Ramadan is well and truly underway in Cairo, as the season of mosalsalat, unexplainable napping and looking at your watch a lot ushers in what is usually an emotional rollercoaster of a month. There is, of course, plenty of joy to be found in binge-eating at, and well-after, dusk and, oh fine, I’ll have another meal at 2AM if you really think it’ll help; but one can’t help but miss nightlife – the hard, deafening thud of house music, the bellowing sounds of an over-exuberant live band and arguing with the staff at Deals 18 about the fact that you have to bring your own darts from home.
Ramadan might be nightlife-less, but it certainly isn’t night-lifeless. *Waves arms triumphantly, marveling at his own lyrical genius*
Now in its fifth edition, Cairo Jazz Club Agency and Darb 1718 are bringing back cultural festival, Mawaweel; a veritable carnival of live music, art, food and conscience-cleansing bazaar shopping for the best in local artisans and brands – #BuyLocal.
Taking the spirit of Ramadan and adding a cheeky out-of-left-field spin, the first night takes place on Thursday 25th of June, with a big opening line-up. One of Egypt’s biggest bands, Massar Egbari, are set to headline, with the Alexandrian group still riding the waves of the February release of their latest album, Toqaa’ w Teqom (Rise & Fall).
The opening act also boasts a recent album release, albeit much more recent; instrumentalist, composer, writer, vocalist and all-round talented music guy, Eslam El Sha’ary, marked the release of new record, Joanar, this week and is set to bring his unique brand of Afghan, Persian and Kurdish fusion music to the evening’s proceedings. There will also be a dizzyingly impressive and impressively dizzying tannoura performance in between, and other performances on the following two Thursday nights, include appearances by Nubian-inspired musician, Basheer, and Afro-fusion band, Hawidro.
Away from the music, there’s plenty more entrainment, with Darb 1718′s kitsch exhibition, Cinemania, on show, as well as other art – of the interactive kind – and, of course, the bazaar, rounding off what has always been a cool and quirky alternative Ramadan experience.
The festival is to take place on Thursdays 25th of June and 2nd and 9th of July, opening at 8PM with music beginning at 9PM. Tickets are 40LE, children under 12 get in for free.
For more information and the full musical line-ups, click here.
By Haisam Awad