If it’s March (and some of April) it must be Spring of Culture and this year Bahrain is really pushing the boat out with big name performances including opera superstar Andrea Bocelli and ladies’ favourite Julio Iglesias.
We’ve been quietly rejoicing at the prospect of Bocelli ever since we heard, and everyone we’ve told is equally excited so the tickets are bound to sell out quickly. As well as these two greats there are some other superb offerings in store from the likes of Aussie hoofers Tap Dogs, Egyptian Diva Riham Abdul Hakim accompanied by Maestro Selim Sahab Arab Music Ensemble, Korean dance troupe Eun-Me Ahn, the gravity-defying Tom Tom Crew and the world-famous Shaolin monks.
Now in its seventh year, the Spring of Culture will see more than 35 events across the island from Arad Fort to the National Museum from lectures and workshops to exhibitions and outdoor displays from the likes of Al Bareh Art Gallery and Al Riwaq Art Space and we’ve got the full programme details.
For more info on events and tickets, go to www.springofculture.org or call the event hotline on 39 900 630 – some performances have a minimum age so please check.
2nd Forum on Festivals in the Arab Countries
Celebrating Manama, the Capital of Arab Culture, the Ministry of Culture, in coordination with the Arab Administrative Development Organisation is organising this unique platform for festival organisers to exchange experiences focusing on cultural economics and new trends in social media.
Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, 9am www.manamaculture2012.bh/ar/forum.
A Tribute to Umm Kulthum by Riham Abdul Hakim
Reliving the music of an Arabic legend, ‘Umm Kulthum: The Legacy’ By Egyptian Diva Riham Abdul Hakim accompanied by: Maestro Selim Sahab Arab Music Ensemble.
Bahrain National Museum, 8pm.
Best-selling Latin artist and one of the Top 10 best-selling artists in history, Julio Iglesias makes his Bahrain debut with songs from an extensive back catalogue that has crossed musical and linguistic borders.
Arad Fort, 8.30pm www.julioiglesias.com.
March 4-April 4
‘Diversity’ Arab artists
Albareh Art Gallery is hosting a collective exhibition ‘Diversity’ by a group of Arab artists which highlights different techniques, concepts, forms and materials. Works on show will include a mix of paintings, photography and sculptures.
Albareh Art Gallery www.albareh.com.
A Tarab musical evening from the golden age of music with Ghada Ghanem
Awarded by the New York Wagner Society and the Metropolitan Opera, Ghanem is known for a mixture of the toughness of Asmahan, the tenderness of Leila Murad and the nostalgia of Feiruz.
Sheikh Ebrahim Centre, 8pm www.ghadaghanem.com.
Princess Bari by Eun-Me Ahn
When the queen bears him a seventh daughter instead of a son, the king throws the child into the sea. Brought up by a fisherman, Princess Bari is told the truth of her identity and on her journey to her father’s kingdom she faces many trials and adventures. Korea’s Eun-Me Ahn, fuses traditional art forms with scintillating and highly original dance theatre.
Arad Fort, 8.30pm www.ahneunme.com.
Island debut for one of the world’s most beloved tenors, Andrea Bocelli’s performance will feature Paola Sanguinetti, soprano, special guest Ilaria Della Bidia and State Hermitage Orchestra with Eugene Kohn, conductor.
Bahrain National Museum, 8pm www.andreabocelli.com.
Dan Zanes & Friends
Back by popular demand, all the way from Brooklyn, New York, Dan and Friends promise entertainment for all ages with the sounds of electric guitar, fiddle, drums, trumpet, upright bass, harmonica, spoons, mandolin, voices and orchestra.
Arad Fort, 5pm www.danzanes.com.
Taiko Legend: Heart beat from Japan
First Middle Eastern tour for Eitetsu Hayashi, internationally acclaimed pioneer of solo-performance in the Japanese traditional drum ‘Taiko’. He is accompanied by Japanese bamboo flutist Makoto Takei and four young drummers.
Cultural Hall, 8pm www.jpf.go.jp/e/culture/perform/oversea/index.html.
An Evening of poetry with Samih al-Qassim
Among the most famous Palestinian poets, Al Qassim’s work is influenced by two primary periods of his life: before and after the Six-Day War. Many of Al Qassim’s poems have been set to music and some have been translated into English.
House of Poetry 8pm.
