Where are Middle East Musicians on World Music Day 2020?

Where are Middle East Musicians on World Music Day 2020?

This year, World Music Day came at an interesting time where most countries in the world are at cross roads between choosing to continue to have online live music events and opening up public venues to receive live audiences once again for the first time in months after the pandemic.

Like many countries in the world, the Middle East still ran music festivals and celebrated world music day with live performances by famous bands and musicians live online via YouTube, Instagram and Facebook reaching millions. Telecome Egypt has launched since late May the We Online Music Festival hosting popular alternative music bands from Egypt and Jordan such as Massar Igbari, Jadal, Aziz Maraqa, Al-Murabaa and Akher Zaphere on Mondays and Fridays.

Dubai Opera has also been hosting Arabic and international jazz, opera, classic and folk musicians for live Instagram and Facebook concerts as well as online music and dance classes. These included Ghalia Benali, The Green Room Jazz group and Gipsy Kings.

Translation: Our honorable guests, the General Authority of Dar Al-Assad for Culture and Arts is keen to deliver high-quality art to all and given that tickets for artists Marwan Mahfouz concert are sold out, the concert will be live streamed on social media. # Reminder: Please abide by attendance half an hour before the concert, in order to implement full preventive sterilization precautions before starting any activity, secure various supplies to prevent Coronavirus infection, organize public entry and exit, and ensure enough distance among spectators.

Elsewhere in the Middle East though, some countries have started to open up to hosting live gigs and concerts. In Lebanon and despite the unrest and ongoing protests, local musicians are starting to announce their live gigs at local clubs and restaurants, while in Syria, Damascus Opera is announcing sold out concerts after a few weeks of holding concerts for an online audience.

In other countries like Jordan, musicians and cultural centers are still struggling with the government to allow them to reopen for music classes and live performances to earn their living especially after restaurants, hotels and gyms opened up. Their actions varied from complaining on social media to asking people to join live tweet-ups to call on authorities for support, to crowd funding campaigns to sustain themselves.

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