Photo gallery: Shubbak launches with music, culture and calligraffiti

Anealla Safdar
Anealla Safdar

The Shubbak Festival kicks off in London with the family-friendly Hafla on the Square at Chelsea Theatre and a performance of Burda songs at the Barbican

Relive some of the highlights from Day One of the Shubbak Festival in London.

A family friendly event, Hafla on the Square at the Chelsea Theatre, included London-based Egyptian artist Nazir Tanbouli creating a giant floor painting throughout the afternoon. The artists’ collective Variant Space constructed an installation based on identity. Visitors were invited to try Arabic drumming with Farouk Al Safi in one of his popular tabla drumming circles. And the Libyan graffiti artist Aiman Ajhani, also known as Elbohly, created new works based on the forms of a whirling dervish and Fatima's hand.

Later in the evening at the Barbican, the Moroccan singer Karima Skalli and the Asil Ensemble performed three Burdas – song cycles combining poetry and music, which have inspired the greatest Arab composers and poets across the centuries.

The concert featured the music of Umm Kulthoum and Mustafa Said, and was presented by Shubbak and Abu Dhabi Festival. It was preceded by a talk with Kamal Kassar, the director of the AMAR Foundation, about his work collecting historical recordings of Arab music as a resource for today’s composers and musicians.