While many often complain in Ramadan about the lack of events that don't feature Mahmoud El Leithy, Shabaan Abdel Rehim and other shaabi stalwarts, the Hayy Festival at El Genaina Theater has often been sweet relief for music lovers across Cairo.

This year, the music fest is set to take place over four different, nonconsecutive nights each hosting two different acts - one regional and one local. 

Things kick off on Sunday 4th June with a man who many consider to be one of the fathers of Arabic pop, Libyan singer and composer, Nasser El Mezdawi, who played parts in the careers of the likes of Amr Diab. On the night will also be local band Dokkan, who in a short two years since forming, have become on of Cairo's popular bands, thanks to their unique take on Egyptian contemporary music.

Riding the waves of a new album release, night two, on Tuesday 6th, sees Algerian star, Sidi Bemol. Singing  in Arabic, Berber, French and English, Bemol has carved out a unique niche of his own over the last decade, fusing his native Rai stylings with everything from blues and jazz, to rock and even Celtic music.  Opening for Bemol on the night is a band that is set to take audiences on a trip through Afro-inspired Sufi music, Looperia.

The festival then takes a week break, returning on Sunday 11th with one of the most prominent voices in Tunisian music, folkloric musician, Haydar Hamdi, with the unique Shahira Kamel set to take to the stage with her band.


Thngs then wrap up on Wednesday 14th, with the North African-shaped jazz and blues of acclaimed  musician, Malika Zarra. She's in good company that night, too, as local jazz experimentalists, Aqsa Al Wasat, set to open.

All gigs start at 9.30PM and tickets are 30LE. For more information on this year's Hayy Festival, check out El Genaina Theatre on Facebook.

By Kalam El Qahaira