The sixth edition of the “Drums Dialogue for Peace” international festival for drums and traditional arts, which ran at Bier Youssef theatre in the 12th century Saladin Citadel in Cairo from 20 to 26 April, closed in a ceremony attended by a full house enthusiastic audience thrilled with the performances.
The festival, sponsored by Egypt’s Ministry of Culture, drew more than 5,000 spectators, and boasted the participation of drum groups from all over the world: China, Tunisia, Thailand, Sudan, Poland, Sri Lanka, Algeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Maldives, Greece, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Palestine, and Egypt. Sri Lanka was chosen as this edition’s guest of honour.
Intesar Abdel-Fattah, head and founder of the festival, said that this year’s festival celebrates the 55th anniversary of the African Unity Organisation Foundation (later changed to the African Federation), which was established in 1963. “Africa is by all means the home of drums,” he remarked.
The Egyptian groups participating include the Nubian Drums and Folk Instruments, al-Arish Group for Folk Arts, Hassaballah Band Cairo in One Thousand Years, Port Said Group for Folk Arts, Alexandria’s al-Tazawoq al-Fany Folk Arts, Sohag Folk Band, Toshka Group for National Folk Arts, and al-Sharqiya Band for Folk Arts, in addition to other troupes affiliated with the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The performance by the veteran Hassaballah Band saw enthusiastic interaction by the audience who cheerfully swayed to the drums amid joyful ululation.
The closing ceremony saw the huge audience participate enthusiastically, joining with gusto in the singing and dancing. The festival honoured a number of cultural figures related to Africa and Sri Lanka, including the Nubian novelist Haggag Adol.
Mr Abdel-Fattah concluded by thanking the audience which, he said, was a pivotal partner in the festival, and stressing that what people all over the world need today is an end to violence, respect of difference, and acceptance of the other. The festival, he said, promotes all that in a spirit of good cheer, hope, and joy.
29 April 2018