El Tanboura Band performs at third edition of Wanas Festival-by Egypt Today El Tanboura Band performs at third edition of Wanas Festival-by Egypt Today

Wanas Festival reminds Egyptians of their heritage

Fri, Nov. 10, 2017
CAIRO – 10 November 2017: Wanas Festival for Egyptian Folk Arts kicks off its third edition from November 9 to November 11, featuring local folk bands that introduce the diverse Egyptian cultures and music; preserving traditional Egyptian music and heritage.

This festival was first organized by El Mastaba Center for Egyptian Folklore Music in 2014. This edition is different from the previous editions as new local bands such as Nubian Haoidor Band were invited to participate, according to the founder of El Mastaba center Zakaria Ibrahim, who announced details about the edition in a press conference on Thursday.

The Egyptian bands who will perform in the festival are Mostafa Rizk, the Afro-Egyptian band Hawidro, El Tanbura, the Bedouin band Aljarkan, the Nubian band Nubanor, the Sudanese band Rango and the Sea Youth band.

Besides local bands, international bands from Germany and the Netherlands are participating in the festival as well.

Ibrahim believes that the festival would raise Egyptians’ awareness about the richness and diversity of Egyptian cultures by reviving folk music, which is considered a part of Egypt’s heritage.

Ibrahim explained that El Tanboura’s members are residents of Egyptian traditional neighborhoods that still preserve the Egyptian heritage now forgotten by most Egyptians due to contemporary life.

“The festival aims to change the wrong conceptions that the audience holds about folk music, since many people do not even consider this kind of music lately,” Ibrahim explained.

He added that nowadays folk music is threatened by mainstream trends that impact the style of folk musicians who seek popularity and money. Besides, the General Authority for Cultural Palaces wants to integrate folk musicians in the career pyramid, obliging them to work under their rules which contradicts their simplicity and freedom.

Consequently, one of the obstacles facing the Wanas Festival is funding, as the Ministry of Culture does not finance bands that are not affiliated with it.

He noted that without the Ministry of Culture’s support, Egypt's rich heritage of traditional music is at risk; hence, El Mastaba looks for talented folk bands to introduce them to people.

The opening night was inaugurated with a performance from one of El Mastaba’s own bands, El Tanbura, which plays the folk music of Port Said.

Following El Tanboura’s performance was Nuba’s Nubanour band’s performance. This band led by Osama bakry plays Nubian traditional folk music mixed with elements of jazz.

“Through this festival, we are trying to preserve Nubian culture that is about to become extinct and unknown to most Egyptians,” said Bakry.

Nubanour started out in the 1960s; El Mastaba Center then opened many fields internally and internationally to allow them to present their culture at festivals such as the Wealth Festival in London and Jerash Festival for Culture and Arts in Jordan.

In cooperation with Goethe Institute

The opening day of the festival ended with a performance by Unterbiberger from Germany, who came to Egypt in cooperation with the Goethe Institute. The band consists of Franz Joseph Himpsl, his family, and two other members.

Coming originally from the surroundings of Munich, Southern Germany, the band creates a fusion of German folk music mixed with jazz. Their style of music is influenced by diverse regional and international influences such as Turkish and oriental music.

Franz explained that Unterbiberger is used to travelling to different countries including Tunisia, Iran and Egypt noting that music has the power to bring people together and helps them encounter and respect diverse cultures.

He added that Egyptian folklore music is more powerful than Germany’s music as it uses drums and the lyre instrument, simsimeya, and damma. His band, has in effect, fused their style with the Egyptian one.

Mostafa Rizk, whose musical style is influenced by Egyptian blues and jazz music mixed with folklore; will present a concert on the second day of the festival.

Asked how jazz and folklore music are related, he said that it is not difficult to mix Egyptian traditional music with a modern style especially since blues have African roots.

“The festival is part of Ibrahim’s efforts to revive Egyptian traditional music that might be unknown to many,” Rizk concluded.
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