Makan: A Place of Cultural Keepsake - Arts & Culture Feature - Cairo 360
 







Makan: A Place of Cultural Keepsake
Makan: A Place of Cultural Keepsake
Published On: 17/04/2010

Situated on the corner of Saad Zaghloul and Mansour Street in the shabby yet chic neighbourhood of Mounira, Makan provides a cosy ambience and stellar atmosphere for live music performances and other art forms that have historically breathed life into the Egyptian community.

More notable than its convenient location, however, is Makan's admirable purpose; the establishment, which is also known as The Egyptian Centre for Culture and Art, serves to be much greater than just a modest venue to hear a little music every once in awhile.

Makan's aim as a music venue and art space is to not only to record and present traditional Egyptian music in a sacred yet relational way, but also to encourage individuals to take part in the re-awakening of a culturally significant Egyptian arts and music scene. In recent years, its significance has been seemingly glossed over by uniformity, modern conventionalism, and lack of aspiration to, heaven forbid, experience anything culturally relevant and historically rich.

For the heritage of this timeless arts and music scene to survive, ranging from dance and music to poetry and spoken word, venues such as Makan are critical for conservation.

On Tuesday evenings, as you enter the eclectic dwelling space of Makan's performance area, various instruments will be found lining the stage, ranging from a saxophone to the Egyptian arghoul (woodwind instrument) and enough percussions to have you moving to the anticipated beats before the show even begins.

Nass Makan takes the stage and you realize the beauty of tradition and the peace in keeping it alive. Whether you choose to sit in the dimly lit loft overlooking the performers or catch a seat close enough to feel the vibrations of the bass, the interaction between the performers and the audience provides an intimate setting to truly embrace the music of the moment. From the jazz-infused rhythms, combined with traditional Egyptian and Sudanese styles, to the sultry, powerful voice of Sudanese singer Asia , Nass Makan is a sweet, musical jewel that shouldn't be missed.

The fresh sound and symbolic nature of the music is a rare find these days. If a free Tuesday can't be found, the Mazaher ensemble plays on Wednesdays, including a tamboura (six-string lyre) and manjour (leather belt with goat hooves). The Mazaher ensemble is one of the last Zar performance groups in Egypt ; so it’s a unique and enlightening experience.

Don't miss the self-serve tea and karkade station and make sure to arrive early to guarantee good seating. CDs are often sold at the door after the performances, providing a great way to not only support the artists but to continue being part of Makan's ambitious aim of keeping the traditional Egyptian arts and music scene alive.

For more information on other activities at Makan and The Egyptian Centre for Culture and Art, including their resident centres for artists, visit their website or call 27920878 .

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  • Makan: A Place of Cultural Keepsake
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About Writer
Hannah Cooper
Written by:
Hannah Cooper
Publish Date:
17/04/2010
Writer – Works at a yoga studio and writes for creative practice. Among what she fancies is a good banjo beat, sprawling trees and bananas.