Walls and Bridges: Puppetry with Karen Konnerth
A fun and interesting programme featuring timeless folk tales from Russia, the Marshall Islands, the USA and China, performed with hand, shadow and tabletop puppets.
Art Centre, 10am-4pm, www.calliopepuppets.com.
The Greatest Street, directed by Waled Aouni
Dance performance evoking a place which has shaped the spirit of a people.
Cultural Hall, 8pm.
Tom Tom Crew
The pulsing energy of hip-hop meets the raw physicality of acrobatics in an astounding mash-up of gravity-defying manoeuvres, astonishing beat-boxing, improbable contortion and dynamic drumming. A show where skill and athleticism meet urban artistry.
Arad Fort, 6pm www.tomtomcrew.com.
Internationally acclaimed Algerian singer-songwriter who blends Western acoustic music with her North African roots to create beautiful sounds with poetic lyrics. Winner of a BBC Radio 3 World Music Award and recently named among 2011’s top ten most influential African and global women’s voices.
Cultural Hall, 8pm www.myspace.com/massisouad / www.demgmt.com.
Maja Soric Solo Exhibition
Jewellery and accessory designer, Maja Soric is a versatile creative artist who produces wearable accessory/sculpture works which mix Eastern and Western cultures. She will also give a talk about jewellery design.
abcad/Al Bareh Art Gallery www.albareh.com.
The Arab Spring: Its Pros and Cons with Mustafa Alfiqi
A prominent diplomat and political writer, Dr Mustafa is the author of 17 books on international affairs, political theory and Middle Eastern policies. Currently he is chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the Egyptian Parliament and an active member of the Supreme Council of Culture, the National Council of Human Rights and the National Council of Women. He also contributes to newspapers, periodicals and foreign publications.
Sheikh Ebrahim Centre, 8pm.
March 17-June 30
Mahmoud Darwich Mural
The author of more than 30 books translated into 40 languages, Darwich was one of the great modern poets and had a fervent following throughout the Arab world. His Mural is an interactive sound art installation based on one of his most famous poems, Mural. Using cutting-edge technology, sound and touch, visitors will be able to experience this great writer’s poetry through recordings of his work in his own voice.
Bin Matar House, Muharraq.
Internationally renowned band, Osiris, is one of the first true progressive rock bands to come out of the Middle East. Comprised of Bahraini musicians, the band is well known for its complex compositions and symphonic melodies blending progressive rock with Bahraini rhythms utilising traditional instruments and percussion.
Arad Fort, 8.30pm, www.osirismusic.com.
March 22-April 1
The 15th Bahrain International Book Fair
The 15th Bahrain International Book Fair is a biennial event that showcases publishers and booksellers in all subject areas under one roof. The book fair has built a sound reputation and has fostered the participation of Arab and foreign publishing houses. The event aims to encourage readers of all levels, interests and ages to experience the joy of reading.
Bahrain Exhibition and Convention Centre, daily 9am-1pm, 4pm-10pm, Friday 4.30pm-10pm, www.bookfair.bh.
Fayha Choir conducted by Maestro Barkev Taslakian
An evening of international and oriental songs, from Lebanese, Iraqi and Egyptian to Palestinian, Bedouin and Andalusian performed acapella by 40 talented young singers.
Cultural Hall, 8pm http://fayhachoir.org
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical
If you’ve ever felt lost, then you’ll know just how Trixie’s favorite stuffed Knuffle Bunny feels when he’s left all alone in the laundromat. Full of adventure, song, and a gigantic dancing laundry, this is a Kennedy Centre production based on six-time Emmy Award winner Mo Willems’ picture book with music by Grammy Award–winning composer Michael Silversher.
Arad Fort, 6pm www.kennedy-center.org/programs/family/ontour/road.cfm.
A creative, interactive musical experience where children learn to appreciate their own musical ability.
Alumni Club, 11am & 4pm www.tpo.it.
Chinese Embroidery Masterpieces Exhibition
Embroidery is said to be a time-honoured traditional art in China and this exhibition features Suzhou embroidery, one of the four major embroidery styles, which is quite unique in its pattern, colour, stitching and exquisite craftsmanship.
Arts Centre, opens 7pm, March 26 onwards 8am-1pm, 4pm-8pm.
Little White Egret Folk Dance Ensemble
The troupe is considered to be one of the top professional folk groups in China presenting the exotic dance arts of some of the country’s ethnic minorities groups.
