It is not possible to discuss western culture without mentioning the peoples of the Mediterranean, source of the so-called Judeo-Christian civilization. With them were born the three monotheistic religions that dominate the West: Judaism, Christianism and Islamism.
In the region also appeared phylosophy, geometry, trade practices and many traditions that mix with others and today are present in all countries on this side of the Earth.
To establish a dialogue between the many cultures of the nations bathed by the Mediterranean sea, and show how much they contribute to the formation of Brazilian culture, the São Paulo Social Service for Commerce (Sesc) is holding an event that is proportional to the importance of this contribution.
It is the Sesc Exhibit of the Mediterranean Arts, involving 18 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe, to take place between the 18th and 28th of August, in São Paulo, the capital city of the southeastern state by the same name. Amongst the representatives of Arab culture are countries like Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Syria and Lebanon.
According to the regional director at the São Paulo Sesc, Danilo Santos de Miranda, the exhibit’s objective is to discuss the origin of the Brazilian peoples’ identity and contemplate the cultural diversity that forms Brazil.
“This meeting also serves to bring the contribution of the Mediterranean countries to our current cultural moment. This is important because it represents the taking of a position before our origins and our future,” he evaluates.
The event will have the presentation of 163 groups, divided in many areas, such as dance, cinema, theatre, plastic arts, literature and music. In the latter, the Arab highlight is by the French-Algerian Rachid Taha and the Egyptian Hossam Ramzy.
A renown and very respected musician in the Arab world and France, Taha made a fusion of the raí¯ – pop rhythm in Algeria – with rock and techno.
Ramzy, in turn, famous percussionist for playing jazz and rock with Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, Gypsy Kings, Luciano Pavarotti and Rolling Stones, will show his more creative side, presenting an Arab music based in the chord arrangements from North Africa.
He also worked on the soundtracks of many films, amongst which are “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Stealing Beauty”. Together with him will be the Brazilian musician João Bosco, whose songs suffered great influence from Arab music.
Still in music, the Mediterranean Orchestra. Composed and conducted by the Brazilians Carlinhos Antunes, Lívio Tragtemberg and Magda Pucci, the orchestra will have the participation of musicians from many countries, such as Greece, Turkey and Morocco, represented by Ramzy.
In theatre, the great attraction of the Arab culture is the Moroccan Acrobatic Group of Tangier, playing the Taoub, millennial acrobatics spectacle from that country that involves elements of the circus, music and video. For the children, there will be seven plays, amongst them “Sherazade visits Ancient Greece”.
According to the coordinator of the exhibit’s program, Gilson Tacker, all presentations are unseen, with the exception of cinema, and there is nothing that wasn’t chosen for its excellency.
For him, one of the recommendations is the “Frontiers of the Mediterranean International Seminar: Weaving Cultures, Memories and Identities”. “It will be a moment of congregation, and for that reason it is indeed the best time for dialogue, which is one of the aims of the event,” he says.
The seminar will gather thinkers of many countries. Amongst the participants are the Algerian anthropologist Tassadit Yacine, honorary professor at the í‰cole des Hautes í‰tudes en Sciences Sociales of Paris, who will talk about the matter of the Maghreb people, situated in North Africa.
At the exhibit there also is space for literature and cinema. For the first, there will be “Literary Tendencies – Meetings and Thoughts”, a cycle of debates and readings by the participating authors, amongst them, Salim Miguel, Lebanese-Brazilian writer, Mamede Jarouche, Arabic translator of the “Thousand and One Nights”, and writer Eugênia Zerbini.
In cinema, of the 17 films of the exhibit, seven are about Arab culture. The highlights are “The Battle of Algiers” and “Selves and others: a portrait of Edward Said”.
The first is a film of 1965, which tells of the independence war of Algeria against France, which received the International Critics award at the Venice Festival (1966) and two indications for the Oscar in 1969. The latter is a documentary about the last days of the renown Palestinian intellectual Said, who died in 2003.
The exhibit placed in circuit all Sesc units in the city of São Paulo and some neighboring cities, such as São Caetano do Sul. But those who live in the interior and cannot come to São Paulo, will have the chance to appreciate part of the event, which from the 24th of August to the 12th of September will pass through 72 cities in the state of São Paulo, amongst them, Araraquara, Bauru, Campinas, Rio Preto and Santos.
See below part of the musical program
August 19th – 8:00 p.m. Free.
Gaâda Diwane de Béchar (Algeria)
August 23rd – 4:00 p.m. Free
Ensemble Al-Kindí¯ (Syria)
August 25th and 26th – 9:00 p.m.
Rachid Taha, with the show Tekitói
August 26th and 27th – 9:30 p.m.
Hossam Ramzy and João Bosco
August 27th (9:00 p.m.) and 28th (6:00 p.m.)
Mediterranean Orchestra (Brazil and invited countries)
August 27th (9:00 p.m.) and 28th (6:00)
For the complete program, venues and prices, access the website www.sescsp.com.br.
Anba – www.anba.com.br