On Aug. 24-25, the Garfield Park Arts Center will host the second annual Egyptian Fest, an event featuring a series of workshops for drummers and dancers, and a free performance Saturday night headlined by Arab-fusion drummer Karim Nagi. The free concert begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, and will showcase belly dancers and drummers, as well as Nagi's fusion of traditional Arabic and electronic music.
Nagi, a former faculty member at the New England Conservatory of Music, describes his musical philosophy in an essay published in April on his Web site, turbotabla.com. "So I find my favorite songs, instruments, rhythmic ideas, melodic drama and emotional manipulation from the Arab music repertoire," Nagi writes. "I then bolster the sound with House, techno, trance, hip-hop and funk grooves."
Saturday's workshops, co-taught by Nagi and Indianapolis dance instructor Faten Munger, will teach students how to dance when accompanied by the tabla and other Arab percussion. Nagi will teach Arabic drumming techniques at a master workshop held Sunday. Students are invited to bring their own drums, and all those who have basic drumming skills are welcome.
While the concert is free, Saturday's workshops will cost $75 and Sunday's master class will cost $50, and students should show up early for registration. Egyptian food and crafts will be available for purchase at the bazaar beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Munger emphasizes that the festival is a great opportunity for children to learn about Egyptian culture. "I have never seen children enjoy themselves as much as they did at the first Egyptian Fest," Munger says. "This year, there will be dancers who can teach them some movements, and they can write their name in Arabic so they can take with them something unique."
For information call the Garfield Park Arts Center at 317-327-7066.