Arab Fest

The 2nd Annual Arab Fest banners

The 2nd Annual Arab Fest banners

My friend Ruth told me about Arab Fest a couple of weeks ago and so we made plans to go to two evening performances. Ruth, Erin, and I went on Tuesday (2009.05.19) to enjoy the bazaar, eat some traditional food, and watch a traditional performance from Qatar.

So we get there a little bit after 6pm and there isn’t any food really, some baklava like pastries 😦 They were delicious, but hardly filling. So we went back to the subway station and looked around for something fast and edible, we ended up at Paris Baguette. I had two curry chicken croquettes, that were very sweet.

The performance started after a speech by the president of the Korean-Arab Society, the Ambassador from Qatar, and two Korean students who are studying Arabic at a local university (the boy was not that good and the girl was much better). The performance was really nice, the only thing that I really didn’t like was that the performers were lip-syncing and not really playing the background music. But was beautiful and the mini-movies being shown during the performance were fascinating.

And of course butterfingers dropped her camera and it broke this time. So yesterday, right before I went to Arab Fest, I went to COEX to buy myself a camera that actually took pictures.

Singers welcome beautifully dressed Sudanese women to the center of the area.

Singers welcome beautifully dressed Sudanese women to the center of the area.

I think that the Lebanese Embassy paid attention to the troubles from the night before and made sure that they had plenty of food, but they ran out of plates. The Sudanese wedding was beautiful, but apparently they didn’t have enough people so they recruited two Korean men to help out.

I noticed this guy with a red fez, which I haven’t seen in a long time, and he was surprised to hear me speaking in Derija. We talked for a bit and then later I realized that I was just talking to the Ambassador of Morocco.

The Moroccan Ambassador H.E. Mohamed Chairi

The Moroccan Ambassador H.E. Mohamed Chairi

 The evening performance began with speeches by the president of the Korean-Arab Society and the ambassador of Morocco. Then the Korean Soul and Beat Project YeSanJok (예산족 소개) took center stage and showcased an amazing mix of traditional samulnori and modern jazz.

The Moroccan singers/dancers relaxing before the start of their performance.

The Moroccan singers/dancers relaxing before the start of their performance.

Next up a Gnaoua music group, Abdelkader Amlil’s Group Gnaoua Assafa, showed off their musical skills. They were high octane, always moving, and very charismatic performers. The Moroccan guys in the audience were going crazy for their countrymen. And at the end, there was a joint improv performance by both groups. It was unbelievable! My friend, Crys, has a video of it and eventually I’ll get a copy and post it.

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