Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2014 Opens Today

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2014 Opens Today

The highly anticipated Liverpool Arab Arts Festival returns to the city this week, opening on Saturday 7 June at the Bluecoat for the start of an impressive 9 day long festival. Now in its 13th year, the festival runs from today, 7-15 June bringing a delightful array of events from some of the finest Arabic artists the world has to offer.

Female Arabian Flamenco jazz singer Farah Siraj headlines this year's festival in what is her only UK show this year. A music superstar in the Arab world and many European countries, Farah will be performing in the impressive Concert Room of Liverpool's St George's Hall on Sunday 8 June as she brings to the city an eclectic mix of Middle Eastern music, flamenco, jazz, bossa and pop, with lyrics in Arabic, Spanish and English.

The Big Saturday launches the festival on Sat 7 June at The Bluecoat. A hugely enjoyable experience for the whole family, this free event is an exciting day of music, food, culture and entertainment, including music from DJ Funky Pharaoh, Amira Kheir, The Al Awadhel Band and Maya Yousseff. Curator of the Choose Your Own Adventure graphic design poster exhibition which runs throughout the festival, Danah Abdulla, will also be giving guided tours around the exhibition itself.

Saturday evening the Bluecoat will screen the first of 6 films of this year's festival. El Gusto is a feel good documentary about a group of musicians coming together, a simple story that transcends cultural boundaries and cultivates a strong sense of hope. Other films throughout the festival include Crop and Winter of Discontent, a double bill at Fact on Mon 9 June introduced by political academic Reem Abu-el-fadl and followed by a post film discussion. Then on Wed 11 June controversial and action packed film Omar is screened at Fact. When I Saw You tells the story of Talek as he seeks a way out of a refugee camp and is screened at the Bluecoat on Fri 13 June and the Oscar nominated Wadjda completes the film line up which is shown at the Bluecoat on Sat 14 June.

Theatre and dance also has a strong presence throughout this year's festival with some truly gripping and inspiring pieces commencing on Sun 8 June, as award winning playwright Hassan Abdulrazzak presents an exclusive reading of scenes from his new play A Fire Blazing Brightly. Experience the magic of Middle Eastern dance at its finest on Tue 10 June as Funoon Al Arabiya come together to present joyful and colourful folkloric music and dance in Funoon Wa Alwane at the Unity Theatre. Then Swivel Theatre Company present a series of gripping new plays centring on Arab women in revolution in Waiting for Summer at the Unity on Wed 11 and Thu 12 June and finally, after their sell-out show last year, Diwan are back with a new show Sarmada at the Bluecoat on Saturday 14 June, based on Fadi Azzam's novel which was long-listed for the Arabic Booker Prize in 2011.