Bnat El Houariyat and Esraa Warda: Courtesy of the Artist
JOE’S PUB ANNOUNCES ITS SECOND ANNUAL HABIBI FESTIVAL 2022 LINEUP FROM OCTOBER 11-15
FESTIVAL OF SOUTHWEST ASIAN & NORTH AFRICAN MUSIC FEATURING NOURA MINT SEYMALI, BEDOUIN BURGER, AND THE US DEBUTS OF BNAT EL HOUARIYAT & ESRAA WARDA AND YACINE BOULARES’ NIGHT IN TUNISIA
HABIBI FESTIVAL & JOE’S PUB TO BRING AJOYO, ESRAA WARDA & THE CHAAB LAB, FIRAS ZREIK & MALIKA ZARRA TO BRYANT PARK’S SUMMER CONCERT SERIES, AUGUST 26
Joe’s Pub announces the Habibi Festival’s full lineup of artists for its second annual edition, which will take place over five nights, October 11-15. The festival made its sold-out four-night debut at the Pub in 2021. This October, Habibi Festival will bring audiences sounds of Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Palestine, Lebanon, and more. Co-founded and curated by musician Yacine Boulares, producer Meera Dugal, and Joe’s Pub Director Alex Knowlton, the festival immerses New Yorkers in the music of the living rooms, radios, and dance clubs of the Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) region. “We’re thrilled to have the trailblazing Habibi Festival in our Fall Season after its phenomenal debut in 2021,” says Knowlton. Tickets are on sale now at joespub.com.
“This year’s artists are all giving new life and context to ancestral ceremonial traditions, whether it’s HAT using traditional musician samples in his DJ set, or Noura Mint Seymali bringing psychedelic rock to the griot tradition” notes Boulares. Seymali, the preeminent torchbearer of the Moorish Griot tradition and step-daughter of the legendary Dimi Mint Abba, will open up the festival alongside Algerian dancer Esraa Warda who returns to Habibi Festival with her collaborator, Khadija El Warzazia, a trailblazer in Moroccan music and one of the first women to publicly perform gnawa music, a tradition historically dominated by men. With her all-women vocal and percussion ensemble Bnat El Houariyat, El Warzazia adds her Marrakech flavor to both the saint-praising Houara music of Southwest Morocco primarily reserved for women-only gatherings and Chaabi, the country’s beloved “popular” music.
“Kicking off the festival with a double header of Noura Mint Seymali and Bnat El Houariyat with Esraa Warda is going to send shockwaves across New York – these two powerhouse ensembles are taking traditional musics to new, ecstatic heights. We’re excited New York audiences are omnivorous with their music tastes and hope they enjoy finding connections with and between the spectrum of ancient to contemporary music in this year’s lineup” says Dugal. Highlighting the local diaspora community in NYC is also key to the festival. Opening up Bnat El Houariyat’s set on Oct 12 is New York-based, Iraqi singer Zahra Alzubaidi, a proponent of the country’s southern musical styles as well as Iraqi maqam.
Joining Bnat El Houariyat in their US premiere is Night in Tunisia, a project by Boulares that brings together a supergroup of artists from across the geographical and musical traditions of Tunisia, from Stambeli to Hip Hop. “What if Dizzy had stayed more than “a night” in Tunisia lodged in barracks during WWII? What if he were to hang out in Tunisia right now in 2022? He might hear ancient traditions such as Maalouf, Stambeli, and an immense rhythmic culture that has shaped Tunisian rappers, Jazz musicians, and traditional musicians alike. That is the ethos of this project: bringing “A Night in Tunisia” home, ” shares Boulares.
Young Palestinian kanun player, Firas Zreik, holds down the classical music side of the spectrum in the festival at a young age became the first ever soloist and kanun player for the National Arab Orchestra. Tastes of the region’s underground music scene come from Lebanese/Syrian duo Bedouin Burger who combine electronic beats of the Levant alongside Arabic poetry and Hatim Belyamani aka HAT, a Moroccan electronic artist and founder of Remix ⟷ Culture who remixes traditional music and video from across the world in an audiovisual journey spanning everything from Amazigh folk songs to Afro-Indigenous Brazilian processional music. Additionally, each performance will be accompanied by a conversation with the artist in collaboration with Afikra, a global organization that aims to promote understanding of the diversity and richness of cultures and histories of the Arab world.
Dugal said, “Whether you’re from these cultures or not, you can feel the history in the music, it’s a visceral experience. When it’s hard to find footing in a world that is constantly in flux, it’s grounding and humbling to experience a sound that is hundreds of years in the making. It’s also beautiful to watch artists bring a playfulness to their torchbearer status – it reminds us that we’re part of a long continuum of creativity and beauty that extends well beyond this moment.”
New Yorkers can get a taste of the Habibi Festival ethos this summer in a pop-up concert as part of Bryant Park’s summer concert series (August 26). Featured artists include Firas Zreik and his trio, Esraa Warda & The Châab Lab, and Yacine Boulares’s AJOYO with special guest, award-winning Moroccan singer Malika Zarra.
HABIBI FESTIVAL 2022 SCHEDULE – October 11-15, 2022 @ 7:00pm EST
Night 1 | October 11, 2022: Noura Mint Seymali + Bnat el Houariyat & Esraa Warda
Night 2 | October 12, 2022: Bnat el Houariyat & Esraa Warda + Zahra Alzubaidi
Night 3 | October 13, 2022: Yacine Boulares’s Night in Tunisia + Firas Zreik
Night 4 | October 14, 2022: HAT + Yacine Boulares’s Night in Tunisia + Nour Harkati
Night 5 | October 15, 2022: Noura Mint Seymali + Bedouin Burger
Our audience policy requires complete COVID-19 vaccination by the date of attendance for access into the facility, theaters, and restaurant. Please read the full policy here.
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.
About Habibi Festival
Created with the goal of giving a snapshot of contemporary and traditional musics of the South West Asia North Africa (SWANA) region, Habibi Festival aims to take listeners on a journey of the sounds wafting through the airwaves and living rooms of cities spanning Marrakech to Baghdad. This new performing arts festival is a collaboration between the Director of Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater Alex Knowlton, artist/composer/curator Yacine Boulares, and curator/producer Meera Dugal who are bonded by the goal of creating more joyful spaces for performance, conversation, and storytelling from this part of the world. Learn more at www.habibi-festival.com.
Habibi Festival is made possible with the support of partners Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, The Center for Cultural Vibrancy, Artistic Freedom Initiative, Tamizdat, Villa Albertine, and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.
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