Sharjah Art Foundation Presents Music Weekend with Ma3azef

In addition to live music performances by duo Kamilya Jubran and Werner Hasler, Muqata’a and $$$TAG$$$, the programme features Ma3azef Symposium on Arabic Music and Re|sound III

Symposium speakers include over 20 musicians, music industry professionals, writers, scholars and critics

Music Weekend with Ma3azef

5–6 April 2019

Symposium: Poetry House

Live music performances: Sharjah Art Foundation’s Mirage City Cinema, Al Mureijah Square

Sharjah Art Foundation invites you to Music Weekend with Ma3azef, as part of the Sharjah Biennial 14 public programming. Taking place on 5 and 6 April 2019, the two-day event includes the Ma3azef Symposium on Arabic Music, the third edition of the biannual Re|sound, and live music performances by duo Kamilya Jubran and Werner Hasler, Muqata’a and $$$TAG$$$.

The Ma3azef Symposium on Arabic Music will bring more than 20 writers, critics and musicians together to consider a number of pressing questions pertaining to Arabic music today. Over the two days of the symposium, a number of topical issues related to contemporary Arabic music will be explored, including the development of an Arabic music dictionary, the challenges faced by independent and alternative music scenes, and the role of modern history on recent transformations in Arabic music, among other critical issues.

Speakers include Rami Abadir, Laith Demashqieh, Fadi El Abdallah, Amira Elmasry, Sarah El Miniaway, Mazen El Sayed, Mark Gergis, Souhayl Guesmi, Zeina G. Halabi, Amira Hassnaoui, Abass Elhage, Hasan Hujairi, Kamilya Jubran, Muqata’a, Hala Mustafa, Ammar Manla Hasan, Makimakkuk, Mahmoud Refat, Mustafa Said, Mohammed Sqalli, Asem Tag and Rami Zeidan.

In addition to the symposium, which will take place at Poetry House, Sharjah, the Music Weekend with Ma3azef features live performances by duo Kamilya Jubran and Werner Hasler, Muqata’a and $$$TAG$$$, as well as Re|sound III, a special film screening that fuses live music performances with cinema. All performances will take place in the open-air Mirage City Cinema, Al Mureijah Square.

A comprehensive schedule of the Music Weekend with Ma3azef follows below.

  • Friday, 5 April 2019
  • Ma3azef Symposium on Arabic Music
  • 2:30 pm


  • 2:45 pm

Welcome and Introduction

  • 3:00–4:45 pm

Establishing New Critical Discourses

Despite a long gap in Arabic music criticism, commentary about classical Arabic music dating from the middle of the last century can still be read today. Regional versions of globally commercial pop and rap are reviewed as well, though generally in the style of the Western press. However, the Arab world is also home to a range of idiosyncratic music genres that have not yet been the subject of keen critical discussion due to class concerns and a general lack of Arabic music criticism. Examples of these less analysed genres include Rai, Levantine Shaabi and Mahraganat as well as Iraqi and Maghreb Pop.

How can we write about such genres? To what extent is it necessary to conduct systematic investigations into their origins, compositional structure and relationship with genre definitions? What are the implications of evaluating these musical genres in comparison with others, particularly Western genres, as is the case in various documentary films on Mahraganat? How can criticism be wholly shaped by the particular aesthetic and stylistic system of each genre?

  • Panelists: Fadi El Abdallah, Mark Gergis, Amira Hassnaoui and Kamilya Jubran
  • Moderator: Ammar Manla Hasan
  • 4:45–5:00 pm

Coffee break

  • 5:00–7:00 pm

Towards an Arabic Music Dictionary

This panel problematises the reductive use of foreign terminology by Arabic writers and music industry professionals and attempts to form an agreed method for the translation or reformulation of terms. Participants share their experience in writing and adapting contemporary music vocabulary, including names of musical instruments, their components and technical capacities, and various types of musical scenes and genres. The objective is the eventual creation of an Arabic dictionary of musical terms.

  • Panelists: Rami Abadir, Zeina G. Halabi, Mazen El Sayed and Hasan Hujairi
  • Moderator: Amira Elmasry
  • Re|sound III
  • 8:30–10:00 pm

Re|sound III

Re|sound is Sharjah Art Foundation’s biannual event for musical experimentation in dialogue with the medium of film. The foundation invites locally and regionally based musicians to prepare and perform live original sets in conversation with a projected film. The third edition, taking place this time as part of Music Weekend with Ma3azef, features a screening of Lujain Rakadh’s film Rahhala (2017) in tandem with live performances by musicians Laith Demashqieh, Hasan Hujairi and Makimakkuk.

