Abdel Karim Shaar

An Evening with Abdel Karim Shaar and Band

On invitation by guest curator Rabih Beaini, legendary Lebanese singer Abdel Karim Shaar appears in an especially memorable evening. Like the masterful Umm Kulthum, a legendary Egyptian songwriter, singer, and actress, Shaar is closely linked to the traditional concept of tarab, which describes music’s evocation of emotional catharsis.

Because Shaar’s approach to singing prioritizes the mindfulness and dynamic exchange of live musical communication, he has never recorded an album. For years he has had a residency at Beirut's Metro Al-Madina, a small downtown cabaret venue hung with red velvet curtains. On February 1st, the antique ballroom Heimathafen Neukölln will host a special variété concert in the style of one of Shaar’s classic Medina performances. The singer will be accompanied by his band of oud, qanon, violin and riq players. 

Born in Tripoli, Shaar began his vocal training leading calls to prayer as a muezzin in mosques, and singing in a Christian church choir. As a young man, he also learned the art of Tajweed or Quranic recitation. In the 1970s, Shaar commenced his career in entertainment on Lebanese television and received widespread recognition for his idiosyncratic singing style. Over the years he’s become identified with deeply moving performances that combine ornate, delicately-articulated Arabic phrasing and both mental and physical endurance; most often, his two-or three-hour-long appearances are centred on a single, two- or three-minute standard of the Arabic pop music canon. Each performance is devoted to a particular classic rendition of one of these songs (most often by Umm Kulthum), and renders this version through a fusion of structure and leeway for improvisation, or, as Shaar calls it, the “transference of energy”.


Abdel Karim Shaar's concert at Heimathafen Neukölln will seat a small capacity and is only included in the CTM Gold Pass.

There is two ticket categories available:
25 € (plus service charges) regular seat
45 € (plus service charges) 4-person table seat, includes 0,5L wine, 0,5L water and authentic fingerfood

Press accreditation to CTM Festival and transmediale does not include access to these performances. Journalists with a specific mandate to cover the concert by Abdel Karim Shaar may contact the CTM or transmediale press office beforehand in order to arrange entry.


Date: 01.02.2016

Venue: Heimathafen Neukölln

Time: 20:00