO and an array of renowned local and international artists. The first of its kind in Ontario, the Festival of Arabic Music & Arts is a celebration of Arabic culture that aims to build bridges between Canada’s diverse communities by connecting audiences through music and art.
FAMA 2018 opens on October 26 with a performance by the celebrated Lebanese composer and singer Marwan Khoury. Other festival headliners include two world-renowned female singers, the Armenian-Syrian Lena Chammamyan, and the Palestinian Dalal Abu Amneh; a performance pairing the legendary Moroccan singer Fouad Zabadi with the highly acclaimed violin master Mahmoud Srour; a trio of concerts featuring The Canadian Arabic Orchestra; the award-winning Egyptian film Photocopy; and a fully-staged theatrical performance from the United Arab Emirates, Al Namarood. Tickets and festival information are available at canadianarabicorchestra.ca
Fueled by their passion for Arabic and Western classical music, Lamees Audeh and Wafa Al Zaghal founded the CAO in 2014 as a way of building bridges between these two rich cultural worlds. In 2017 they decided to expand upon the orchestra’s success by establishing the Festival of Arabic Music & Arts. FAMA’s inaugural edition brought together 60 international and local artists for concerts, stand-up comedy, theatre, and more.
“We are thrilled to bring FAMA back this fall for a second year,” said Audeh and Al Zaghal. “We look forward to hosting some truly gifted musicians, dancers, and actors and to sharing their artistry with audiences across the GTA —both Arab and non-Arab. The FAMA team is proud to celebrate the freedom and diversity of Canada’s cultural landscape, and we truly believe that it’s possible to build bridges between communities through the sharing of music and culture.”
FAMA 2018 OVERVIEW:
Marwan Khoury | concert
October 26 at 7:30 PM | Hammerson Hall, Mississauga Living Arts Centre
Marwan Khoury is a superstar of the Arab entertainment world. The chart-topping singer, songwriter, composer, and acclaimed television host is one of Lebanon’s most respected artists. Marwan enchants audiences with his modern take on classical Arabic music, which fuses Western influences with Arabic instruments, bringing together the beauty of two worlds.
El Hob Kullo (All My Love) from Egypt to Morocco featuring Mahmoud Srour, violin, and
Fouad Zabadi, singer | concert
October 27 at 7:30 PM | Oakville Centre for the Arts
This concert of music from the golden age of Arabic arts and culture brings together two giants, Mahmoud Srour and Fouad Zabadi. The violinist and singer transport audiences back to the time of Umm Kalthoum, Abdel Wahab, and Farid El Atrash — trendsetting musicians who transformed Arabic music in early 20th century Egypt and the Arab world. El Hob Kullo (All My Love) conveys messages of love from the pan-Arab world to Canadian audiences through carefully selected musical masterpieces.
Photocopy | Film
October 28 at 6:00pm | Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, Toronto
Presented with the Toronto Arab Film Festival
This highly acclaimed Egyptian comedy features superstar Mahmoud Hemaidah along with co-stars Sherine Reda and Farah Youssef. Written by Tamer Ashry and directed by Haitham Dabbour, Photocopy offers a satirical take on the meaning of life.
A former manual worker in a printing press whose job has become obsolete, Mahmoud becomes obsessed with how dinosaurs became extinct and sees parallels with his own situation. He leads a routine life that revolves around the photocopy shop he owns, his pension, his greedy landlord, and his neighbors, including a widow with whom he begins a complicated romance.
Dalal Abu Amneh | Nur | concert
November 1 at 7:00 PM| 918 Bathurst, Toronto
“Close your eyes. Fall in love. Stay there.” —Rumi
Celebrated singer Dalal Abu Amneh of Nazareth takes audiences on a holistic spiritual journey that combines Sufi whirling with music set to some of the greatest poetry of Rumi, Ibn Arabi, and Al Hallaj. Joining Dalal are an ensemble including composer and cellist Kinan Abu Afach, along with violin, qanun, and percussion, and Rumi Canada’s Tawhida Tanya Evanson whose Sufi whirling is a form of active meditation. Performed in a former Buddhist temple infused with the scent of incense, Nur draws upon Sufi mysticism to create a unique experience for the audience. A gallery of Sufi and Arabic calligraphy complements this performance.
