Written and compiled by Christina Hazboun (MARSM)

The cover art for MARSM's playlist #37
MARSM playlist #37 celebrating 10 years of working with Shubbak Festival

This year Shubbak Festival celebrates its 10 year anniversary. Since its early days MARSM has had the pleasure and honour to collaborate with Shubbak, producing and collaborating on dozens of events as part of their exciting programme.

Despite all the present challenges and restrictions, we are proud to announce that the show goes on. In this Shubbak + MARSM playlist we highlight not only the artists we're bringing to Shubbak Festival 2021, but we also some of the brilliant artists with whom we’ve had the pleasure of working with during past festival editions.

Beginning with our brand new Shubbak Festival commission, take a listen to The Synaptik & Felukah, two of the most sought after hip-hop, rap and trap talents from the region. The two rap stars collaborated to produce Nefsi, a proclamation of love for the self and the liberation of wishes and desires and will be releasing a further single later this summer. 

Next up is an acoustic performance by the renowned Palestinian oud player Adnan Joubran. The piece takes us back to his album Borders Behind as we get a taste of the singles I Wish I Were A Tree and Beat The Dream from his 2014 performance at Cafe De La Danse in Paris. 

Led by composer and Ney soloist Louai Alhenawi, the London Syrian Ensemble is a stunning collective of eight musicians and graduates from Syria’s renowned Damascus Conservatoire. They will be debuting their latest project Sounds of Syria at Kings Place on 7th July. You can listen to a performance by the ensemble leader Louai Alhenawi who delights listeners with an oud and tar (single-headed frame drum) performance at London’s St. Ethleburga’s. 

The playlist then moves on to revisit some of the wonderful acts we have welcomed to London during Shubbak’s 2017 and 2019 editions.  The playlist weaves between the Moroccan rooted Kabareh Cheikhats whose take on the aita, or lamenting singing style of Morocco, breaks gender boundaries. Their song Derni Hilal is a beautiful tribute to Moroccan women who suffered a particularly harrowing experience during the colonial era and is an outcome of a deep desire to preserve local culture. 

Tunisian producer and percussionist Nuri brings poly-rhythmic grooves, deep bass and African futurism into the mix, while Love and Revenge’s Batwannes Bik originally sung by the Algerian-Lebanese Warda Al-Jazairia fuses the past with the presence. The live music and video performance by musician Wael Koudaih (Rayess Bek) and video artist Randa Mirza (La Mirza) revisits the old popular songs and Egyptian movies from the golden era of Cairo’s Studio Misr. 

The playlist also includes Maak Mahma Taal - معاك مهما طال طريقك by Egypt’s premier rock band Cairokee, as well as Rima by Syrian-German duo Shkoon, in collaboration with El-Far3i. Enjoy listening through the works of Lebanese jazz and afro-Tarab artist Tarek Yamani, the Sudanese singer and songwriter/percussionist Rasha, the neo-Nubian grooves of Hawidro, the more eclectic sounds by composer and multi-instrumentalist Cosmic Analog Ensemble, as well as Lebanon’s Ernesto Chahoud or Khansa’s Khabberni Keef. Do not miss Neshama who produced an electro-folk hybrid with their acid-style music based on Syrian Popular songs.

Experience sounds from all corners of the Arabic-speaking world reflecting on the regional diversity of styles, music and visual identities, all of which has been brought to London as a result of the fruitful and ongoing collaboration between MARSM and Shubbak.

Explore Shubbak Festival 2021 whole music programme.