Festival du Monde Arabe

The eleventh annual Festival du Monde Arabe begins tomorrow

By Elise Favis

Autumn-coloured dresses swerve to the rhythm of Arabic music. Metal bracelets bounce on the wrists of dancers like the jingling of house keys; the metal clinks and applauds meshing with the music until it is impossible to distinguish the difference.

The Arab World Festival of Montreal (Festival du Monde Arabe), partnering with Loto-Quebec and the Société de Transport de Montréal (STM), returns this year with exciting innovative ideas and beautiful thematic performances.

It begins Friday, Oct. 29, and runs until Nov. 14. The festival will consist of professional theatre shows, including ballet, opera, cultural dances, and Cirque du Soleil influences. A variety of multicultural artists from Canada and all over the world will be featured in the shows.

Some notable mentions of major artists in the festival are composer Zad Moultaka, the Ars Nova Ensemble, guitarist Francis Goya, the band DEBU, the Algerian National Ballet, and Turkish dancer Ilhan Karabaçak.

The festival’s theme, which changes annually, is named ‘Arabitudes’ this year, which will focus on the diversity of cultures. It will be showing an eclectic program of artists that have shown a creative ability to rebel against conventional traditions.

They will be bending the meaning of culture and music and from so, will express their own unique style. The theme is quite different from the past, where the festival explored mostly Western and Arabic culture. This year, though still significantly Arabic, will also include many other worldviews.

The festival will open with the energetic Algerian group Djmawi Africa at l’Astral Theatre on Oct. 29. We can look forward to a loud, intense night that will blow away the audience.

Another show that expresses this theme well would be DEBU’s performance of ‘The Sufi Cowboys,’ which will conclude the festival on Nov. 14 at the Maisonneuve Theatre. DEBU, which means ‘dust’ in Indonesian, is a band that focuses both on tradition and contemporary views. The band members are from Texas, who sing and play the music of Islam. Their music is a new, refreshing taste that will hopefully satisfy the audience with their originality.

The festival shows great potential for those interested in culture and Arabic influences. Tickets for any individual show participating in the festival can be bought online, at http://www.festivalarabe.com or at the Place-Des-Arts box office.

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