In Hammamet Nights ‘life shines though art’
HAMMAMAT- The “Hammamet Nights 2020” festival won the challenge of overcoming the Covid-19 obstacle through compliance with strict health measures, which did not, however, dampen the spirit of the celebration among revellers in the beach-resort town that hosts the annual event.
The festival opened July 25 with a Tunisian symphony orchestra concert conducted by Maestro Mohamed Bouslama. The show, which marked the 63rd anniversary of the Tunisian Republic, honoured the memory of Tunisian choreographer Najib Ben Khalfallah who passed away July 24.
Outgoing Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh attended the opening show along with the Tunisian Minister of Culture, Chiraz Laatiri, and Lassad Sayed, president of the International Cultural Centre of Hammamet, the official host and organiser of the event.
The Tunisian symphony orchestra played a classical piece titled “life shines through art”. It then performed a mix of international, Tunisian and Arabic music repertoires.
Tunisian singer Zohra Lajnef, was featured on the second evening of the festival. The Tunisian vocal artist known for her powerful velvet voice, played songs inspired from Tunisian and Arab-African heritage.
“Hamma wiya lili” (Long night without Hamma) is the second stage performance of the Lajnef Project, launched 15 years ago and in which the artist adopts Tunisian-African musical tempo and borrows expressions reflecting oriental and western musical styles.
Lajnef was the first artist to sing from the Amazigh heritage in her “Mediterranean Dialogue” show at the International Hammamet Festival edition of 2009.
The “Hammamet Nights 2020″ will go on until August 22 and will feature 29 shows.
The festival is made possible thanks to the scientific and medical committee at the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, which put in place a public health protocol against the spread of the novel virus. The protocol includes the use of masks and social distancing guidelines, such as leaving a vacant seat between audience members and providing separate pathways for entry and exit as well as a limited audience size. With the imposed restrictions, the audience could not exceed third of capacity.
Lassad Sayed, president of the International Cultural Center of Hammamet, told The Arab weekly: “For us, the challenge was in implementing the health protocol, and we can say that we succeed in that”.
“We hope that this will continue till the end of the Hammamet Nights, but we expect to host even more spectators after Aid al-Idha”.
The Muslim holiday of Aid al-Idha starts July 30.
Despite the health restrictions, Sayed was satisfied with the quality of the shows.
“The first week was up to the Hammamet festival’s standards. We hope to finish the nights in the best of conditions counting, as usual, on the understanding of the audience”, he said.