Arab World Festival of Montreal


From October 25 to November 17, the 20th edition of the Arab World Festival of Montreal, will be held in various locations. The program of the event was unveiled this past Tuesday, as well as the title given to this year’s edition: Noon in the World, 20 Years of Acrobatics. This reference has nothing to do with the circus, but, as Leila Mahiout, FMA Vice President and Director of Public Relations stated, it may allude to the relationship with some levels of government. In the press release the organizers say that “Despite a highly unfavourable context, exacerbated in recent years by decisions and directions adopted by some government partners that the FMA regards as unjust and unjustified, the Festival has not hesitated to come up with all manners of contortions and gymnastics, with an artistic smile and a combative bearing.”

Small bureaucratic obstacles aside, the producers of the FMA are well prepared to offer this year one of the most diversified editions of their event, highlighting the presence of the Arab culture both, in their countries of origin as well as among members of the Arab community in Canada and other countries. The different cultural expressions to be presented include stage arts, film, music, dance, and a variety of conferences and roundtables. Some of these activities will be free, while others are ticketed. Among those free of charge are those showing the interaction between local artists from different origins engaged in dance, folk music, to take place at La Marche à côte (5043 St. Denis) and the conferences (various locations). At the press conference, we had the occasion to enjoy the interpretations by local musicians Saeed Kamjoo and Maryam Tazhdeh, playing their traditional instruments, the kamancheh and the tar, respectively, as well as the dances by Diane L♪on and Claire Campbell, and the music by Trio Syrien.

Among the highlights of the Festival we should mention the show titled “Et la femme chanta Dieu” (“And Woman Sings God”) with François Atlan, Dorsaf Hamdani, Ghada Shbeir, music direction by Katia Makdissi-Warren, with the OktoEcho Orchestra, and choreography by Diane Leon, with herself and Claire Campbell, Sara Harton, and Shraddha D. Blaney in charge of the dance. Multimedia creation by Hassan Aziz. (October 25, 8 p.m. Theatre Maisonneuve).

Another interesting show is that of the Ayoub Sisters, originally from Egypt, residents of Scotland, who will present a mix of popular and classical music. (November 1, 8 p.m., Le Gesù). And if you are curious about a mix of Middle East rhythms and jazz, the show to attend is the Abozekry Project, featuring Mohamed Abozekry, Robert Bourassa, Patrick Graham, Eric Hove, Frederic Alarie, and Kevin Warren. (November 8, 8 p.m., Cinquième Salle, Place des Arts).

Students and seniors can get 15 per cent discounts on some of the shows. For complete information on the program, artists, tickets, and venues, please visit

By: Sergio Martinez – [email protected]

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