Chitra Kalyani

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Latest by Chitra Kalyani


Restoring history: On repatriation and conservation of antiquities

The first morning has been about sharing stories, Dr Gautam Sengupta, director general of the Archaeological Survey of India, tells Daily News Egypt in a short reprieve from the international conference on the repatriation of antiquities. Twenty participating countries have gathered at the two-day conference of “International Cooperation for the Protection and Repatriation of Cultural …

Chitra Kalyani

One on one with Jaime Mota

Born in Malaga in Spain, a life of travel and photography was more than Jesús Jaime Mota imagined. Or maybe it was exactly what he dreamed of while working part-time at his family’s café. Mota’s interest in photography began as early as 1984. The following year he took a few courses, but soon took up …

Chitra Kalyani

Oxmo Puccino: Cactus de Sibérie

He sheds a large tear, his eyes blaming you for his unfounded misery. Yet this image that looks to you from a poster more suited to advertise cheesy R&B is thankfully far from the truth. With an established decade-long presence in French hip-hop, Oxmo Puccino is made of the stuff that survives. No wonder this …

Chitra Kalyani

Hearing-impaired lead the way to science challenge

CAIRO: Marwa Abdel-Fattah signs by turning her nose up and shaking her index finger: she will not be snobby about giving Daily News Egypt an interview if Falcon Eye wins at the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) World Festival. A team of six hearing-impaired children, Falcon Eye took the first place at the Egypt FLL Championship …

Chitra Kalyani

The beautiful loneliness of writing

A giant squid might never in its lifetime encounter another of its species. Pondering upon this most solitary of creatures, Sai is taken by melancholy. Yet even in the early pages, this character in Kiran Desai’s Booker-prize-winning novel “The Inheritance of Loss finds redemption in lack. “Love must surely reside.in the lack, not the contentment. …

Chitra Kalyani

Students gain more than winning in science challenge

CAIRO: The atmosphere resembles a school’s annual sports day: parents and teachers eagerly looking on, teams of students cheering each other, and a general expectant buzz. Yet it is not a battle where muscles are being stretched, but a tussle of minds that requires exercising the imagination. At the FIRST LEGO League Challenge held in …

Chitra Kalyani

Ziad Rahbani: The concert that was not

Jazz started as the song of the slave: spelling freedom, rebellion, even mockery. Adapting itself to local flavors, it has since found many incarnations. The idea of breaking out of a rigid musical pattern, however, remains central to jazz. No surprise then that Ziad Rahbani, for his Oriental take on jazz, and for his outspoken …

Chitra Kalyani

Royal Crown Revue: It's got that swing

If it ain’t got the swing, jazz icon Duke Ellington would have told you, it really don’t mean a thing. That twang of strings, those booming drums, and those burbling trumpets are almost hallmarks of an era of classical jazz. All of this and more comes in the strappy package that goes by the name …

Chitra Kalyani

Cairo Jazz Fest: Bringing music to the people

Music has to reach everyone, said Ziad Rahbani at the press conference held to announce the second year of the Cairo Jazz Festival. The Lebanese musician Rahbani, born to equally legendary parents Fairuz and Assi Rahbani, is the opening act of the festival which kicks off at Sawy Culture Wheel on March 11. What Rahbani …

Chitra Kalyani

A woman's spirit in 'Dead Man's Cell Phone'

A while ago I watched playwright Eve Ensler talk on Youtube series “TED Talks about “embracing the inner girl. It strikes one as a cheesy idea, to own up to one’s own romantic, soft, vulnerable side. So it is perhaps with some measure of embarrassment that when young female audience members tell him during intermission …

Chitra Kalyani

A heart-to-heart walk

We officially start our walk outside Bab El-Nasr, one of the doors to Islamic Cairo. Amira Hanafi begins by taking a picture of my feet. This is how she always begins her series of walks which are an exploration of Cairo entitled “‘Alatool: Straight Ahead, Always. Hanafi’s walking exploration of Cairo started at the foot …

Chitra Kalyani

Khan comes to Egyptian silver screen

The news arrived to Egypt’s Indian community grapevine long before the movie hit the cinema. In Egypt, where veteran Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan was once a local favorite and continues to be remembered, cinemas now host the new king of Bollywood. This time actor Shah Rukh Khan declares his reign in director Karan Johar’s “My …

Chitra Kalyani

'Complexions' rise to color and love

Dancers of the Complexions Contemporary Ballet appeared stripped to skin tones at the Cairo Opera House on Monday. Unadorned yet chiseled bodies, and lithe, needlepoint limbs are in focus in the opening number. The joint project of artistic directors Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, the Complexions Contemporary Ballet was founded in 1994 with the aim …

Chitra Kalyani

A riverside street theater fest

Along the walkway to the Sawy Culture Wheel’s River Hall where the Street Theater Festival was to unfold over the course of the entire Saturday, were cut-out images of Cairene life: a man driving a horse-carriage, a Tannoura dancer, a juice seller. Later during the day, the chalk provided for graffiti art had produced an …

Chitra Kalyani

Music in forms

Tucked away on the second floor of the Egyptian Museum of Modern Art is a structure that does not look like much. It has two surfaces, one flat on the ground and the other against a wall with metal slots in and out of which metal sheets pass through. A low vibrant sound fills the …

