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.
For someone like me, who has never been on a quiz night before, I thought I would be under pressure exposing my knowledge about Arabic culture!
Let’s be honest here, who wants to go to an event and feel stupid not knowing the answers about their own culture.
I was not only relieved that it was not an exam. I was more surprised how much fun a quiz night could be. The event truly was an Arabian magical night which fitted its theme so well: The Genie of the night!
ALCASA’s talented Quiz Night masters, Hassan and Doris, provided quizzes in a variety of categories: geography, history, famous inventors, flags, art and literature, Arabic food, science and culture. Some were directly linked to Arabic, others were not as the Quiz Night’s guests were a blend of many cultures.
The night started off with amazingly delicious food. Everyone brought their best home dish, and thanks to Abdul’s Kitchen we received a party platter. If that was not enough, we were also pampered by delicious nutritious desserts by Zainberi on each beautifully decorated table.
We answered questions, played games and were fed like royals, but the thing we enjoyed the most was the surprise of the night: Sounds of the Middle East, Zuhir Naji and Saleh Mansuri who entertained the guests with their Arabic music and songs that got everyone dancing.
The night ended with awarding the first prize winner (Team Amazing Arabs) a big gift hamper and of course a Genie Lamp Trophy. Perhaps it’s real, perhaps not, but they were the Genie of ALCASA Quiz night and deserved the Trophy!
Photos courtesy of Grace Eliseo and Nadia Sbahi
Note: All ALCASA 2017 events are supported by the Minister of Multicultural Affairs, South Australian Government.
The year ALCASA 2016 has ended with an amazing Sahra ( “سهرة” an entertaining evening in Arabic). Around 125 people, from Arabic and non-Arabic speaking background, have come to enjoy a true Arabic celebration.
If you know anything about Arabic celebrations, you would know this must include delicious food, music and dance! However, ALCASA is always keen to present the best and more.
The 2016 Sahra was preceded by a graduation ceremony for ALCASA Children’s group, with acting a story, playing games and handing in their folders of the whole year. The children were delighted and were showing pride of their achievements.
The 2016 Sahra opened with the amazing Zaffit SA, offering a dabke workshop (traditional dance), engaging adults and children to dance hand in hand. The workshop has attracted the children to go on stage and learn the dabke moves.
The awesome Arabic speaking artists, Rabih Aintarazi, Charlie Yarak, Raja Jamal Eddine, Raniah Daou and Nouha Raslan, have kindly performed well known Arabic songs to share their love to music and to Arabic culture.
Thanks to ALCASA long standing partners the Lebanese Film Festival (LFF Sydney, Australia), ALCASA was very pleased to be able to show two highly recommended and award winning short movies, Congratulations (Cynthia Sawma) and A Time In A Life (George Barbari). Both movies have been the talk of the night! Bringing great movies to Adelaide in association with LFF Sydney, has been a great success in past ALCASA events, and this time was no difference.
As any Arabic celebration, there have been many shared plates which by itself was a fest! With food comes Arabic coffee, mint tea, sweets and good chats!
This year, has definitely been a great year for ALCASA, engaging more audience and bringing in more art, food workshops, dance and culture celebrations to the community. Not only the ALCASA 2016 Sahra was a good end-of-the-year event, but also it was a promise for a more entertaining programme in the near future!
We wish you a happy new year and hope to see you again in our upcoming events resuming in February 2017.
Photos courtesy of ALCASA members and friends including Darren Williams Photography
We are delighted to launch the ALCASA end-of-the year 2016 Sahra, to be held at Nexus Arts Centre on Saturday 17/12.
The 2016 Sahra will start at 6:30 pm after a special celebration by the ALCASA Children’s group in the same venue. Please share the gorgeous poster (created by Yadura Design Studio) and keep an eye on the Facebook page Arabic In Adelaide for upcoming announcements.
With the help of amazing talented ALCASA members and friends, we are still finalising the planing for a very entertaining night, with Arabic dance, music, songs and two short movies.
We re inviting the audience to bring and share Arabic finger food during the night.