  • Live Music Performance
  • 10:00–11:00 pm

Live music performance by $$$TAG$$$

  • Saturday, 6 April 2019
  • Ma3azef Symposium on Arabic Music
  • 10:30 am–12:30 pm

A Discontinuity in Arabic Music

Until the late 1970s, the Arab world embraced traditional and classical forms of music—in production and marketing as well as composition and language—due to the prominence of a small number of classical vocalists on the radio, in cinema and in the press. The 1980s witnessed a break with this hegemony as new production and distribution models appeared, thereby allowing other music genres such as Khaliji, Nubi, Shaabi and Rai to gain popularity.

This panel will discuss the thorny relationship between the past and present of Arabic music and the crisis of authenticity and continuity with respect to traditional forms. Must there be a linkage with ‘the golden age’, or should we reject the past and acknowledge the impossibility of returning to a previous musical tradition?

  • Panelists: Fadi El Abdallah, Kamilya Jubran and Mustafa Said
  • Moderator: Fadi El Abdallah
  • 12:30–2:00 pm

Lunch break

  • 2:00–3:45 pm

Spaces for Alternative Music Scenes

In light of recent economic, bureaucratic and security conditions in the region, major obstacles to the sustainability of alternative music scenes have presented themselves. With the scarcity of venues, it becomes increasingly difficult to hold concerts and have artists meet with each other and their audiences—both essential activities for the development of any music scene. Despite the lack of spaces and other constraints, event organisers have found various solutions to ensure the continuation of alternative music scenes. This panel will elaborate on their experiences in creating and engaging with music venues, using a range of business models and establishing relationships between spaces and audiences.

  • Panelists: Laith Demashqieh, Muqata’a, Mohammed Sqalli and Asem Tag
  • Moderator: Rami Abadir
  • 3:45–4:00 pm

Coffee break

  • 4:00–6:00 pm

The Music Industry in Alternative and Independent Scenes

Over the past ten years, the Arab world has seen the rise of several independent and alternative music scenes and the professionalisation and recognition of independent creatives in the fields of music and music video production. Distribution models for these scenes remain underdeveloped, however. Even with the spread of digital subscription platforms such as Anghami, Spotify and iTunes, the Arab music industry is still dominated by mainstream record labels that are able to manoeuvre better than independent labels, both legally and financially.

This panel explores various alternative strategies employed by independent musicians and record labels to distribute, market and promote independent music and concerts in a more competitive way.

  • Panelists: Abass Elhage, Sarah El Miniawy, Souhayl Guesmi, Mahmoud Refat, Makimakkuk and Rami Zeidan
  • Moderator: Hala Mustafa
  • Live Music Performance
  • 8:30–10:00 pm

Live music performance by duo Kamilya Jubran and Werner Hasler

Kamilya Jubran and Werner Hasler have been collaborating on experimental music projects since 2002. With Jubran on vocals and oud and Hasler on trumpet and electronics, the duo explore poetry, language and cultural legacies. Laden with silence and free of rhythmic foundations, their sound lays bare their process; symbiotic works issue from their continuous, meditative and intricate musical dialogue. Album releases by the duo include Wasl (with Sarah Murcia on double bass) (2016), Wanabni (2010), Wameedd (2004) and Mahattaat (2002).

In their performance for the Music Weekend with Ma3azef, Jubran and Hasler present their new project, yet to be released.

  • 10:00 pm–11:30 pm

Live music performance by Muqata’a

This event is free and open to the public. For more information and to register your attendance, visit

Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber (SB14) is on view until 10 June 2019 across the city and emirate of Sharjah. Curated by Zoe Butt, Omar Kholeif and Claire Tancons, SB14 features over 80 artists from around the world and more than 60 major new commissions and never-before-seen works. To learn more about how to attend this year’s Biennial, click here.

SB14 is accompanied by a wide range of public programmes, including music, film and educational programmes, inspired by the Biennial’s theme. Running through 27 May 2019, these programmes offer a variety of workshops, courses, excursions and activities aimed at audiences of all backgrounds, abilities and skill levels. To learn more and view the full programme schedule, visit the foundation’s website.

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