Lena Chammamyan Jasmine from Damascus | concert
November 2 at 7:30 PM | Jane Mallet Theatre, Toronto
Syrian-Armenian singer Lena Chammamyan is a musical trailblazer who is based in Paris. Promoting the agency of eastern women everywhere to live their passion and achieve their goals as fully independent artists, Lena’s music blends traditional eastern songs from the Arab world and Armenia with western classics. In Jasmine from Damascus, Lena revives folkloric songs with modern styles and arrangements, forging a link between oriental classic music and contemporary world music.
Dalal Abu Amneh Ya Sitti | concert
November 3 at 7:30 PM| Lyric Theatre, North York
Surrounded by a group of Palestinian grandmothers on stage, singer Dalal Abu Amneh revives the precious oral traditions passed down from generation to generation throughout the Levant. Ya Sitti features traditional songs from Palestine, Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo — songs that bear the legacy of a history of migration and displacement.
In the past these women would sing sitting in close circles behind closed doors. Ya Sitti proudly brings them out into the open and celebrates their unique and important role as keepers of a treasured vocal tradition, one that reflects the stories of everyday women.
FlamencoArabia with guitarist Tarek Ghriri and members of the Canadian Arabic Orchestra|
music & dance
November 4 at 6:30 PM | Aga Khan Museum
FlamencoArabia is a Spanish-Arabic dance and music fusion performance that blends flamenco dance, traditional Andalusian sounds, and contemporary Arabic music. The show is the brainchild of Syrian flamenco guitarist and composer Tarek Ghriri, who accompanies the breathtaking flamenco dancers Arabic-inflected foot rhythms. Sung in Arabic and Spanish, the songs reflect flamenco’s deep Arabic roots dating back to the Middle Ages. FlamencoArabia is presented in partnership with the Aga Khan Museum’s annual Duende Flamenco Festival.
Al Nmarood (Nimrod) | Sharjah National Theatre | theatre (with English surtitles)
November 8 at 7:30 PM | Jane Mallet Theatre, Toronto
What goes around comes around! This satirical play tells the story of Namrood, the despot King of Babylon who pillaged and tortured his people. Namrood is tormented by an insect that has made its way into his head and commands his subjects to expel the insect by force — a request they are only too willing to oblige.
Written by His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Al Nmarood features a cast of Emirati actors who have toured the play across Europe and the Arab world. Performed in Arabic with English surtitles.
Sounds from Iraq with the Canadian Arabic Orchestra and special guest TBA | concert
November 9 | Lyric Theatre, North York
Details to be announced in September
A Tribute to Sayyed Darwish| The Canadian Arabic Orchestra & Choir with Charbel Rouhana| concert
November 10 | Jane Mallet Theatre, Toronto
This special tribute to Sayyed Darwish (1892 – 1923), Egyptian cultural hero and the father of modern Arabic music, features the combined forces of twenty instrumentalists, vocal soloists, and choristers from the Canadian Arabic Orchestra, along with world renowned Lebanese star Charbel Rouhana. This program honouring Egypt’s greatest composer includes songs that gave voice to ideas about social justice, love, and freedom. Award-winning composer, singer, and musician Charbel Rouhana is one of the few masters who shaped the evolution of the Oud (Arabic lute). He made his Toronto debut at the inaugural FAMA in 2017 in a concert that touched the hearts of Torontonians.
For more information, visit: canadianarabicorchestra.ca/fama/
Social Media: facebook.com/CanadianArabicOrchestra/ | youtube.com/channel/CAO
@CandianArabOrch | #FAMA

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