Bryant Park Picnic Performances

Habibi Festival:

Firas Zreik Trio

Esraa Warda and The Châab Lab

Yacine Boularès’s AJOYO

Friday, August 26 at 7pm

First-Come, First-Served Entry

All Bryant Park Picnic Performances Are FREE

Bryant Park Picnic Performances presented by Bank of America continues on August 26 with a summer pop-up edition of Habibi Festival, a new NYC celebration of contemporary and traditional musics of the SWANA (South West Asian and North African) region at Bryant Park. The show features performances from three different artists: Palestinian Kanun player and composer Firas Zreik and his trio; traditional Algerian/Moroccan music and dance with artist Esraa Warda and The Châab Lab; and AJOYO, a blend of traditional African, jazz, and soul music led by French-Tunisian saxophonist and composer Yacine Boularès. This event is presented in collaboration with Joe’s Pub, an independent, non-profit music venue within the Public Theater dedicated to supporting performing artists at every stage of their careers.

Attendees may bring their own food or purchase from on-site food and beverage vendors near the Lawn. At most performances, attendees can purchase food from a rotating line-up of local NYC vendors curated by Hester Street Fair. COVID-19 vaccinations and masks are not currently required but Bryant Park will continue to monitor and follow updated New York City and New York State COVID-19 guidelines throughout the summer as necessary.

The 2022 Picnic Performances season is possible due to the generous support of Bank of America. “Bank of America is a long-standing supporter of the arts because we believe that a thriving arts and cultural community benefits both society and the economy,” said José Tavarez, President, Bank of America New York City. “So we are thrilled to once again sponsor Picnic Performances and combine our commitment to the arts with our partnership with Bryant Park. Together we’re helping New York City’s iconic cultural scene to thrive, while promoting green spaces and providing free access to live New York City music, dance and theater.”

Performance Details

Friday, August 26 at 7PM

Habibi Festival

Firas Zreik Trio, Esraa Warda and The Châab Lab, and Yacine Boularès’s AJOYO

AJOYO is the vision of multi-reed player Yacine Boularès, a mystic brew blending African tradition, jazz and soul. AJOYO chants in the name of Tony Allen, Oum Khalsoum, Charlie Parker and Donnie Hathaway. Originally from Tunisia, Yacine Boularès has played sax, composed and arranged music for Cameroonian musicians such as former Fela Kuti drummer Jojo Kuo, the late Martino Atangana, the Haitian Kompa legends Tabou Combo, and for Placido Domingo’s Encanto Del Mar. The project originated in these encounters and influences, as Boularès assembled a band that reconciles his North African and Western heritages. AJOYO celebrates life, love and justice through music: music for the heart, the mind and the body, the kind that is soulful, sophisticated and that makes people want to dance.

Esraa Warda is New York’s emerging dance artist and educator specializing in Algerian and Moroccan traditional dance forms. A child of the Algerian diaspora, Warda is a cultural warrior advocating for the representation and preservation of North African, women-led dance traditions and the decolonization of euro-centricity, orientalism, and patriarchy in dance. Featured in VOGUE Arabia, Warda “takes Algerian dance from relative obscurity to the limelight … In a society focused on all things svelte, there is a charm in seeing a woman of Esraa’s size unabashedly, fiercely, and proudly …” Her dance workshops and lectures have trail-blazed their way to educational institutions such as Cornell University, Wellesley College, King’s College (London), and University of Ottawa. She performs with notable North African women’s groups such as Bnat el Houariyat (Marrakech) and often performs internationally in New York, Paris, Belgium, Casablanca, and London.

