I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic
Marcel Khalife’s style of big-act, traditional Arabic music performance isn’t particularly my kind of thing, but when I saw he was performing in London I figured that he’s the kind of figure one has to see at least once. The Barbican show last Saturday exceeded my expectations, and was received with enormous joy and enthusiasm by all the friends I saw there.
Mona, from Gaza, told me she had never danced like that before – certainly she and her brother and the friends they’d come with were busy wildly waving kuffiyehs and debka-ing away (somewhat constrained by the seating), especially to Ya Bahriyeh. Another person I bumped into told me that her mother had been in tears during Ummi – it’s the settings of Mahmoud Darwish poems – the backbone of the show – which really finished everyone off. For me, it was the spellbinding version of Darwish’s Rita wa al-bunduqiyeh.
Anyway, here are a few photos, courtesy of my Mum, who was in a much better seat than me and had an illicit camera with her:
And here’s a video that someone with an even more illicit – and irritating – smartphone has posted on YouTube: