In 2013, the “Al-Nour” group for classical Arabic music in Israel was founded by a group of musicians united by a great passion for Arabic music, and with this passion there was another reason, namely the desire to in the footsteps of Zozo Musa, the Egyptian Jewish violinist who emigrated and worked to Israel. For many years he performed the most famous songs and melodies of the Egyptian song giants.
The group has been performing in Israel for many years for a diverse audience of ethnicities, cultures and religions, until it had the opportunity to play music in the heart of Cairo, which was a dream come true.
Since the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement 43 years ago, it is the first time an Israeli orchestra has come to Egypt to perform so. Although Egypt was the first Arab country to sign peace with Israel, it was limited to security and some economic fields Cultural and artistic normalization activities usually face a serious attack in Egypt.
And because dreams do not stop, the members of the “Al-Nour” orchestra are now dreaming of playing music in the Egyptian Opera House, the oldest and largest opera house in the Middle East, and they believe it will be achieved. the greatest achievement for what the group represents and what it seeks to spread messages of peace and coexistence Through the art you provide.
Arrival in Cairo
Al-Hurra website met a number of group members in a hotel in the middle of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, where they were staying.
Hanna Fattaya, co-founder and director of “Al-Nour” group, says the start came when they received an invitation from the Israeli ambassador to Cairo, Amira Oron, to hold an official party to celebrate the 74th anniversary of the founding of Israel, which was a pleasant surprise to her on a personal level.
And she added: “We got everything right quickly and tried to bring in as many orchestra members as possible, and we completed the travel procedures quickly, and she described her feeling and the group members ‘participation in the concert and said,’ We were touched. through it, and it’s a great honor for all of us, and we’re a band. All it does is play classical Arabic music. “It was our biggest dream, to reach Egypt.”
The conductor of the “Al-Nour” orchestra and one of the singers, Ariel Cohen, told Al-Hurra website that he was most affected by his trip to Cairo when he started singing in front of an Egyptian presence. To Ambassador Oron: For a child born in Petah Tikva in 1986 who dreamed all his life of playing Arabic music, I did not expect it to be so fast. After fifteen years of playing music, I did not expect to be present with musicians next to me and behind me. to perform a song for the Sheikh of composers, Sheikh Zakaria Ahmed, in The heart of Cairo, it is for me a great summit that culminates years of love for this Egyptian culture and music.
Hila Akhil, one of the violinists in the group, who is of Yemeni origin, agrees: “I was born in Israel and play Arabic music in my country today. Arabic music has been present in my home over the years, especially Arabic -Egyptian music: It was a dream I had from a young age to be a musician, and I had the opportunity to play music with my colleagues that we learned a long time ago in Israel here in Egypt. “
She adds, “It’s a development of my abilities, because it was a dream and became a reality, and it connects two different cultures, which is a very joyful and wonderful thing. It’s a bit too. like making history, which will enable the Israelis to gain access to Egyptian Arabic music, and that is really a dream in itself. “.
The orchestra performed the official concert at the Israeli embassy at the end of May, which was attended by diplomats from different countries and public figures. It also performed a special concert for an Egyptian and Israeli audience. It toured through the pyramids, Islamic Cairo. the Nile, Umm Kulthum Museum and Muhammad Ali Street, which is famous for making Oriental musical instruments. About 13 musicians, who make up less than half of the orchestra’s main body, attended.
Great passion for Arabic music
The conductor of the Al-Nour Orchestra, Cohen, spoke about his passion for Arabic music for the “Al-Hurra” website, where he was born to parents from Morocco, and it had a huge impact on his early attachment to Arabic music, and he says, “When I was a child of eight or nine, I first heard Umm Kulthum’s song.” You are my life ‘, and I said, “Oh my God, this singer has entered my heart and soul and that’s what I want to hear.”
And he adds, “And at an early age I remember hearing the songs of Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Laila Murad, Asmahan, Farid Al-Atrash, Riad Al-Sunbati, Mohamed Al-Qasabgy and Mohamed Abdo Saleh, so I basically, and since I was young, live Egyptian classical music and hear nothing but classical Egyptian music through my life. “.
Cohen’s passion for music forced him to start introducing it to the public early on, as he played guitar on Israeli radio at night and tried to capture what was presented by Israeli musicians, such as Zuzu Moussa, Felix Mizrahi, Albert Elias and Elias Zubaydah.The golden age of Egyptian music, and he was looking for an orchestra that would follow in the footsteps of these musicians until he reached it in partnership with Yehuda Kamari in 2013.
Music crosses boundaries and breaks down barriers
The Al-Nour Orchestra was formed with the aim of presenting Arabic classical music to the public. A veiled Arab is a Haredi Jew or a young man from Tel Aviv who is interested in music and wants to learn about music. belonging to his. ancestors who immigrated from Iraq, Egypt, Morocco or Syria.
Music gathers under one roof the different religious and political spectrums, from right and left, then the affiliations disappear and everyone listens to the music of Abdel Wahab, Farid al-Atrash and Umm Kulthum, and this encourages him to keep presenting it , and they receive great reactions through social media, in which they publish their pieces and have an audience of different Arab countries and the world.
The diversity of the audience also came from the diversity of the players in the ensemble, as Fataya believes that what distinguishes the “Al-Nour” orchestra is that its members belong to different religious and ethnic backgrounds.
She added, “We need to give Arab music a place and respect, because there is a common culture among millions in the world and in the Arab world of Arabs and Jews who respect and appreciate this music. To a professional orchestra that offering music worthy of classical Arabic music and with the same degree of sophistication, I think the special thing for Al Noor is to create connections between people who are connected to different cultures. ”
The dream of arriving at the Egyptian Opera House
“We would like to represent Israel in all countries of the world, and especially in the Arab countries. We have achieved our dream of playing in Egypt, but our biggest dream now is to play in the Egyptian Opera House, then we will have the reach the top, and we believe we have the power and will that will enable us to achieve it. ” The dream, and to be the good news that creates a bridge of music between people and a cause of happiness, light and hope. ” This is the dream that Fataya is talking about with great aspiration.
Cohen agrees: “I am by nature an optimist and I am confident that one day I will fulfill my dream of leading this orchestra in a concert at the Egyptian Opera House. From my culture, this is not something I should have seen over time. have not, it is something in which I was born and in which I will die. “