In 2020, the ALCASA team wished to celebrate for the first time the World Arabic Language Day in South Australia.
We partnered with the excellent SA Migration Museum and planned a very exciting and engaging program to hold the event on Saturday 12/12/2020. Alas the eagerly anticipated event had to be cancelled following the development of the Covid19 cluster in Adelaide last month.
Despite the disappointing outcome, while planning for the event we consolidated relationships with a number of local Arabic speaking talented people and organisations. We are grateful for the support and contribution we received from everyone. We would love to maintain and grow these cherished relationships for future celebrations and events.
In the 60 years of Fringe in Adelaide, this might quite possibly be the first time an all-Arabic music event has been on the program – and a SOLD OUT event of 120 guests as well!! On the 14th March 2020, the Arabic Language and Culture Association of SA (ALCASA) proudly presented ‘Aghaani Zamaan’ – classic Arabic songs that have enchanted generations in the Middle East. There was an electric atmosphere at the Nexus Lion Art Centre as a huge crowd revelled to a medley of talented and passionate local artists who breathed new life into classic Arabic hits of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. The show opened with a 60s classic from Taroub – Ahla w’sahla bil ahbab that really made the crowd come to life. Rania and Nouha vocals seduced the audience as they sang in harmony to Charlie on the qanun, Rabih playing the oud, Ahmed on the tabla and Ahssar on the percussions. A diverse audience of all ages and backgrounds were overwhelmed with nostalgia and raw memories of their homeland as the melodies sent them back to their childhood and their rich cultural heritage. Classic hits from superstar Fairuz, Sabah and Nasri Shamseddeen had the audience on their feet soaking in the history. One audience member was ecstatic and thanked ALCASA for the opportunity for their mother, who is suffering from dementia, to be able to sing along to every song; “I haven’t been as connected to mum as I was tonight. Bless you all for the wonderful experience.” The performance also exposed to a whole new audience the legacy left by the legends of Arabic music and showcased the significance of some iconic songs from long ago. The artists provided a new experience for lovers of world music by contextualising each song and even providing phonetic lyrics so the audience could sing along – karaoke, Arabic style! The crowd participated with their singing and clapping and gave a standing ovation to the musicians. The audience celebrated the singers and received many congratulations; one audience member praised the singers for their “amazing voices and beautiful presence”. This event was certainly a night to remember and one our audience members will never forget! ALCASA would like to thank all involved for their outstanding commitment and support to allow us to host this event and we are humbled by the amazing community endorsement to continue to host great events like this one. Special thanks to Nexus Arts for encouraging us to participate in the 2020 Fringe Festival. We felt so lucky for receiving subsidies to present this unique ALCASA performance. We look forward to the opportunity to share with you all again soon.
The ALCASA Music Workshop with Julian Ferraretto (Nexus Arts – Creative Cohesion) was an active and engaging experience for all, which was filled with ongoing laughter, listening and learning!
Not only did the kids put their musical talents to the test, but also the adults were tapping and clapping to the rhythmic nature of the diverse Middle Eastern instrumental beats that were produced.
The grand finale was the highlight for most, whereby the audience (adults and children) incorporated Arabic lyrics and tailored them to Ferraretto’s original piece depicting the typical sounds that one would find in a local Souk market. Thus, the scene that followed could only be described as an authentic, musical masterpiece.
On a warm Autumn night the nostalgic beat and rhythm of centuries of Arabic music and culture was heard in the heart of Adelaide.
On the 24 March 2018, the Arabic Language and Culture Association of South Australia (ALCASA) hosted their third annual Sahra event سهرة to a sell-out crowd of 100 guests. Members, family and friends from a broad range of cultural backgrounds and diverse nationalities gathered at the Burnside Community Center to play, sing and dance.
Firstly we were treated to a magical performance by the world-renowned belly dancer, Nayima Hassan of the South Australian Belly Dance Academy . She mesmerised the guests with a stunning opening dance swathed in fairy lights, impressed with her classic dance of the swords and blew the crowd away with her final routine atop a derbake!!! Nayima then got the whole crowd involved and led guests through some basic introductions to the art of bellydance.
