Wish You Were Here: AFAC Summer Festival 2019 Opens in Berlin
10 Jul 2019

The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture – AFAC has the pleasure to invite you to the third edition of AFAC Summer Festival “Wish You Were Here”, taking place from July 23 to 26, 2019 at the Silent Green Kulturquartier in Berlin. The festival boasts a rich program of concerts and performances from across the Arab region, focusing this year on music and performances.

The Festival opens with “Ghosts of Meaning”, a performative manifesto and new production by Tunisian visual artist Mohamedali Ltaief involving a Tunisian and Palestinian cast, followed by a concert by German-Lebanese percussion trio “SAWT OUT”, featuring Mazen Kerbaj (trumpet), Burkhard Beins (percussion) and Michael Vorfeld (percussion), who will launch their first album during the festival. A panoply of concerts and performances follow on July 24, 25 and 26 including: “The Second Copy: I Like This Title” conceptualized and choreographed by Youness Atbane; the turntable solo concert “Archeophony” by Raed Yassin; the “Ahajeez Jazz Experiment” concert bringing together Tareq Rantisi (percussions, composition, arrangement), Yousif Yasseen (guitar, vocals), José Soto (electric piano), Han Beyli (electric bass), and Alex Johnson (saxophone); “Love and Revenge”, a contemporary electro-pop musical and visual performance by Randa Mirza and Wael Koudaih; and a closing concert by N3rdistan featuring Widad Broco, Walid Benselim, Nidhal Jaoua, and Khalil Hentati.

“Wish you Were Here” is organized in the framework of AFAC’s Arab European Creative Platform (AECP), and is held in collaboration with FLAX (Foreign Local Artist Xchange).


Program in Brief

JULY 23
20:00 Performance: GHOSTS OF MEANING
20:30 BREAK
21:00 Concert: SAWT OUT

JULY 24
20:00 Performance: THE SECOND COPY, I LIKE THIS TITLE
20:30 BREAK
21:00 Concert: ARCHEOPHONY

JULY 25
20:00 Concert: AHAJEEZ JAZZ EXPERIMENT

JULY 26
19:30 Performance: LOVE & REVENGE
20:15 BREAK
21:00 Concert: N3RDISTAN


Full Program

JULY 23

20:00 Performance: GHOSTS OF MEANING
Performative manifesto by Mohamedali Ltaief

Ghosts of Meaning is a conceptual journey between transcending gender norms and neo-orientalist aesthetics. It examines stereotypes between islamophobia and self-orientallizing and asks, where does the Arab queer stand today amidst the globalized markets and commodified identities? It is a performative manifesto of a Trans-Orientalist Aesthetic expressed through live sound and dance.

Concept, Text, Stage Design, Direction: Mohamedali Ltaief
With Text Contribution: Majd Mastoura
Performance: Rima Baransi, Faris Amin, Majd Mastoura
Live Music: Faris Amin
Sound Artist: Omar Karray
Commissioned by HAU Berlin. Theater Hebbel am Ufer for Manifestos for Queer Futures.
A project by HAU Hebbel am Ufer.
Supported within the framework of the Alliance of International Production Houses by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. Premiered at The Present Is Not Enough Festival (HAU2 Berlin) in June 2019.

21:00 Concert: SAWT OUT

In Sawt Out, Mazen Kerbaj, a Lebanese visual artist and graphic artist, also known as one of the initiators and key figures of the Beirut experimental and improvised music scene, collaborates with percussionists Michael Vorfeld and Burkhard Beins, both of them protagonists of the Berlin Echtzeitmusik, who have worked together in various formations over the past 15 years, including the trio Misiiki with Dirk Marwedel, the cross-culture ensemble Hanoi Berlin, Lotte Anker's Electric Habitat, and most recently for their audio-visual performance Klirrfaktor. The concert marks the release of their first album, also titled Sawt Out.

Burkhard Beins (percussion)
Mazen Kerbaj (trumpet)
Michael Vorfeld (percussion)

JULY 24

20:00 Performance: THE SECOND COPY, I LIKE THIS TITLE
Conceptualized and choreographed by Youness Atbane

The starting point for The Second Copy: I Like this Title was to explore how ideas and aesthetics bear their influence and build a performative dialogue, specifically around the notion of reproduction, the exhaustion of the copy and its lingering traces in the work. How can an action be repeated without being a copy? Adaptation, rewriting, rebuilding, diversion, reinterpretation are choices of reformulation that give legitimacy to the act of copying following the principle of cause and effect.

21:00 Concert: ARCHEOPHONY

Archeophony is a turntable solo by Raed Yassin created from live mixes of rare recordings of ethnic music from around the Middle East, North and West Africa, South and South East Asia which are sampled alongside drum machines, synthesizers and electronics. The work acts as an archeological document of sound as well as a new experimental conductor of musical history.

JULY 25

20:00 Concert: AHAJEEZ JAZZ EXPERIMENT

Inspired from complex rhythmic traditions of Sawt and Bahri music in Kuwait, Ahajeez revisits songs from the repertory of folklore, fusing them with world jazz in contemporary arrangements with western instruments, harmonies, and rhythmic concepts. The concert brings together Tareq Rantisi (percussions, composition, arrangement), Yousif Yasseen (guitar, vocals), José Soto (electric piano), Han Beyli (electric bass), Alex Johnson (saxophone).

