Thursday 18 – Sunday 21 November 2010
Produced by: 
Zenith Foundation and Sound and Music

MazaJ (meaning mood in Arabic) is a place of free expression, of attunement that presents sonic experimentation from the Middle East and its diaspora.

The first edition of the MazaJ Festival is a celebration of contemporary and experimental Arabic music and Middle Eastern sonic culture, taking place in London. Curated by artist Seth Ayyaz, MazaJ encourages audiences to look beyond the ‘world music’ label by stripping bare the stereotypes of ‘Arabic’ or ‘Middle Eastern’ music. Forging links between UK and Middle Eastern artists and audiences, the festival takes the form of a one-day conference and concert at City University, followed by a weekend of talks and performances at Café Oto.

The festival features work from the very best contemporary composers, live musicians, leading electronic producers and sound installation artists from the Middle East and its resonant diasporas. These artists are linked by their sonic experimentation within and without a tradition of Middle Eastern musical practice in which improvisation has always played a key role.

The Volatile Frequencies Conference at City University London will provide an academic framework for the weekend. On the Saturday, media partners The Wire will also host a panel discussion between festival artists and invited speakers to contextualise the artists' work.

Confirmed artists performing at MazaJ include:
Seth Ayyaz (UK), Mazen Kerbaj (Lebanon), Hassan Khan (Egypt), Mutamassik (Egypt / USA), Mahmoud Refat (Egypt), Sharif Sehnaoui (Lebanon), Michael Zerang (USA)

Confirmed speakers at the MazaJ conference include:
Thomas Burkhalter, Kay Dickinson, John Hutnyk, Ziad Nawfal, Tony Herrington, John Kieffer

Hassan Khan's The Big One, at 100live Electronic Music Festival, Egypt, 2009.

Wormholes Project by Mazen Kerbaj & Sharif Sehnaoui, first performance, Beirut Art Centre, Lebanon, 2009.

Mutamassik's Take the Hit, from That Which Death Cannot Destroy, 2010. Video by G. Loli

In this project

Main Events

MazaJ: Conference – Volatile Frequencies
Thu 18 November from 9.30am at City University London, London

MazaJ: Concert – Volatile Frequencies Music
Thu 18 November from 7.00pm at City University London, London

MazaJ Day 1: Panel discussion - Recalibrating the Noise: is there a middle eastern sound art?
Sat 20 November from 5.30pm at Café Oto, London

MazaJ Day 1: Evening Concert at Café Oto
Sat 20 November from 8.00pm at Café Oto, London

MazaJ Day 2: Evening Concert at Café Oto
Sun 21 November from 7:00pm at Café Oto, London

Booking Information

2 day festival pass: £22 adv. only
Saturday discussion: £5
Saturday concert: £10 adv/£12 on the door
Sunday concert: £10 adv/£12 on the door


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