Wednesday, February 16, 2011

El Tanbura continues the celebration in Tahrir Square

K.N. (now pleased to be "out of the closet" as Kristina Nelson) reports that the music plays on in Tahrir Square.  Mohamed Mounir performed last night, (while pop star Amr Diab fled to Dubai early in the protests.  Likely not a wise career move.)  Here's a video link of an amazing roots group El Tanbura of Port Said, performing in in the square earlier in this drama

Afropop fell in love with El Tanbura when we met them at the WOMEX festival in 2006.  We look forward to attending their regular gig in Port Said when we visit Cairo next summer.

El Tanbura, at WOMEX 2006
El Tanbura at WOMEX 2006
Kristina also sent this statement from the El Mastaba Center for Egyptian Folk Music about the present situation:

"We are at the beginning of a new day in the history of Egypt in which every Egyptian can now claim justice, respect, not on the bases of wealth or power, but on their membership in the human community. This new day offers unprecedented opportunities for free expression, innovation and experimentation and the role of creative expression as a model for social change can now be realized.

"In 2000, Zakaria Ibrahim established El Mastaba Center for Egyptian Folk Music. The Center builds on his own efforts of several decades to rescue the heritage of Egyptian folk music, bringing it back to its previous glory and recapturing the major role it had always played in the daily life of Egyptians. The Center also works to raise the status of the traditional musician whose music and creativity have been marginalized and compromised by state and tourism agendas.

"Historically, Egyptian folk music came from the people and reflected the every-day life of the Egyptians. It shared with those people their joy and pain, their victories and defeats and was always a mirror of all the major happenings in Egypt. Today El Mastaba follows this same road as it works on renewing the national memory and emphasizing the idea of belonging and works to recapture the roots of the Egyptian character, all of which come to life through the folk music.

"For these reasons, El Mastaba played an active role in the Egyptian Revolution, bringing the groups under its umbrella to Tahrir Square to share their music in five evening concerts on the stages built in the square. The three bands that participated in the concerts were all chosen from the Suez Canal area, as their music has always been a symbol for peoples’ resistance. El Mastaba presented the ‘Hinna’ band from Suez, ‘El Waziry’ band from Ismailia and the famous ‘El Tanboura’ from Port Said.

"And now, to continue our celebrations of the new era in our country, El Tanboura will resume its Thursday performances in El Tanboura Hall, starting this week on the 17th of February at 8.30 p.m.

"We also propose that all civil organizations working in art and culture meet and start a dialogue on the new opportunities open to cultural work under the new realities of freedom of speech. As organizations and individuals working in the field of culture, we should now work together for a new future for our country, one that we create ourselves and  that is not imposed on us.

"We invite you to join us as we celebrate this new beginning and continue this journey together."
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