South Australia is a growing multicultural community and recent world events have shown how welcoming and inclusive our community
“Life is unbearable without hope.”, Cross Stitching by Fayrouz Ajaka, Graphic Design by Ahmed El Khalidi – “Stitch And Resist” with The Centre of Democracy
can be of the growing tapestry of our population. These events have also shown our resilience and care for one another; especially when many of us have family and friends overseas that we cannot embrace.
ALCASA has been proud to play its role in keeping spirits up and the community connected in challenging times. Thanks to our dedicated members and volunteers, we have been able to continue to run events and gatherings to bring people together – either virtually or in open spaces. Community restrictions have meant that we have not had the chance to run a full program of community events and activities this year. However, we have been lucky enough to get together with some of you for coffee along the Torrens, backgammon in the park, art appreciation and walks in the gardens. It has been wonderful to stay connected in person and online throughout the year.
If we cast our minds back 18 months to March 2020, ALCASA proudly presented ‘Aghaani Zamaan’ – classic Arabic songs that have enchanted generations in the Middle East as one of the final public events at the Adelaide Fringe Festival before the beginning of lockdowns hit us. We can all recall the 100+ audience and an electric atmosphere at the Nexus Arts 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.
Our reach into the community despite ongoing restrictions continued when during 2020-2021 ALCASA partnered with Nexus Arts to support an Audience Research Project when we helped to reach out to Arabic speaking audience to assess how they engage with the artistic experiences in Adelaide. Our Chairperson, Fayrouz, helped in spreading the word by producing a video call seeking participation from the Arabic speaking community. This collaboration culminated in a group of local artists curating art work for an intercultural art exhibition HOME. We were also lucky enough to host the event “Home” Intercultural Art exhibition: Meet the Artist ” with no less than 40 participants coming along to meet those artists that exhibited. Among those attending was ALCASA friend and well-renowned Iraqi-Australian theatre writer Sabah Alanbari and his family; Sabah wrote an article about the event that you can read on our website.
Similarly, in partnership with the Centre of Democracy, we supported and promoted the exhibition Stitch & Resist. The exhibition took place from 2 July to 6 August 2021 at the Mill Gallery and aspects of the Arabic language and culture: My life in diaspora by DecoElian and Hope, stitched by Fayrouz Ajaka and designed by Yadura Design Studio.
Most recently, ALCASA hosted an art workshop on the classic art of Arabic calligraphy.The Arabic language and script is as beautiful as it is complex; for centuries artists have been creating beautiful artwork and mosaics with the use of Arabic lettering. Ahmed ElKhalidi led us through a fascinating journey of artistic expression and supported participants to create wonderful art with the simple use of characters from the Arabic alphabet.
And still we will not rest with an exciting event scheduled for the end of 2021!!
We are very excited to invite you to join us on the 11/12 for our end of year event, the Inaugural World Arabic Language Day in SA 2021, hosted by ALCASA in collaboration with at the the History Trust of South Australia’s Migration Museum and supported by SA Multicultural Affairs, Department of the Premier and Cabinet. The event will offer a range of interactive activities such as a brief history of the Arabic language, music and songs performances, Palestinian Dabke performance, a collaborative exhibition “Objects Tells Our Stories” that we will put together on the day with the help of the Migration Museum and our friends in other SA Arabic speaking community groups in South Australia.
Thank you to our dedicated ALCASA committee, all our members, family and friends. We are looking forward to a bigger and better 2022!!
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.
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.
On Sunday 17/12/2017, we held an exceptional end-of-year celebration and hosted a music workshop with the accomplished Syrian violinist Abdul Nanou. Abdul played some well known popular Arabic songs to the delight of the amazing audience who enjoyed singing along during the whole workshop.
During 2017, ALCASA continued to thrive, thanks to the talented and dedicated members and friends who regularly attend the monthly meetings and occasional cultural events.
We are very proud of the young members of the ALCASA Children’s Group who held their 2017 graduation ceremony on Sunday. The Children enjoyed decorating their Arabic names and received their 2017 reports, as well as an Arabic book to read on their own at home. Some of the children have been attending with their dedicated parents since 2013. The devoted parents participants plan and organise the program of the children’s monthly sessions. Many thanks to Hassan, Nadia, Ahmed, Rua, Zain, Dalal and Grace for their highly appreciated contribution.
A scrumptious afternoon tea was provided by members and their guests during the end-of-year celebration. الضيافة (diyafa), hospitality is a well entrenched practice in the Arabic culture and we do enjoy putting in practice this tradition during the ALCASA social gatherings. In addition, the regular ALCASA events provide opportunities for adult learners of Arabic to meet native speakers, to read together in-house produced simple Arabic text (‘aamiyya and fus’ha) and to speak in the Arabic language. Heartfelt thanks to all regular participants with special thanks to the native speaker volunteers: Doris, Hanaa, Leyla, Sudas, Hayan, Ahmed, Dany and his mother Muna during her stay in Adelaide.
Since 2013, ALCASA have been hosting occasional cultural events and workshops aiming to enhance intercultural understanding among South Australian communities. Our events rely on local artists and presenters. We are grateful to benefit from the continuous support of the local artists Ahmed Alkhalidi, Charlie Yarak, Rabih Aintarazi, Nayima Hassan and Zaffit SA. Additionally, we have been very lucky to enjoy in 2017 the talents of the calligrapher Safaa Alkhazraji and the musicians Alex Hadchiti, Zuhir Naji and Abdul Nanou.
Whereas we rely on membership fees to fund our main activities, we do acknowledge the continuous support of Multicultural SA, enabling ALCASA to hold certain cultural events. Sometimes local businesses contribute to our events either by holding cultural demonstration or in providing in kind donations, gifts and prizes. We are very thankful to such generosity and we do acknowledge donors during the related events, also on our social online media and in our website posts. Most ALCASA events have been held so far in various Adelaide city based venues, thanks to the gracious hospitality of the City Of Adelaide Community Centres and to Multicultural Communities Council of South Australia.
ALCASA events will remain open to anyone with interest in Arabic and we are always delighted to meet new members and friends. To explore ALCASA’s past events, please refer to earlier posts here. For a quick overview, check below a selection of photos taken during the ALCASA monthly meetings held for the last few years.
The ALCASA monthly meetings will continue to be held on the third Sunday of the month in 2018. Many exciting activities and events are currently in the planning stage. We look forward to continue providing a fun environment to communicate in Arabic and to share interesting aspects of the Arabic culture with the South Australian community.
We are holding the ALCASA End Of Year celebration on Sunday 17/12/2017.
We will start our sessions with the ALCASA Children’s Group graduation party from 1:30 to 3:00 pm including an afternoon tea (bring something to share).
From 3:00 to 4:00 pm, we are delighted to present our very special guest Abdul Nanou. Abdul is an accomplished violinist who will be showcasing the violin in Arabic music while playing well known songs by famous Arabic stars such as Fairouz, Sayed Makkawi and Sabah Fakhre.
ALCASA Language Exchange group will hold their conversation session from 4:00 to 5:00 pm.
Participation is by invitation only, send us a personal message on Arabic In Adelaide if you wish to take part of this creative music experience.
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.