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Chicago Arabesque Festival Highlights //

07.02.10
byVictoria

Over 50,000 people came together last weekend to celebrate Arab culture of the Arab at the 4th Annual Chicago Arabesque Festival at Daley Plaza, in the heart of the Windy City. Despite the overwhelming heat, the festival attracted not only members of one of the largest Arab communities in the U.S., but also people from many different cultural backgrounds.

Music and dance were the heart of the festival with ongoing performances by musicians from different regions, such as L’Orchestre Chabab Al Andalous, a 10-piece orchestra from Morocco that played classical Spanish-influenced Moroccan music and Safaafir that played the maqam, a classical modal music of Iraq, characterized by improvising within a collection of musical traditions. There were also fascinating dance presentations: Katya performed a variety of energetic belly dances ranging from classical to folkloric and The Jasmin Jahal Dance Troupe offered a wonderful array of dances from Khaleeji (Arabian Gulf) to Egyptian baladi. Many impromptu performances took place throughout the weekend as well, encouraged by the music from DJ Atwar, illustrating the collaborative nature of the festival. Check out some highlights below…

Iraqi band Safaafir performs maqam music


Food was another highlight of the Arabesque Festival. Visitors lined up to enjoy some delicious traditional dishes such as falafel, Lebanese rolls, hummus, tabbouleh, and baklava. The Dessert Oasis, a typical Bedouin tent decorated with couches, rugs and pillows, provided a great space to relax and socialize. For those looking to buy a authentic gifts, the different tents at the souq (bazaar) offered traditional clothing, carpets, musical instruments, spices, hookahs, woodwork, and more. The more interactive booths included instrument practice, eyebrow weaving, and henna tattoos.

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About the Author: Victoria Peuriot-Bouché is an Argentinean journalist working as an Economic Correspondent for a financial newspaper in Buenos Aires. She has a fascination with Arab culture and the city of Chicago, where she is currently located.



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