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Tips from the culture desk: A culture revival mid-Ramadan

Despite the heat wave, Ramadan full bellies and diplomatic woes, Cairo’s culture scene isn’t calming down. If anything it’s picking up speed with a week full of live performances all worth catching, between music and theater, as well as a talk on national identity.

Kalil and Demna storytelling tour – Starts Saturday

Mahatat for Contemporary Art will be bringing a live performance of the traditional Arabic fable Kalila and Demna to Cairo and five other governorates. Hussam Hilali’s story of two anthropomorphic jackals will be performed live with music by Naglaa Younis and Ahmed Shokry, and lighting design by Omar Madkour.

9.30 pm on June 10. The tour’s first performance will take place at Ezbet Khairallah, Old Cairo. The rest of the tour will take place from Sunday till Thursday in Ismailia, Port Said, Damietta, Mansoura and Abo Mangoug-Beheira. More info here.

Above Everyone: A talk by Reem Naguib – Sunday

As part of the Contemporary Image Collective’s exhibition Imagined Life in a Museum Vitrine, researcher and photographer Reem Naguib will present a talk on Egyptian nationalism across different eras, from the official, to the popular narrative perspectives.

9 pm, June 11 at CIC, 22 Abdel-Khalek Tharwat, 4th floor, downtown Cairo. Free entry but limited seating. More information here.

Hayy Festival – Sunday & Wednesday

Geneina theatre’s Hayy Festival continues this week, bringing various genres of regional music to Cairo this Ramadan. This Sunday, Shahira Kamal’s newly formed band will open the stage for Tunisian musician Heydar Hamdi. Both acts involve lyrics derived from their surrounding environments that access the personal and the political. On Wednesday, Aqsa al-Wasat jazz band will open for Moroccan fusion performer Malika Zarra.

9.30pm, June 11 and 14 at Geneina Theatre, Azhar Park, Salah Salem Road, Cairo. Price: LE30 (excluding park entrance of LE20). Tickets available at More information here.

Cinema 30 play – Thursday & Friday

Mounir Farid returns to Egypt in 1930 after studying filmmaking in Paris to make Egypt’s first film in the Egyptian countryside. The play Cinema 30 uses lighting, art direction and props to create a  black and white-like setting for the performance around this fake history of cinema. Performed by Ain Shams University’s Faculty of Commerce theater troupe, the play won the university theater competition this May.

9 pm on June 15 and 16 at Hosapeer Theater, 56 Teraa Boulaqia street, Behind Sekka Hadid Hospital, Cairo. Tickets at the door:LE25.

Fête de la Musique  – Saturday

As per its annual tradition, the French Institute in Cairo and Alexandria will put on a massive free concert in Cairo on Saturday, and Alexandria on Sunday to celebrate Fête de la Musique. Hosted in Azhar Park in Cairo, the one day performance will include a marching band, al-Darb al-Ahmar arts school for percussion and circus arts, a French-Egyptian musical collaboration titled The Egyptian Project, the Balkan-inspired tunes of La Caravane Passe and more. Closing the night will be Grammy Award-winning Egyptian music icon Fathy Salama.

Cairo: 7.30 pm, June 17 at Al-Azhar Park, Salah Salem Road, Cairo. Event is free, but LE20 park entrance applies. More information here.

Alexandria: 9:30 pm, June 18 at the French Institute, 30 Nabi Daniel Street, Manshia, Alexandria.