Colors and folk music brought joy back to the streets and squares of Cairo as it hosted the ninth edition of the International Festival for Drums and Traditional Arts, which draws thousands daily, under the slogan “Drums Dialogue for Peace”.
The festival, a huge popular carnival, was recently inaugurated at the historical Saladin Citadel with around five thousand people present. International bands participated with their flags, musical instruments, and folkloric attire, receiving great applause from the crowd, and they were followed by a group parade that brought together participating countries’ teams: Tunisia (guest of honor), India, Spain, South Sudan, Bangladesh, Yemen, Indonesia, Sudan, Pakistan, Palestine, Mexico, Jordan, and Egypt, which was represented by the Reda Folklore Troupe, and the National Folk Troupe, and the troupe of the ministry of the youth and sports, and others, in addition to the participation of troupes from China and South Korea.
The festival aims “to send a message of peace to the world centered on love, optimism, and tolerance, and that Egypt is a country of safety and security, through the festival’s songs which call for world peace in multiple languages”, according to the founder and president of the festival Intisar Abdel Fattah.
Of the participating groups, the Mexican folk dance troupe, particularly impressed the crowd with their vibrant and colorful Latin dances, while other performances varied between dramatic music and songs inspired by Mexican folklore.
Several artists were also given awards on Saturday during the closing ceremony, among them are Abdo Mousa Saleh (Jordan), the artist Paco de Lucia (Spain), Zakir Hussein (India), as well as the Korea National University of Arts for its distinct role in preserving the Korean heritage, as well as equipping and educating academic cadres capable of dealing with the cultural heritage of humanity, and the Society of Friends of Sayed Darwish from Egypt.
The festival offers an “invitation to dance and joy, interaction and integration, with the folk drum sessions, in a rich cultural diversity that defines interculturality, pluralism, and tolerance, granted by the Arts”, according to Abdel Fattah.
According to observers, the International Festival for Drums and Traditional Arts is among the most important festivals held in old Cairo; it presents a genuine image of Egypt’s identity with the trinity of time, man, and space.
Moreover, according to the festival’s management, an international art workshop will be held at the closing ceremony, in which all 43 bands will participate.
The festival allows its fans a free entry to attend all of its shows, in Bir Yusuf Theater in the Saladin Citadel, and at North Cairo Wall Theater near Bab El Nasr.