Music Spaces in the Arabic World Concerts between the pots and pans

Der Sänger Shady Ahmed in einer Kairoer Küche
Still: Goethe-Institut

The Arabic music scene is booming. The Goethe-Institut is therefore creating new spaces and networking opportunities for local artists. Living rooms and kitchens from Tunis to Baghdad are being converted into concert halls. Hear the sound of Middle Eastern indie-pop between pots and pans and what Sudanese girl groups sing about from the Musikraum project.

The musicians perform in private homes in Alexandria, Beirut, Bethlehem, Erbil, Gaza, Cairo, Khartoum, Ramallah and Tunis. The concerts are filmed and then the videos are uploaded to the Musikraum online platform where they can be experienced from anywhere, at any time.

Shady Ahmed

One of the artists is the Egyptian singer/songwriter Shady Ahmed. He combines western rock music with Arabic lyrics, for example in his song “Haga wa 'ishrin”. Shady Ahmed’s concert was held in the kitchen of a private residence in Garden City in Cairo.

Salute Yal Bannot

In their songs, the girl group Salute Yal Bannot addresses issues that affect the women of Sudan and elsewhere: social oppression, racism and love. The name of the band stands for diversity: the women come from all different parts of Sudan. They sing in English and Sudanese Arabic and with their music they hope to encourage women to be independent. To give the eleven musicians enough space, their concert was recorded in the recording studio Sync Multimedia Productions on the Blue Nile. The studio is a hub of the Sudanese music scene.

The selection

The artists are proposed by local curators and selected by a jury from the Arabic world and Germany. One of the primary criteria is the intercultural relevance of their music. Participants reflect social issues in their music, which ranges from traditional songs to Arabic Alternative Rock.

Project Seer

“Project Seer” is the pseudonym of the Beirut singer Sima Itayim. The musician grapples with growing up in many of her songs. The concert was recorded in her bedroom where she writes most of her songs.

Hamburg kitchen sessions

The highlight of the cultural exchange is the performance by selected artists at the Hamburger Küchensessions Festival on 21 September.

By Friederike van Stephaudt