Day songs deep in the night

Theme of the 17th edition of the FMA

What hope can be nurtured when the night seems to get darker or when the world is looking like a powder keg? What utopia can we caress when peoples and age-old cultures find themselves reduced to fashion accessories, imprisoned in words and images that concentrate fears, hatred and ignorance? What tomorrow can we desire when “good guys” and “bad guys,” “constructive chaos” and a “strategy of chaos,” executioners and victims cannot be told apart, transforming our era into a vast theatre of a harsh tragicomedy?

After brandishing delirium and hilarity in the face of the world’s absurdity in 2015, the 17th edition of the Arab World Festival of Montreal urges any form of vital resistance to “human disenchantment.” In this cathartic burst of enthusiasm that we make a point of following relentlessly, we attempt to banish spectres of resignation from the horizon. We dare to believe that, from Palmyra to North America, we can weave organic solidarity to repress one-track thinking and the reign of propaganda.

Like sailors caught in a storm, in the intense darkness of an ocean of indifference, we have no choice but to advance among the mists of despair and to raise our knees bent by tribulations to seek a clearer and fairer sky. We wish to believe that this night, reigning for far too long already, demands a sun that can wait no longer. For the voices of resistance continue to exist, pluralistic voices that succeed, despite a deafening din of confusion, in making themselves heard.

We give voice to those rebellious and courageous creators who defy reality whether through laughter and delirium or through reflection and meditation. Whether they come from a distant past or are barely emerging, their aesthetic acrobatics enable us to overcome the abyss that lies in wait and besieges us.

An initial aurora arises from a pluralistic Syria, with a wealth of diversity matched only by the immensity of its history, of this Levant where cultures, languages, peoples, songs, melodies and rhythms have blended since the mists of time. There follow the flames carried by hundreds of artists, from here and elsewhere, leading us toward the most luminous of closures, that offers a delicious musical embrace between Barbara and Fairouz, rightfully accomplished by the same voice.

“At the end of the night, seal your horses and await the spirit that will emerge from the ruins”, said Mahmoud Darwish. Let us advance the dawn, and together let us hum day songs deep in the night! Let us light our candles in the eye of the storm to warm our souls.


Enjoy the Festival!