Egyptian musicians are taking part in the music competition of The Maqom Art International Forum, which is taking place between 6 and 10 September, in Uzbekistan’s southern city of Shakhrisabz (80 kilometres south of Samarkand).
Egypt is represented by a group from the Cairo Opera House as well as independent ensemble “Zaii Zaman”.
Founded in 2014 by violinist and composer Ahmed Hassan, Zaii Zaman (which translates to “Like in the Past”) is an instrumental ensemble performing oriental music with the aim of reviving the past and its creative and emotional values.
The ensemble states on social media: “Oriental music is not just one kind of music; this music is our homeland. Through this music we may travel inside and outside of its borders, yet our belonging to it will never be lost.”
Zaii Zaman’s line up comprises Ahmed Hassan on violin, Hany Elbadry on nay, Amir Ezzat on riq, and Medhat Mamdouh on tabla.
In its inagural edition, over 70 countries represented by solo performers and ensembles of maximum seven musicians (singers and instrumentalists) from the Arab and Eastern world, among others, participate in the forum.
The forum offers a monetary award to competition winners: $10,000 for the first place winners, $7,000 for second place, and $5,000 for third place.
Apart from concerts, this forum’s edition provides opportunities to meet Uzbek music groups, Uzbek singers of interest to foreign producers, promoters and organisers of international music festivals, conferences around maqam music and its role in world civilisation.
Established by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the new forum and competition will take place twice a year.
Its aim is to explore and popularise widely the culture of maqam (melodic modes used in traditional Arabic music), one of the famous genres of musical art of Eastern nations.
According to the forum’s website, the organisers, who refer to maqam as the “generation’s soul,” hope to “exchange cultural-scientific information, make scientific and creative cooperation, and expand cultural and spiritual relations internationally.”