A mäshräp is a family gathering with a lot of food, song and poetry. The Abas family, originally from Uyghur in western China (East Turkestan), forms the core of the Ensemble Mäshräp. The family moved to the Netherlands some ten years ago. Their repertoire consists of ballads, folk songs and cassical music from the region. The Uyghurs have a very old and particularly rich culture. The music is a subtle mix of western, Arab and Asian ingredients. The age old songs (sometimes dating back to the Middle Ages) ) are dedicated to love, worldy wisdoms and traditional feast days. Particularly the On-iki muqam classical song and dance suites have become well-known in the region in the course of the centuries. The soloist and the percussionist can allow themselves to freely improvise on the melodic lines. At the opening night of the festival you will hear the Trio Mäshräp, with Gulendem Abas (soloist, tambourine), Kamil Abas (rawap, drum and ghidjek) and Jawdet Yadikar (ney, dutar).(WU 2014 GR)
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On the opening night of the festival the freedom of speech and the power of the word are highlighted. The opening speech will be held by Dutch writer and journalist Ian Buruma. With the award ceremony of the prestigious Oxfam Novib/PEN Awards for Freedom of Expression PEN and Oxfam Novib honour international writers, journalists and film makers who, sometimes risking their own lives, seek the truth and make it known. The three winners are announced in January and one of them will take delivery of the prize.
The award winning ceremony is followed by a debate on social media in the struggle against repression, with among others Dutch writers Marente de Moor and Frank Westerman. Social media form an increasingly influential stage for the cultivation of the free word. Through their own sites, facebook pages and blogs writers, journalists and other citizens can give their opinions outside official channels, expose evils and fight forms of repression and corruption. How can we, as citizens of a growing 'Global Community' guarantee this freedom of expression? How can we prevent governments from curbing that freedom? Meanwhile in many places worldwide internet papers are controlles and bloggers prosecuted and detained.
The Alderman for Culture of the Municipality of The Hague Marjolein de Jong welcomes the audience. Arabist Petra Stienen presents the evening and leads the discussion. With music by the Uighur Trio Mäshräp.
The programme is in English, and organised in cooperation with PEN International, PEN Nederland and Oxfam Novib.