Family Day

Sunday 16 July, 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Sefton Park Palm House
Free - no ticket required Book Tickets


The celebratory Family Day, the showcase of Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, returns to Sefton Park’s Palm House.

Marking 25 years since Liverpool Arab Arts Festival was founded, this year’s event is a free celebration of Arab art, culture and community in Liverpool.

Featuring music and performance by leading Arab musicians, this large-scale event also includes creative workshops, authentic food and children’s activities.

Here’s the Stage Times:

Confirmed line-up:

The Ayoub Sisters

Scottish/Egyptian instrumentalists and composers, The Ayoub Sisters rose to stardom after their debut album premiered at No.1 in the Official Classical Charts. The sisters are recognised internationally for their chemistry on stage, as well as their ability to unite different musical genres and cultures together through their unique compositional style.

Recipients of the Arab Women of the Year award (2019), The Ayoub Sisters are proud to present their brand new album Arabesque – a celebration of and tribute to music from the Arab World, which shot to No.1 in the iTunes Classical Albums Chart.

They have performed across the UK, Europe, Middle East and Asia with highlights including appearances at the Royal Albert Hall, London Palladium, The Cairo Opera House and Dubai Opera.

With an international YouTube following of over 100k subscribers, The Ayoub Sisters are fast becoming the sound and faces of a truly exciting new generation of classical and crossover artists.

Abdelkader Saadoun

Algerian-born Abdelkader Saadoun is a renowned master of Rai music – which originates from traditional Algerian music (Chaabi, Kabil, Gnawa and Chawia) and also encompasses pop, Flamenco, jazz, funk, rock, Reggae, fusion, and flues.  

Based in London, Abdelkader is a composer, singer-songwriter, educator, and plays mandola, percussion and drums. As a formidable band leader, he has a great track record in bringing together musicians from diverse cultures to create dynamic live gigs which combine these different musical stylings to extraordinary effect.

Simo Lagnawi

Gnawa master Simo Lagnawi is an ambassador of Moroccan culture in London.

With 8 albums under his belt including 4 solo records, 3 albums with fusion project Electric Jalaba and a further disc with his Gnawa Blues all stars, Simo has released through Strut and Waulk Records, his first solo album ‘GnawaLondon ‘ featuring in Songlines magazine as one of their ‘Top of the World’ albums. He has also been nominated as Best Newcomer and Best Artist in their annual awards.

Simo has performed on media outlets such as BBC World service, CNN World, BBC 3, BBC 6 and Vox Africa, and performed at a host of festivals including Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, Latitude and Boom Town.

The Moroccan musician was raised in the Gnawa tradition and always remains true to his musical heritage. Each performance is a wholehearted expression of devotion from the UK’s leading Guembri player – a North-African bass instrument constructed from wood and cowhide, with gut strings.

Whether through crossover groups such as Electric Jalaba and the Gnawa Blues All-Stars, or through hosting traditional ceremonial evenings – known as Lilas – the intention is always to bring the same healing energy through to the fore in each new creation, and spread the Gnawa tradition through the UK in the process.

Expect Simo in full flow with his tribe of Gnawis for a full-power performance.

Image by Rhythm Passport.

Ahmed Mukhtar and Ruba Hillawi 

How to play the darbuka for beginners, workshop

The workshop will cover basic techniques such as the correct way to hold the Darbuka, how to produce the correct tones (such as “Dum” and “tek”) and the correct right and left-hand strokes. Participants will learn a variety of popular rhythms such as Wahda, Maqsum, Ayyub, Malfuf and Thurayya. Also, a piece of music will be studied and students should be able to play this to the best of their ability by the end of the session.

Iraqi Music and its special heritage. Talk/workshop.

Ahmed Mukhtar has been playing the Iraqi oud and Arabic percussions since childhood. Mukhtar is an acclaimed composer and musician. Over the years, he has studied with many great musicians in both Iraq and Syria receiving an MA Performance from SOAS in 2003. He founded the Taqasim Music School, London in 2011 as a way to share his extensive musical knowledge with anyone interested in music.

Ruba Hillawi is an oud musician and a teacher at the Taqasim Music School, London. Born to Iraqi parents, she uses music to bring her closer to her ethnic roots. She has performed in concerts in London, Nottingham and Canada. She is currently completing an MA thesis on the performative features of the Iraqi Maqam and the oud.


Yemeni Band 

Authentic Yemeni music and a favourite with our festival audiences.

Nawarra Dancer

Hailing from Casablanca, Nawarra Dancer is known for her ability to entertain, bringing passion, high energy and sense of fun to every performance.

With a Master’s Degree in Drama and Arts, Nawarra has lectured at both Bradford and Huddersfield Universities on North African cultural heritage. She has worked across the global.
Nawarra co-founded Funoon company – a venture to increase access to folkloric Arab dance, music and language. Her work has drawn interest from media including BBC Arabic and Al Jazeera.

Nawarra has set up an agency taking dancers from all over the world to experience the sights, sounds, people and culture of her beloved Morocco. Her goal is to keep the Folkloric style of Moroccan dancing alive.

Children’s activity run by Liverpool Arabic Centre  

A fun and hands-on chance to have a go at calligraphy, creating your own Arabic name badges and Arabic crafts.

Liverpool Arabic Centre (LAC) is a local charitable organisation developed by local people to advocate the social and economic well-being, improve the health and advance the education of the Arabic community whilst strengthening the awareness of the community within wider society through the celebration and promotion of all aspects of Arabic history, language, cultural heritage and identity.

LAC is one of our most valued and long-standing partners since the beginning. We are delighted to welcome them back to Family Day.

Image: Sefton Park Palm House at the start of Family Day 2022. Credit: Andrew AB Photography.

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