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In the Company of Legends: The 2016 Arab Music Festival and the Presence of Artistic Guardians

How A Night At the 2016 Arab Music Festival Reminded A Nation of Universal, Theatric, and Musical Restoration

(Photograph By Gabriel Neko; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark)

Every nation has its musical gatekeepers. Every culture has it’s legends. Those living, or transitioned Beings, whose job it is to set the standard; while protecting the realm of musical, theatric, and creative genius. It is these guardian angels, whose duty it is to ensure that Spiritual exchanges of rejuvenation, restoration, and nourishment are taking place between the heavens and the Earth. Even after they have transitioned back into the Universe, they are still on watch. They are still on guard. And, their Spirits (and patterns) serve as reminders for the current generation of their nations, on the sound of music-as ordained by the heavens.

(Photograph By Gabriel Neko; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark)

On one night of the Arab Music Festival (November 13, 2016)-displayed tenderly, poignantly, and of Universal design-modern Egypt’s own musical gatekeepers of the Arab world, mapped their footprints in one temple of the Cairo Opera House. An earlier visit to the spacing that night, saw that timing was not right. It was filled with a number of people; all wanting to capture themselves with legendary actors, actresses, and singers of Egypt’s golden age of music and cinema. Yet, she was also there. A young, Egyptian-Arab maiden; wearing a sleeveless, knee-length dress and pumps. Presence of the Red Maiden, symbolized it not being the right moment to enter. So, a trip with other company to the nearby cafe, would ensure that time was not wasted, in waiting for my engagement. . .with them.

A cup of tea. Sip. A reflective date. Sip. Sip. Beautiful artwork, with a special mate. Sip. Sip. Sip. Getting up to return to the legend’s temple. . .let’s not be late. Final sip.

A few walks from the cafe, resulted in an entrance to heaven’s door. It was empty. Silence was singing in the space. The only echo was the tapping of footsteps across the glassy, marble floor. And, there they were. The markings of those men and women, who uphold the musical and artistic attributes of modern, Egyptian-Arab’s cultural showcase to the Universe. One of the most fantastical attributes of that moment was the reflection in experiencing energies and Spirits of. . .the legends. The living and the transitioned.

(Photograph By Gabriel Neko; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark)
(Photograph By Gabriel Neko; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark)

The artistical cut-outs of Egyptian-Arabs (and highlights of a Lebanese flower) entertainment greats were reminders into how human-size images can be used in marking the Spiritual presence of human existence. Stamping their presence in a sacred, artistic temple (as the Cairo Opera House), serves as confirmation of still being there. Being there as confirmation, that they have blessed the space. That their footsteps are still here. . .even when we can’t see them.

Behind the cut-outs were gigantic-sized portraits of the legends, themselves. This aesthetical stamping, actually reflecting their presence and image in the Universal galaxy. These larger than life figures, which professes their musical guardianship, of their culture to the heavens; reminding future generations of their responsibilities, in upholding cultural and musical traditions of their nation. The temple layout, on that night, was a reminder of their constant watch over the spacing. . .this culture. . .this music.

(Photograph By Gabriel Neko; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark)

I felt honored to be in their presence, on that evening. A reflection of never being alone in our musical and artistic journeys. And that no matter where we go, or where we venture to-whatever lands our feet touch-the artistic angels of a any cultural spacing, are keeping watch. Each nation and every culture has them. And even when water has guided you to distant lands, how do you seek out “the giants?” How is your creative journey connected to them? Furthermore, how are they connected, and interrelated, to the musical legends of your own, cultural garden? Afterall, heaven’s musical gates houses all of those legendary greats, of artistic endeavors. As part of the human collective, their gifts are a responsibility to keep Earth and the Universe on par with each other. Because music is the Soul of the Universe.

Unfortunately, not everyone remains true to the responsibility. That’s why there are the divine ones. Their voices and talents are beyond average, human capabilities. They are truly “God-sent,” in every sense of this hyphenated word. In fact, through their musical and artistic talents, they personify Universal greatness and phenomenon. Their gifts are earthquakes; shaking mental borders of the human psyche. Their presence and journey forces us to experience greater heights of our own path on Earth; or, at least, reflect upon them. And then, such music and artistic design forces us to propel towards a greater, Universal understanding. At least, those of us striving to do so, anyhow.

It has been mentioned that images and portraits were crafted out to present traces of Egypt and one of Lebanon’s legends. That such illuminated the presence of their Spirits. So, it’s no surprise, that to experience their energy, was a once in a lifetime opportunity. And opportune, I did! One after the other, I had to visit them-copying their style, imitating their poses, and embracing their personalities. It was fun. It was exciting. It was inciteful. One of the most precious moments of my time at the Cairo Opera House-especiallyfor the 2016 year. My own energy became titillated when standing next to them. It was as if we became mirrors of each other. Different cultures, colors, hair textures, and styles. Yet, nevertheless, the same mirror. . .of musical, theatrical, and dramatical persuasion.

(Photograph By Gabriel Neko; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark)
(Photograph By Gabriel Neko; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark)
(Photograph By Gabriel Neko; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark)
(Photograph By Gabriel Neko; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark)
(Photograph By Gabriel Neko; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark)
(Photograph By Gabriel Neko; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark)
(Photograph By Gabriel Neko; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark)
(Photograph By Gabriel Neko; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark)
(Photograph By Gabriel Neko; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark)

As the night was coming to a close, the temple continued in her sound of silence. The legends had been entertained, while also entertaining. They reveled in the ongoing remembrance of their existence. That the temple honors and celebrates their legacy is an eye-opener into Egypt’s population. Moving closer into a heavenly angle of seeing a greater visual and future, for the nation of Egypt.

In other photos, the Egyptian Mother of them All, had taken an early exit. Her picture is made blank through temple lighting and camera angling. Some would call it a “technical glitch.” Yet, another interpretation would be the mystery of the Umm, herself. It’s not always the way for the Grand Dame to be seen with everyone, at the same time. It is one of the wonders of the grandest of them all-the Mother, within every culture, who keeps other cultural legends centered and balanced. Her voice is boisterous, Earthly, enriched, with echos of a lavish chandelier; calling forth (and bringing together) other artistic guardians of the modern land, forward.

A constant ritual of musical tradition; ever ensuring that the Earth receives the heavens, while the voices, and artistry, of majesty, reigns.

(Photograph By Gabriel Neko; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark)
(Photograph By Gabriel Neko; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark)
(Photograph By Gabriel Neko; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark)

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