Shubbak Festival to bring ‘top acts’ from Arab world to London

Shubbak 2021’s ambitious programme promises to connect audiences and communities with the best of contemporary Arab visual arts, film, music, theatre, dance, literature and debate.
Friday 28/05/2021
Adnan Jubran will perform “Borders Behind”, Jazz Cafe on 30 June 2021. (Shubbak festival website)
Adnan Jubran will perform “Borders Behind”, Jazz Cafe on 30 June 2021. (Shubbak festival website)

LONDON – During its sixth edition, the Shubbak Festival will be bringing mesmerising musical performances to the English capital London and spotlighting contemporary Arab culture, the festival organisers said on Thursday.  

 “Shubbak 2021 celebrates the creativity and voices of Arab artists and takes you right into the heart of cultural expression in the Arab world and its diaspora,” said artistic director Eckhard Thiemann.

“With a wide range of performance venues in London and an extensive network of international locations from Slemani to Casablanca, from Cairo to Riyadh, this year’s festival programme transcends the borders of all our previous editions,” Thiemann added.

This year’s edition of the Shubbak Festival runs from June 20 to July 17 and comes in partnership with MARSM, a London-based event producer and dynamic digital platform.

“This year’s collaboration with Shubbak brings together top acts from the Arabic-speaking world. Whether it is from Syria, Egypt or Palestine, hip hop or classical Arabic, there’s new and exciting music in London this summer,” MARSM CEO and Director Khaled Ziadah said.

 Shubbak 2021’s ambitious programme promises to connect audiences and communities with the best of contemporary Arab visual arts, film, music, theatre, dance, literature and debate.

The Synaptik and Felukah (Shubbak festival website)
The Synaptik and Felukah (Shubbak festival website)

“This year we are excited to present a unique collaboration between two of the most sought after hip hop, rap and trap talents from the Arabic-speaking world; The Synaptik and Felukah,” the organisers revealed.

 Through a friendship solidified over a dusty mic in Cairo in 2019, Synaptik and Felukah’s commission includes the release of two singles, two music videos and a live performance taking place at London’s Jazz Cafe on July 3.

Another exciting performance within the festival programme is the much-anticipated return of esteemed Palestinian oud player and composer Adnan Joubran who is also one third of the world renowned oud trio – Le Trio Joubran.

The oud virtuoso will be presenting a brilliantly reworked version of his 2014 project Borders Behind. The famous oudist’s compositions pay homage to the heritage of the oud while pushing boundaries to create a new musical landscape.

 For their debut appearance at London’s King Place, The London Syrian Ensemble, under the direction of Syrian composer and ney (flute) soloist Louai Alhenawi will be presenting brand new compositions commissioned for the festival.

This dynamic and emotional show brings to the stage new instrumental arrangements by composers from Syria and its diaspora. Alongside featured guest vocalists and songs from Arabic folk and classical repertoire, Sounds of Syria examines the new approaches and sounds created when Syrian music is composed in foreign lands, exploring themes of longing and loss, hope and new beginnings.

The Ensemble, led by composer and ney soloist Louai Alhenawi, is a unique collective of musicians trained at the Damascus Conservatoire. Working in the Arabic modes known as maqam, the group performs on a range of instruments, including the ney (flute), kanun (zither), daf, riqq and darbuka (percussion), violin, viola and double bass.