Rabat’s Mawazine festival has announced that its Nahda stage will host the “biggest oriental music” this year, along with “Morocco’s rising stars.”
Rabat – Mawazine’s Nahda stage is dedicated solely to Arabic music annually, with artists from Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates performing this year.
Opening weekend full of stars
Kicking off Mawazine’s opening festival this year on Friday, June 21, is Marrakech native Mohamed Reda, a singer representing the new generation of Moroccan music. The singer has 2 studio albums under his belt and has performed dozens of shows both in Morocco and abroad.
Following his performance is Lebanese singer Carole Samaha. This multi-talented artist has released 6 studio albums since beginning her career over 20 years ago and has received a plethora of awards for her work, including the “World Music Award” for best performer from the Middle East.
The following night, Saturday, June 22, will see young Casablanca native Yousra Saouf. The singer rose to fame in the Arab world at just 20 after her participating in the second season of “Arab Idol.” Her studio career launched following her appearance with her single Bghitou Yahlali, followed by other successful titles such as Habibi Mokhtalif and Ma Hibak.
Taking over the stage next is Lebanese singer Assi El Hallani, commonly referred to as the “Knight of Arab music.” El Helani’s musical career started after winning Studio Al Fan, a TV program for young artists, at the age of 17. The prolific artist has since released over 25 albums.
On Sunday, June 23, the evening will begin with a performance from Egyptian duo Oka Wi Ortega, composed of Mohamed Salah and Ahmed Metwali. The duo’s mix of Egyptian folk music with modern hip hop has gained them a large social media following.
That same night, the audience will be treated to a performance from Lebanese “Queen of the Stage” Myriam Fares. The singer has made her name by combining different styles, mixing modern influences with traditional Arabic music.
A week of multicultural performances
On Monday, June 24, Palestine will be represented by Mohammed Assaf. The singer made his name by winning “Arab Idol” in 2013 and has since released four successful albums and been appointed the Ambassador of Culture and Arts in Palestine.
Warming up the crowd for him that night is Egyptian singer Saad El Soghayar, nicknamed the “the prince of chaabi” for his perfect fusion of oriental pop influences with traditional Egyptian styles.
On Tuesday, June 25, Lebanese singer Elissa will take the Nahda stage. Elissa is considered one of the best Arab singers in the world, having sold more than 45 million albums to date. Elissa won Middle East’s Best Singer Award at the World Music Awards in 2005, 2006 and 2010.
Just before she takes the stage, the audience will be treated to a performance from singer-songwriter Hamid Hadri, a Chefchaouen native. Hadri began his career as an actor before winning first place at the Star Academy Maghreb in 2007 and kicking off a successful music career.
On Wednesday, June 26, one of Jordan’s most famous singers, Diana Karazon, will kick off the night. Karazon rose to fame after winning the first season of SuperStar in 2003 and has held the spotlight ever since. She combines Egyptian, Lebanese, Khaliji and Jordanian dialects in her music.
After Karazon, Lebanese singer Walid Toufic is up next. Toufic has been in the public eye since his high-profile acting performances beginning in 1973. His musical career is just as prolific, with a repertoire of over 600 songs.
Another Lebanese singer will take the stage on Thursday, June 27, with a performance from singer Ramy Ayach. The pop star rose to fame in 1997 after winning the first prize in the talent show competition “Studio Al Fan.” Since then, he has become an icon of Arab pop music with many hit singles such as Albi Mal and Majnoun.
Opening for Ayach that night is Moroccan star Hasna Zalagh, who released her debut album in 2009 and has since made a name for herself with her strong voice.
Closing the festival with a bang
Mawazine’s closing weekend at the Nahda stage will begin on Friday, June 28, with a performance from Egyptian composer and singer Abu. Known for his outstanding writing, the Egyptian’s 2017 single “3 daqat” has a whopping 459 million views on YouTube.
Following his performance is Lebanese star Najwa Karam. Nicknamed “The Sun of Arabic Song,” Najwa Karam is one of the most popular artists in the Middle East, having sold over 60 million records worldwide.
The festival’s final night will begin with a performance from Casablanca native Zinab Oussama. The young pop star began her career in 2012 by winning the first prize in the singing competition of the Egyptian Opera House. She also participated in X-Factor (2013) and the 9th season of Arab Star Academy. The young star then went on to release numerous singles and video clips.
Mawazine will finish with a bang at the Nahda stage with Emirati star Hussain Al Jassmi taking the stage. In 2008, he received the Golden Murex Award for Best Arab Singer and was nominated three times at the World Music Awards. He is widely considered to be a pioneering voice of Emirati music, whose reach and appeal he is also believed to have widened across the Arab world.