‘Hayy’ doubles Ramadan nights
BY CHITRA KALYANI
The second star of the Ramadan nights to follow on Aug. 2 is Palestinian singer Rim Banna. Political to the core, Banna’s music is a means of cultural self-assertion. Focusing on reviving children’s songs from early on in her career, Banna participated in a production with other artists singing traditional lullabies, also translated to English, in the album titled “Lullabies from the Axis of Evil.” More recently, Banna has featured on the feel-good post-revolution Quincy Jones production “Bokra” (Tomorrow).
What distinguishes her sound is the assertion of a political and cultural identity, an assertion of being Palestinian.
This year’s spot for home-grown talent in Al-Mawred’s Ramadan line-up is deservedly taken by Dina El-Wedidi, playing on Aug. 3. El-Wedidi’s unfettered voice sways as confidently into songs that criticize what is forbidden in “El- Haram” as into a bluesy muse over loneliness in “Wehda.”
Again, rightfully so, El-Wedidi was just recently found singing her Egyptian Bossa Nova alongside Brazilian Gilberto Gil at the Back2Black Festival celebrating African-Brazilian music.
The card trumping the already impressive line-up that in the weekend finale is none other than Lebanese artiste Yasmine Hamdan aka Y.A.S. In a happy coincidence, last month saw Hamdan’s former partner in the renowned underground act Soapkills, Zeid Hamdan, performing at Darb 1718 with Maryam Saleh.
Yasmine went on to perform solo starting from 2006 following the famed encounter with the man that also produced Madonna’s albums, Mirwais Ahmadzaï. Hamdan released her first solo album “Arabology” in 2009 under the label of Universal Music. Her music still bears traces of the indelible electro-trance style of Soapkills.
Akl revealed that the artist was also on tour with her new self-titled album. Of all the featured acts in the Hayy program, Hamdan, slated for Aug. 9-10, is expected to raise most controversy, said Akl. –The Egypt Monocle