Firas Zreik is a Palestinian Kanun player, composer, arranger snd educator based in New York City. He has worked, recorded & performed with international artists from the highest caliber, such as Roger Waters, Shankar Mahadevan, Shreya Ghoshal, Simon Shaheen, Bassam Saba, Amal Murkus, Fabrizio Cassol, Amir Al-Saffar, Aynur Dogan, Raghu Dixit, Marwan Khoury, Elias Karam, Abeer Nehme and many more. In addition, he performed all over the United States, Europe and the Middle East, both as a Kanun player and as a musical director in some of the most prestigious venues and festivals in the world, such as Boston Symphony Hall, Lincoln Center, Carthage International Festival, Savannah Music Festival, Institut du Monde Arabe, Teatro Mediterraneo, and many more. Zreik is the lead Kanun player and soloist for The National Arab Orchestra, which is among the finest worldwide in that genre. He’s also the lead Kanun player for legendary Oud virtuoso Simon Shaheen, as well as the musical director of Amal Murkus’s band, which he also recorded on her latest album, in addition to producing many of her recent songs. Zreik is an ambassador of Medinea Artists Network, a prestigious European music network that connects together highly acclaimed young musicians from all over the Mediterranean. As an educator, Zreik has given workshops and masterclasses at Tufts University, NYU, Berklee College of Music, The Arabic Music Retreat, Circle for World Arts and many more. He has so far released two original singles, one EP, and he’s currently upon releasing a full original album with his band.

Complete Bryant Park Picnic Performances

Line Listings


July 28: Ailey II Performance and Ailey Extension Dance Class

July 29: Carnegie Hall Citywide: The Hot Sardines Featuring Nellie McKay


August 5: Greenwich House Music School: Mireya and Alea

August 12: New York City Opera: La traviata

August 19: Asian American Arts Alliance: Rafiq Bhatia and Ian Chang

August 26: Habibi Festival: Firas Zreik Trio, Esraa Warda & The Châab Lab, & Yacine Boularès’ AJOYO

August 29: The Town Hall: Eighth Blackbird Celebrates John Cage


September 2: New York City Opera: Lucia di Lammermoor

September 8: Steinway Artists Aaron Diehl and Orrin Evans

September 9: Programming TBA

September 16: Accordion Festival: Heart of Afghanistan and More

September 17: American Symphony Orchestra

About Bryant Park Corporation

Bryant Park Corporation (BPC), a private not-for-profit company, was founded in 1980 to renovate, finance and operate Bryant Park in New York City. BPC is funded by income from events, concessions, and corporate sponsors, as well as an assessment on neighboring properties, and does not accept government or philanthropic monies. In addition to providing security, sanitation, and horticultural services, BPC offers restaurants, food kiosks, world-class restrooms, and a wide range of free events throughout the year. The Midtown Manhattan park is visited by more than 12 million people each year and is one of the busiest public spaces in the world. BPC’s website,, offers more detailed information and a schedule of upcoming events.

About Joe’s Pub

JOE’S PUB, a program of the Public Theater, was named for Public Theater founder Joseph Papp. Since it opened in 1998, Joe’s Pub has played a vital role in The Public’s mission of supporting artists at all stages of their careers with an intimate space to perform and develop new work. Joe’s Pub presents the best in live music and performance nightly, continuing its commitment to diversity, production values, community, and artistic freedom. In addition to one-night-only concerts and multi-night engagements, Joe’s Pub is home to the annual Habibi Festival, which hosts artists representing contemporary and traditional music of the SWANA (Southwest Asia/North Africa) region, and The Vanguard Award & Residency, a yearlong curation series that celebrates the career, and community, of a prolific and influential artist—including Nona Hendryx, Judy Collins, Laurie Anderson, and Barbara Maier Gustern. With its intimate atmosphere and superior acoustics, Joe’s Pub presents over 700 shows featuring artists from all over the world and hosts over 100,000 audience members annually. Beyond public performances, Joe’s Pub also leads artist development programs like New York Voices, a commissioning program that helps musicians develop new performance projects, and Joe’s Pub Working Group, an artist-led development and collaboration cohort. Current commissioned artists include Daniel J. Watts & Nick Blaemire, Liza Paul & Bahia Watson, Sunny Jain, Vuyo Sotashe & Chris Pattishall, and treya lam. Joe’s Pub is supported in part by an American Rescue Plan Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support general operating expenses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Location and Subway Directions:

Bryant Park is situated behind the New York Public Library in midtown Manhattan, between 40th and 42nd Streets & Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Take the B, D, F, or M train to 42nd Street/Bryant Park; or, take the 7 train to 5th Avenue.