Cultural Hall, 8pm.
March 26-April 26
I am the other
Where does the self end and the other begin? How can we exclude the other, when we ourselves are ‘the other’ to those around us? Visiting artist Mo Reda collaborates with artists from Bahrain to present a thought-provoking exhibition taking place in an abandoned restaurant.
Al Riwaq Art Space, Adliya www.alriwaqartspace.com.
Is Arabic media capable of achieving or building the truth? With Ibrahim Jaber Ibrahim
A playwright and story teller, Ibrahim has worked in various domains in journalism since the 1980s. Chosen as Secretary for Culture, Media and Publishing in the governing body of the Jordanian Writers Association in 2001, he obtained the Palestine Prize for journalism and media studies for 2011.
Al Zayed House, 8pm.
Shaolin Temple Performance Group
The Cultural and Theatre Chan Shaolin Temple Group was established in 1998 performing around the world and spreading Shaolin kungfu culture. They are known as the ‘Temple’s Most Precious Treasure’ and if you’ve seen one of their breath-taking performances you’ll understand why.
Cultural Hall, 8pm.
March 29-31, April 5-7, 12-14, 19-21
Al Riwaq Art Space and Block 338 community present exciting events reflecting the area’s unique culture including contemporary art, music, film, workshops and culinary delights.
Al Riwaq Art Space Thursdays & Fridays 7pm-10pm, Saturdays 11am-6pm www.alriwaqartspace.com.
The ‘Lodging House’ project is hosting visitors in the heart of Muharraq.
Nuzul Guest House, 7pm.
Naghmashat Imane Homsy
The famed Lebanese qanun virtuoso Imane Homsy began playing at the age of seven. She has studied classical Arabic music and is also influenced by Western music developing her own technique in qanun playing with 10 fingers without abandoning the traditional way of playing using two fingers.
Sheikh Ebrahim Centre, 8pm.
Jody Sperling Time Lapse Dance
The group presents mesmerizing fabric-and-light dance spectacles after the style of Loie Fuller (1862-1928) who created an art form by swirling silk costumes into moving sculptural forms and illuminating them.
Cultural Hall, 8pm www.timelapsedance.com /www.demgmt.
Tap Dogs is a show for everyone. Over 15 years, it has been seen by more than 11 million people, in 37-plus countries and 370 cities and received 11 international awards! Set on a construction site in Australia, Tap Dogs combines high-energy dance, theatrical performance and live music in this fast paced, unstoppable theatrical spectacle.
Arad Fort 8.30pm www.tapdogs.co.uk.
For decades, Grammy-awarded singer Susana Baca has represented Peruvian music to the world, infusing every song with her own understated elegance and adding elements of son cumbia, plena and son jarocho,
to her own Afro-Peruvian style.
Cultural Hall, 8pm www.susanabaca.com.
Due to her body - Naim Talhouk
Talhouk’s ninth poetry collection consists of two parts with the themes of the loss of patriotism and the journey into the light of existence and freedom.
House of Poetry, 8pm
Angelique Kidjo and Asa
African Divas are set to thrill Arad with Angelique Kidjo making a triumphant return to the island after her electrifying 2009 debut in Bahrain. She is joined by singer/songwriter Asa who adds a winning fusion of contemporary soul, pop, reggae and funk.
Arad Fort, 8.30pm, www.asa-official.com/www.kidjo.com.
A Polish group who aim to make Mozart accessible to everyone. “We exist despite the sober formality of great concert halls, despite the boredom of classical musicians’ life, despite fanatic lovers of classical music, despite fans of rock, rap or pop who are afraid of classical music. “We treat our Muse with a humorous irony and we’re sure, she will have nothing against it!”
Cultural Hall, 8pm www.mozartgroup.net.
April 15-May 6
The Sound of the Universe by Nasser Soumi
In this new collection the artist was inspired by the universe and its perpetual movement. Nasser explains: “Driven by my intuition, I express myself through my art in order to understand my being and comprehend the universe.”
Albareh Art Gallery www.albareh.com.
The positioning of Arab intellectuals in the different intellectual currents with Mohamed Ali Farhat
Mohamed Ali Farhat was born Sidon in Lebanon in 1945. He is a play write, poet and a journalist who has worked on publications in both Lebanon and London where he is currently with an Al Wasat magazine.
Sheikh Ebrahim Centre, 8pm.