This year, Liverpool Arab Arts Festival is celebrating its 20thanniversary!
For two decades, LAAF has brought a thrilling showcase of the richness of Arab culture to Liverpool, with a packed programme of visual art, music, dance, film, theatre, literature and special events taking place in venues across the city.
The 2018 festival runs from 5-15 July, and has been allocated additional funding by Culture Liverpool. LAAF is one of 14 festivals to have been awarded extra resources, as the city celebrates a decade since its stint as the European Capital of Culture, ensuring this will be LAAF’s biggest and best year yet.
LAAF is delighted to announce that a fantastic trio of artists from the Arab world will be performing during this year’s festival, which is shaping up to our biggest and best ever.
Our enhanced musical programme will enjoy a spectacular opening weekend with a performance from internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter and the “voice of the Tunisian revolution”, Emel Mathlouthion Saturday 7 July at the Invisible Wind Factory.
We’ll be hosting Emel as she enters a new phase of her extraordinary life, with a powerful, heartfelt performance of tracks from her sophomore album Ensen (Human), as well as her 2007 recording and viral anthem of the Arab Spring, Kelmti Horra (My Word is Free).
On Friday 6 July the festival will also present an enthralling and powerful co-headline performance from Arab electronic hip-hop supergroup 47SOUL and TootArd, a trailblazing ensemble from the occupied Golan Heights, at Constellations in the Baltic Triangle.
Setting the tone for a weekend of inspirational and cutting-edge Arab music, 47SOUL will perform their unique combination of Dabke, traditional Palestinian street music and dance, Setting the tone for a weekend of inspirational and cutting-edge Arab music, 47SOUL will perform their unique combination of Dabke, traditional Palestinian street music and dance, in combination with TootArd, who will be bring their trademark melancholic Arabic blues to the stage.
The Unity Theatre is the venue on Sunday 14 July as LAAF presents the new darkly satirical work The Shroud Maker from writer Ahmed Masoud. Loosely based on a real-life character still living in Gaza, The Shroud Maker depicts Hajja Souad’s story of survival. An 80-year old woman living in El Shujaia Neighbourhood, she has survived decades of wars, deportation and oppression in Palestine by making and selling shrouds for the dead, profiting from the suffering around her.
Family Day will return to Sefton Park Palm House on Sunday 15 Julyto showcase some of the hottest talent in Arab music. Confirmed performers include boundary breaking Danish-Palestinian percussionist Simona Abdallah, Simo Lagnawi & Gnawa London, who will bring to life Gnawa, the music of formerly enslaved black Africans who integrated into the Moroccan social and cultural landscape, as well as The London Syrian Ensemble, a collective of some of Syria’s finest musicians based in the UK.
Twenty years on from our inception it is only fitting that we continue to showcase the work of Arab artists who are pushing the boundaries of their genres and adding to the rich tapestry of contemporary and traditional Arab culture.
Taher Qassim MBE, Chair of Liverpool Arab Arts Festival
Emel Mathlouthi – 7 July – £8 – Tickets
47SOUL and TootArd – 6 July – £8 – Tickets
The Shroud Maker – 14 July – £12.50 – Tickets
Family Day – 15 July – Free (save the date!)
More announcements about the artists and events coming to LAAF 2018 will be made very soon, so keep your eyes peeled!