Kuwaiti playwright and theater director Sulayman al-Bassam adapts Shakespearean plays to the modern Arab context to explore issues of religion and society in the contemporary Gulf. Art Beat spoke with al-Bassam on the phone from Brooklyn about the effect of the Arab Spring on his play and on art across the Arab world.
Musician Fathy Salama started playing piano in Cairo jazz clubs at age 13, and has since been recognized for his combinations of traditional Arab music and jazz, winning a 2005 Grammy award for his collaboration with Youssou N’Dour on the “Egypt” album. Salama discusses his music and participation in the Arabesque festival. Continue reading
In another in our series about the Kennedy Center’s Arabesque art festival, Jeffrey Brown profiles Lebanese folk singer Marcel Khalife, who for nearly 40 years has been rousing audiences with songs about love and strife, politics and injustice. Continue reading