The main focus of the night was to celebrate Arabic music and dance and the audience were lucky enough to hear demonstrations of some classic Arabic instruments including the oud, qanun, derbake and buzuq. Thank you to Charlie Yarak, Rabih Aintarazy, Raja Jamaleddine and Abu Hassan, Ahmed Sdik, for the traditional music and supporting the beautiful voice of Rania Daou. Rania delighted the crowd with some well loved classics and had the whole audience singing and swaying to the songs of their homeland and of their youth.
The surprise of the night was our invitation for audience members to participate in the line and sing some of their favourites. What an amazing talent our members and friends have! We heard from males and females, the young and old, classic songs from across the Arabic nations and some heart-wrenching emotional ballads that had the whole crowd in tears.
ALCASA members treated our guests to an array of Arabic sweets and delights and the evening line-up broke up for a chance to meet each other and foster positive relationships between cultural backgrounds, both Arabic and non-Arabic. We sipped strong coffee and shared stories and memories before we were attracted by the arrival of the Glimmers of Hope, Palestinian dabke dancers. The young performers brought to life 1000s of years of tradition to celebrate their passion with the audience and their hope to carry on the tradition with the young children in the crowd. It was wonderful to see the 3 generations dance alongside each other to explore and embrace their history.
What a night to remember! So many wonderful experiences to keep for all in attendance, we know everyone enjoyed the evening very much. Thank you very much to all the artists, musicians and singers and especially the ALCASA members and volunteers for their significant contribution to a hugely successful event.
ALCASA Children’s Group held their first session of 2018 on Sunday 18/02. It was a very productive start, with a song to learn, an Arabic story to read and movie making time.
Learning the song, the children were very creative with making dance moves to go with it. I guess it was very challenging for the parents to follow, but lots of fun and laughter.
We also had a book to read, Around the World حول العالم. One of the children was happy to present the story to the group and the parents helped with reading the words and exploring the sounds. The children even managed to write many words on their new scrapbooks dedicated to all the Arabic they will learn in 2018!
ALCASA Children’s Group
Movie making was the hit of the day. The children formed teams, made props from plasticine, small toy animals and Lego pieces. They created their movie story using the vocabulary from the book we read, then they took pictures and recorded their voices to make their movie!
Being at the new location and all what it offers from space, music instruments, a playground, and even an Table Tennis room, made the event a full fun day. As every event in ALCASA ends with delicious shared bites, what a good end that was for those tired, hungry happy kids!
On Sunday afternoon (18/02/2018), we held our first Arabic dardasha meetup. A keen group of Arabic speakers came together for dardasha – an informal chat in Arabic دَرْدَشَة. We usually meet once a month to have some fun, share our ideas and relate our experiences. The February meetup’s focus was recipes. The best part was that these recipes were accompanied by the dishes themselves! We had to describe the recipe in Arabic of course. If we reverted to English, we were given the ‘evil eye’. We learnt so many new words, and remembered ones we hadn’t used for a while.
Arabic dardasha February 2018
As I have a fig tree in my garden, I made fig jam with ginger مُرَبّى النين بالزَّنجبيل. Bruno shared about a poppy seed-cake كَعْك ببّذور الخَشْخاش, Sue about scones كعكات الشاي, Sudas about dates or walnuts filled pastries الكليجة بالتّمر أو الجوز and Fayrouz about shortbread biscuits غرَيْبة. I learnt some new words such as the words and expressions for ‘egg yolk’ صَفار البيَيْض, ‘a pinch of salt’ رَشَّة مِلْح, ‘cover’ غَطّي and ‘jars’ مَراطبين. There was a lot of joking and then we enjoyed the sampling!! Doris served us delicious Lebanese coffee to accompany it all. Sometimes the English words slipped out, but the holder of the ‘evil eye’ was on the lookout.
The afternoon was an excellent opportunity to practise Arabic while enjoying each other’s company. I am looking forward to our next dardasha on Sunday 18/03/2018!