Chitra Kalyani

A musical diamond at Fairmont Nile City

Another sparkle will be added to the dazzle at the new Fairmont Nile City hotel to open this month. The duo called “Diamond Life, consisting of vocalist Carrie Gibson and accompanist Joe Bashorun, and who will soon perform at the hotel’s O Bar, refuse to be pigeonholed into one category of music. “We don’t like …

Chitra Kalyani

Mariza the fadista sings in Egypt

We Portuguese are very melancholic people, said Mariza onstage at the Cairo Opera House on Tuesday, “But our melancholy is a sweet melancholy. That’s why we have the fado. Born Marisa dos Reis Nunes in Mozambique, the artist Mariza is an icon of the Portuguese musical genre fado, meaning “destiny or “fate. Originating in the …

Chitra Kalyani

'Poor man's art' at Culture Wheel

Last week, Sawy Culture Wheel’s Word Hall was host to art of a different dimension: découpage, a technique where layer upon layer of cut-outs are glued together. Raised under a glass, the cut-outs look like paintings accentuated with a three-dimensional effect. Amany Zakaria Hamed showcased this technique through 42 paintings in her collection entitled “Découpage. …

Chitra Kalyani

"Blood Wedding" and the Suite Flamenca

Only art can make of tragedy an enjoyable occasion. “Bodas de Sangre (Blood Wedding), a tragedy written by renowned Spanish poet and writer Federico Garcia Lorca, opened at the Cairo Opera House’s Main Hall on Wednesday through the taps and claps of flamenco dancers of Spain’s Antonio Gades Company. The Company, part of the Antonio …

Chitra Kalyani

Return of the Egyptians

It was an evening of nostalgia. The band formed in 1976 made a comeback at the Sawy Culture Center on Sunday at a concert entitled “El-Masriyeen Rag’een (Masriyeen Return). While I went expecting some ironic numbers a la Ahmed Fouad Negm and Sheikh Imam, the band leader and composer Hani Shenouda was all praises for …

Chitra Kalyani

From cuisine to caricature: The shared Indo-Egypt

Adham Lutfi’s black-and-white caricatures of leading personalities and Mohsen Abul Azm’s vignettes of social and cultural life are currently shown in comparison at the Maulana Azad Center for Indian Culture (MACIC), depicting an India the artists know intimately, but have never visited. Titled “India-Egypt: A Humorous Perspective of the Ordinary and Extraordinary, the exhibition was …

Chitra Kalyani

Indie filmmakers do it their way at Arabshorts.net

Independence was the key word at the Arabshorts.net Independent Film Festival last week, showcasing over 67 productions from the Arab world. Marking the launch of the website, Arabshorts.net, where these films will be hosted, the films were screened in a three-day stint at the Tahrir branch of the Goethe Institute starting Dec 10. A variety …

Chitra Kalyani

New online venue for Arab short films opens

Starting Dec. 9, a whole new venue for Arab independent short films will open up. Unlike the generic platform of YouTube, Arabshorts.net – hosted by Goethe Institute in Cairo – is a website dedicated specifically to films from the region. The launch will feature films picked by nine curators from nine regions in the Arab …

Chitra Kalyani

Antúnez Roca presents the ugly art

Art does not have to be pretty, at least not according to Marcel-Lí Antúnez Roca. The visiting artist from Spain formulates art in a curious mix of animal, man and machine. On Sunday evening, Townhouse Gallery’s Factory Space hosted an autobiographical lecture by Roca entitled “Sistematurgy. Coined by the artist, the term is a fusion …

Chitra Kalyani

Om Kulthoum revived in puppet show

Om Kulthoum will never be replaced, said Asser Abdellah Nafady, an avid fan of Om Kulthoum Back on Stage, the highly popular puppet show held monthly at the Sawy Culture Wheel in honor of the singing diva. Following the tradition of her concerts, the puppet show features Kulthoum’s songs on the first Thursday of every …

Chitra Kalyani

Sahra: The sounds of desert music

There’s only one thing that keeps you in Cairo Jazz Club for longer than you’d allow yourself to be gassed by smoke. And that, no doubt, is the music that lingers long into the night. A musical evening last week started off almost an hour later than the appointed time of 10:30 pm. Percussionist Ahmed …

Chitra Kalyani

A cat named "Studio"

The residents of 7, Nubar Street in Downtown pin their garbage bags to the wall so that the stray cats do not litter the stairwell. But the feline species have found a less acrobatic means of procuring food on the 11th floor, a space they share with nine artists. A particular cat the artists named …

Chitra Kalyani

On Hazem Shaheen's 'missing things'

Head bowed and eyes closed in concentration, Hazem Shaheen – front-man of the highly popular folk group Eskenderllah – carried a look of humble preoccupation as he strummed his oud (oriental lute) at the Geneina Theater on Friday. Many of the numbers played that evening were culled from his debut solo album “Hagat Wahshany (Things …

Chitra Kalyani

A mirror world reflected in 5th Documentary Film Festival

Al Sawy Culture Wheel’s 5th Documentary Film Festival, screening 42 films over July 18-20, provided an occasion to look through many windows to a world afflicted by conflict, poverty, and other challenges of modernity in a developing world. Amongst a swarm of movies about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was the original and personal documentary “Hadath fi …

Chitra Kalyani

Not the Broadway you wanted

In Egypt, we are generous with our applause; even a simple onstage rendition of “Baa Baa Black Sheep would not go unrewarded. And neither did “Broadway Comes to Egypt – rightly identified by some as misleading. With songs from Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story and Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s “Grease, audiences …

Chitra Kalyani