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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The KAFAFA TROUPE at El Dammah Theatre

El Mastaba Center for Folk Music presents for the first time the KAFAFA TROUPE from Upper Egypt, led by singer Abdel Wahed al-Banna, on Thursday May 23, 2013 at El Dammah Theatre starting at 9:00 PM.

"Kafafa" (from "kaf" or "palm") takes its name from the clapping rhythms of the singers and dancers. The "Kaf" performed in southern Upper Egypt in the villages around Aswan, Luxor and Qena mostly relies on a strong use of heritage and the singer's ability to improvise. The kafafa, who dance in front of the singer moving in one rhythm while usually clapping their hands, are those who offer the singer the topic of his performance. Traditionally performed at weddings, the kafafa come from the audience. Their task is to sing one sentence directed at the singer, who is referred to as "the artist." The sentence is a lead which inspires the singer's lyrics to flow. Throughout the performance the kafafa can offer the singer more than one topic. The lead inspiring the artist usually comes as a riddle, explains an expert on the art of Kaf, Ahmed Abu-Khnegar: "The sentence sang by the kafafa refer to a topic or a known folk story which the group has agreed the singer should tackle in his lyrics. If they feel he got the topic wrong and that's not what they wanted him to sing about they can go on repeating the sentence until he gets it right" said Khnegar.

The Kaf borrows from and merges other folk art forms of the area, including Moulid, Namim, Waw, and El-Sira. It refers to stories from the area's heritage and tackles all aspects of life and culture including morals, love, hate, and (more recently) politics and other concepts. In the past, before Kaf became a professional form of art, a woman used to dance during the performance.
Traditionally, melodic instruments were not used, only percussion instruments. The addition of the Oud (lute) is a recent innovation as is the absence of the female dancer. The common melodic modes (maqam) used in the singing are Rast and Ajam.

Tickets at the counter 30 EGP, by reservation 20 EGP. For reservations write to or call 01150995354 or 0223926768. Reservations will be cancelled at 9:00 PM.
Door opens at 8:30 PM
For more information please visit

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