The sixth edition of the “Drums Dialogue for Peace” international festival for drums and traditional arts is running at Bier Youssef theatre in the 12th century Saladin Citadel in Cairo from 20 to 26 April. The festival, sponsored by Egypt’s Ministry of Culture, has drawn more than 5,000 spectators.
This year’s festival boasts the participation of a large number 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.
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 opening ceremony was attended by all the participating drum groups, as well as Intesar Abdel-Fattah, head and founder of the festival, and Fathi Abdel-Wahab, head of the Cultural Development Fund, in addition to foreign ambassadors and media figures.
Mr Abdel-Fattah 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.
24 April 2018