JULY 26

19:30 Performance: LOVE & REVENGE

A contemporary electro-pop musical and visual performance by Wael Koudaih and Randa Mirza that revisits the timeless golden era of Egyptian cinema, Love & Revenge pays tribute to the kitsch idols of an Arab world passionate in its dramas and melodramas. Borrowing its title from the 1944 musical melodrama Love and Revenge (in Arabic Gharam wa Intiqam) that cast Asmahan, a diva of film and song, and featured the Egyptian-Viennese waltz turned classic song Nights of Enchantment in Vienna (Layali al-Uns fi Vienna), the performance is embedded in the dramaturgies of the repertory of classics films, replete with motifs of lovers quarrels, redemption, dramas of abusive marriages and tragic destinies. It retells in hybrid performative form, stories of stars including Kadhem Saher (Iraq), Souad Hosni (Egypt), and Sabah (Lebanon), as well as stars from Cairo’s legendary film studio, Studio Misr, singing idols Leila Mourad, Farid el-Atrache, Asmahan and Oum Kalthoum, and queens of oriental dance, Samia Gamal and Taheya Carioca. Wael Koudeih’s remixes and Randa Mirza's visuals are joined by the bass of Julien Perraudeau and the electric oud of Mehdi Haddab.

Concept: Randa Mirza (La Mirza) et Wael Koudaih (Rayess Bek)
Music Composition: Wael Koudaih (Rayess Bek) on Machines; Mehdi Haddab: Electric Oud; Julien Perraudeau: Keyboards Video Composition: Randa Mirza (La Mirza)
Co-produced by: La Dynamo de Banlieues Bleues and Le Festival Paris Quartier d'Eté.
This production was made possible through Culture Ressource's Production awards program, with support from Arcadi Île-de-France/Dispositif d’accompagnements and AFAC.

21:00 Concert: N3RDISTAN

Welcome to the astonishing land of N3rdistan! Guided by mystical tunes, unsettling text and compelling rimes, led by the charismatic Walid Benselim, N3rdistan elaborates a resolutely bold and unusual fusion between rock, trip-hop, electro, oriental-beat with world influences. The quartet mixes with ease digital power, traditional Arabic poetry (Mahmoud Darwish, Gibran Khalil, Nizar Qabbani, Nazek El Malaeka), ancestral song, intermingling here and there with melodies of a qanun and African keys. Without falling into the trap of ethnic electro, their fiery sonification is the engine that propels questions on the meaning of life or digital exile.

Widad Broco (machines, vocals and territorial project studies)
Walead Ben Selim (vocals, machines, hairdressing, card divination)
Nidhal Jaoua (qanun, physionomist)
Khalil Hentati (keyboards, filmmaker)


The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture - AFAC
The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture - AFAC was established in 2007 by cultural lobbyists as an independent initiative that funds individuals and organizations in the fields of cinema, performing arts, literature, music and visual arts while facilitating cultural exchange, research and cooperation across the Arab world and globally. Since its inception it has become internationally and regionally recognized, working with a range of reputable institutional partners, and has issued around 1,000 grants to date with about 150 new grants per year. AFAC is registered in Switzerland with headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon.

The Arab European Creative Platform - AECP
The Arab European Creative Platform (AECP) is a pilot multi-disciplinary special program of events, showcases, conferences and workshops that aims to address alarming realities in Europe, namely the growing ranks of displaced creative talents, and the rise of xenophobic and reactionary movements. The three-year program aspires to explore innovative and constructive actions, commissions and productions, because we are confident that establishing a platform that probes and explores imagination and expression, engages the creative and artistic communities from both Europe and the Arab world, holds keys to allaying fearful minds and hearts and shifting perceptions.
The idea is not only to challenge terms of discourse and perceptions by providing a platform to Arab intellectuals and artists in Europe, but also to enable genuine contact and creative collaborations between Arab and European artists. Moreover, building on the success of AFAC’s public showcases, and responding to the difficulty Arab artists face with the circulation, visibility and dissemination of their work, the AECP is grounded in structured partnership with European institutions and funders to co-produce and co-present each event in the proposed program.

FLAX – Foreign Local Artistic Xchange. A Network for Cultural Collaboration
FLAX is a network for cultural networking and collaboration, that promotes cultural exchange and cooperation for local and recently arrived cultural workers, artists and institutions in Germany. FLAX is open and accessible to all and does not exclude on the basis of national or ethnic affiliation, nor legal status It supports and organizes interdisciplinary and intercultural artistic projects. It also supports artists in developing their individual artistic practice, accessing university education, obtaining scholarships, residencies, workshops and furthering their cultural education. One of its strongest initiatives is a mentoring program established for artists and cultural managers, who are recently arrived in Germany from different parts of the world. A strong network presents a unique opportunity to nurture individual artistic growth and enable creativity and intercultural competency by bringing together people from different backgrounds and disciplines.